Berry Tramel on situational subbing: “Suddenly, defense was paramount for OKC. It had to get a stop. And Brooks stayed with the same lineup, even though his best perimeter defender, Thabo Sefolosha, was sitting on the bench. Some say Thabo has not played as well defensively this year. Maybe it’s true. I’ve seen no evidence. It’s just people talking. When you guard the opponents’ best player, you’re going to give up some points. Whatever, Thabo remains the Thunder’s best perimeter defender. And there he sat, watching those final 37 seconds.”
David Thorpe of ESPN Insider on Ty Lawson: “Lawson always has struggled to walk (or in his case, sprint) the line between game manager, marquee scorer and impact player. At North Carolina, his pedigree and instincts as the quarterback of the Tar Heels’ offense almost ran counter to what his NBA team asks of him, namely to score like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook. But what the Nuggets really need is for him to both score and run the offense. While Westbrook and Rose offer much more explosive jumping ability and overall size, Lawson’s incredible combination of speed, quickness and power is better than Rose’s and Westbrook’s and enables him to maneuver past individual defenders in isolation as well as past multiple defenders in ball-screen action.”
Anthony Slater: “During the past two games, Scott Brooks has made a subtle change to his crunchtime lineup. Against both the Kings and Blazers, for stretches of the fourth quarter, Brooks has surrounded his three franchise centerpieces — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka — with his two emerging young guns — Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb. It’s a dynamic and intriguing lineup, where youth and versatility reign. All are under 25. All are plus athletes. And all can hit you with something different and useful on the offensive end.”
World Cup draw. Oof.