Bethlehem Shoals for GQ on Russell Westbrook: “Durant didn’t explode onto the scene until his senior year of high school. In his case, though, his one year at Texas set him up for superstardom. Durant may have humility and perspective, but he also received the proper training. Westbrook almost has more power than he knows what to do with. You can argue that a Westbrook-less team means KD has to be more selfish, which he certainly can get away with being. The larger issue, though, might be what happens when Westbrook is asked to fill any kind of void, or when Durant quite sensibly shares the ball with his star teammate. That puts Westbrook on the spot, and that’s when things go horribly wrong. It’s almost as if, simply by being good, Westbrook demands the kind of attention that suits him least as a player. Maybe a lesser Westbrook would be a more effective one. Maybe then it wouldn’t matter that he often doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself.”
Berry Tramel: “The left-for-dead Thunder rises with plots you can’t believe but from which you can’t avert your eyes. Oh, you can eventually slay the Thunder. It’s happened twice in this rousing Western Conference playoff series, which is tied 2-2. But the Thunder doesn’t go easily. Like the bad guys in B Westerns, if they’re going down, it’s going to take all your bullets.”
Good back and forth from a few days ago where Russell Westbrook blamed the media for trying to pull the Thunder apart.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com: “At least there was no four-point play this time. It was just Jackson following up that 3-pointer with a floater to force overtime and Memphis’ inability to get a big basket to match it. When Michael Conley’s attempt to tie at the overtime buzzer missed — and man, it was right on line — the Grizzlies had their 15-game home win streak snapped and had to feel like they’d totally just let their quarry off the hook. And letting it be Jackson who beat them made the taste worse as they face returning to Oklahoma City for the pivotal Game 5.”
Anthony Slater on Perk: “OKC’s much-maligned big man is playing his most impactful basketball in a couple seasons. Perkins’ best days are far behind him. He’ll never again average a double-double, like he did back in 2009 during a 7-game Celtics-Bulls series. And he won’t be putting up any 16-point, 19-rebound, 7-block performances, like the one he compiled in Game 5 of that marathon. But even without half the spring that many forget he once had, Perkins has held a heavy influence on this series. And beyond Reggie Jackson’s heroics, he may be the next biggest reason OKC was able to pull out a crucial Game 4.”