Berry Tramel: “Of course, the Thunder could provide some comfort to people who are lonely on Christmas. Lord knows the Thunder gets a lot of people gently through cold winter nights. The best scenario is if we didn’t leave it to the Thunder to look out for the disenfranchised. But wishing one way or the other won’t help. America loves the Thunder. America loves NBA games on Christmas Day. The only question annually about the Thunder and Christmas is not if, but when and where.”
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider on Kevin Love: “If you ask a random NBA fan to define Love’s career to date, you’ll probably hear a response that includes the fact that he’s never been to the playoffs. Six seasons, no playoff appearances. The lack of team success doesn’t jibe with the mind-boggling individual numbers he’s put up over his career, which tends to lead to some lazy analysis. He’s a stat-padder! What a fraud! Not a team player! Give me a break. Blaming Love for the lack of playoff appearances is dangerously reductive. Any star needs a strong supporting cast to make the playoffs, especially if they play in the loaded Western Conference. After all, it’s a team game. However, it’s much easier to pin the blame on Love rather than taking the time to break down the quality of each of his supporting casts. That takes real work.”
The schedule comes out this evening. The Thunder are set to play at the Spurs in Christmas, and open the season with a back-to-back against the Blazers and Clippers.
Andrew Han of ESPN.com on the Clippers: “It’s a scary thing to have beaten a curse. Gone is the comforting “it’s the Clippers” catch-all. Banned is the caricature of a villain typically situated courtside — although Shelly Sterling still retains her own set of courtside seats as a stipulation of the sale, and it seems she has every intent on using them. A goodbye wave to the perpetual anxiety cloud that floated over Staples Center, source of constant trepidation for fans, reminding them not to get their hopes up. It’s always easy to find excuses for losing. And none of the changes guarantees the Clippers will win a championship. The only thing it means is they’re accountable for their own fate. Isn’t that all anyone really wants?”