Despite both the Pacers win yesterday and Derek Fisher’s competitiveness, I kind of imagine that at least once after one of CJ Watson’s many flops, Fisher looked at him and smiled a little bit thinking: Keep going kid. One day you might be something.
Yesterday’s game was difficult to watch because we shot the ball so poorly but still had a chance to win. Those games always sit worse than ones where we just don’t show up at all. The Thunder played well in other areas, save rebounding, and they certainly showed up, ball just wouldn’t fall. In any case, there’s nothing wrong with helping out the Pacers. I’m not trying to dig a karma grave here, but across the board it seems like they’re a preferred option over the Heat.
Also, it must be said, shouts out to Perk for not being the worst player on the floor yesterday. He showed how Hibbert isn’t exactly the monster some claim him to be becoming. He’s a fine center in a league with very few of them. Maybe the playoffs show him to be more than that, but yesterday, and of late, despite his defensive ability, he’s been bad. He’s a footer who averages 10 pts and 6 boards in a league with hardly any true centers left, and he plays a majority of his games in the East.
Let’s take a look at The Forecast.
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Team: New Orleans Pelicans (32-48, fifth in Southwest Division)
Date: Monday, April 14, 2014 (Away)
Details: Regardless of our point guard situation, regardless of a back to back, this game should be a shellacking. We can go nab the ghost of Earl Watson and we should still be fine. Matter of fact, let’s trot Rumble out, give him a few possessions to initiate the offense and see what he can do. As it stands, Derek Fisher will probably play the most minutes he’s played in something like three years so look for the state of Oklahoma’s pulse to be running a little high tonight.
Anthony Davis is done for the year and the Pelis have little to play for. Monty’s teams rarely lay down, and I’d imagine that won’t start now, but they’re a depleted bunch. This game, with the Thunder on the verge of getting to 60 wins, matters more to the Thunder than it does to them. Play hard early so you can rest Durant late. There’s obviously always a chance of a slip-up in clear potential letdown games like this but, again, the Thunder have too much to play for. When that’s the case, historically, they show up.
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Team: Detroit Pistons (29-52, fourth in Central Division)
Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 (Home)
Details: One of the sadder and more disappointing seasons in recent memory gets mercy killed on Wednesday in the last regular season game of the year. Brandon Jennings is what we thought he was. That big lineup of theirs quickly became a disaster. And our old boy Mo Cheeks had to take the fall for Joe D and his awful construction of a lineup.
Josh Smith will spend another offseason buried under a whole new set of this-guy-just-doesn’t-get-it-narratives. Andre Drummond can begin thinking on how he can get iCarly back. Greg Monroe can go back to doing what Georgetown grads with little personality do. Kyle Singler can work on his hair. This game should be a cake walk in the park.
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Acceptable outcome: 2-0
There’s no reason the Thunder shouldn’t go undefeated this week. They’re a much better team than both of these squads and they’ve still got something to play for: 60 wins and a 2 seed.
They’ve always been the type to want to go into the postseason clicking and Brooks’ recent comments regarding KD’s minutes would lead me to believe that won’t change much this year. The record improvement on last season is out the door now, as you’ve undoubtedly already heard, but I don’t think that’s anything to drag a chin about. This team might win 60 games in a season Russell Westbrook barely played half of. That’s kind of remarkable, especially considering the injuries to other starters and the fact that the Thunder play in the West. This has been a good year, and the Thunder are prime for a run.
Now all the games matter. Now it gets fun.