Andrew Keh of the NY Times on OKC’s pregame prayer: “Indeed, despite its wide support in Oklahoma City, the invocation tradition does have some dissenters. They say that religious faith is out of place in the sports arena and that the prayer is not as inclusive as the Thunder make it out to be. Aamir Khan Mehdi, a fan who goes to several Thunder games a season and has attended every playoff game at Chesapeake Energy Arena since 2010, said he wished the invocation would be discontinued. Mehdi, who was raised a Muslim but is now an atheist, said he found the rhetoric of inclusiveness disingenuous. Whether or not the specific words are uttered, he said, the invocations take on the form of Christian prayer. And any prayer, he said, excludes those who are not spiritual.”
I forgot to link Bill Simmons on the Thunder from his mailbag: “I gotta say — I love Thunder fans. And they spend money on their team — according to Forbes, Oklahoma City has the league’s most expensive ticket right now — which makes it even sadder when OKC cheaps out and its loyal fans just accept it. That they continue to defend the indefensible Harden trade and email me every time Jeremy Lamb or Steven Adams looks good while overlooking things like “We could have just waited a year and traded Harden last summer” or “We cheaped out at the 2014 trade deadline as always and three days later we had 39-year-old Derek Fisher trying to defend a red-hot Jamal Crawford in crunch time on national TV” makes them genuinely endearing. At least for me. I hope my kids will always love me as unconditionally as much as Thunder fans love the Thunder.”
Jimmer is “strongly leaning” towards the Bulls. Sad faces all around.
Jenni Carlson on the “Come on Russell! lady: “Then during the 2009-10 season, Westbrook became a lightning rod for criticism. He shot too much. He didn’t let Durant shoot enough. He played with a chip on his shoulder. He couldn’t possibly play alongside Durant for long. Susan Clark didn’t understand it. “I’m like, ‘Can you not see what an outstanding athlete this man is?’” she said. One night when Westbrook was going to the free-throw line, Clark heard some grumbling in the arena. She’d finally had enough. “Come on, Russellllllllll!” she shouted. That was the first time she did her yell, and it felt so good to show her support of Westbrook that she started doing it every time he went to the free-throw line.”
I talked with the camera guy that KD helped out last night, and he told the story here.
Darnell Mayberry: “Lamb is averaging just seven points on 36.1 percent shooting in 10 February games. He’s scored in double figures only twice this month and is shooting just 29 percent on 3-point attempts Jackson, meanwhile, has been wildly erratic while bouncing between the second unit and the first string. His field-goal percentage has dipped every month this season, to its current low of 40.3 percent this month, and he’s averaged just eight points on 30 percent shooting in the three games since Westbrook returned and moved him back to the bench. Their ineffectiveness is now saddling a second unit that, despite key losses in each of the last two offseasons, was establishing itself as one of the best in the business. For that group to regain what it had, the Thunder is counting on Jackson and Lamb.”