David Thorpe of ESPN Insider on the age limit: “The NBA is desperate for pure talent, while readiness is simply an added bonus. NBA teams just don’t care if players are ready or not, for the most part. The draft has always been about finding the guy with the most talent, with a small nod to need or fit sometimes. Seattle/OKC did not care how many years Kevin Durant (lack of strength) or Russell Westbrook (lack of experience playing the point) played in college; all that mattered was they were available to be drafted when it was their turn.”
Darnell Mayberry: “If there is one character flaw in Oklahoma City’s roster, it’s the team’s growing habit for griping to officials. It’s a trait that belies a blue-collar organization that prides itself on bringing in players who keep their heads down and focus solely on doing their jobs. Quite frankly, the Thunder is failing in the art of complaining. Not only has the incessant whining threated to tarnish the Thunder’s reputation, but it’s also become an increasingly costly distraction that has dragged down the team’s defense.”
Daily Thunder bracket group. Pick wisely.
Mayberry’s nuggets: “Another game, another inexplicable case of Brooks being hard on Jackson. Brooks was barking at Jackson to pass the ball all night (and there were a lot of instances in which Brooks was right). But even after Jackson buried a 3-pointer one time, Brooks just shook his head because Jackson decided to call his own number and use a high ball screen to pull up from deep. On another possession midway through the third, Jackson missed a 3 and then he fouled Dirk on a jump shot. Predictably, Brooks immediately summoned Derek Fisher off the bench. I’d have to go back and watch how Jackson played in the six minutes prior to see if there was something else. But that scene has played out time and time again this season.”
Jarrett Jack doesn’t like sleeved jerseys: “Performance-wise, at times, under the arms, it felt a little snug on you,” he admitted. Jack made a good point that sleeves are going to fit many players differently. James is 6-feet-8, and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is 6-9, but their arms have a slightly different circumference. “What if they both put on 2XL,” Jack posited. “It’s going to be baggy on KD, but it’s going to be skintight on Bron’s arms.”
Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas: “One of the major goals of the Mavs’ summer roster reconstruction was to put together a team that didn’t need Nowitzki to have monster nights to have a chance to win. The Mavs succeeded in that mission. Nowitzki is as efficient as ever, ranking 13th in the league in scoring with 21.4 points per game and sitting a half-point shy on his field-goal percentage putting him in the historically exclusive 50/40/90 shooting club. But he has a legitimate scoring sidekick in Ellis; three other teammates who average double figures; and a deep bench to ease the scoring burden on the big German. This is a good enough offensive team to make one of the West’s big boys sweat in a playoff series.”
Anthony Slater: “Just 57 seconds into the second half, a furious Scott Brooks stormed off the bench, hands in the air, waving for a timeout. Might as well have been the national distress signal. Because no matter how many frustrated stoppages Brooks asked for — and there were two more in an ugly third quarter — they only served as temporary reprieve for an ongoing beatdown at the hands of the Mavericks on Sunday night.”
Andrew Gilman of Fox Southwest: “There’s nothing wrong with Russell Westbrook’s knee. That’s the good news. Now, the Thunder defense? That’s another story. And that’s not really very good news at all. OKC coach Scott Brooks said before Sunday’s game against Dallas, Westbrook wouldn’t play, not because Westbrook was injured, but because the team was taking precautions about playing Westbrook in back-to-back games.”