It's Thunder-Grizzlies all over again. Looking at a couple keys to the series, and making what's sure to be a correct prediction. Keep reading »
Thunder against the Grizzlies. Sounds about right.
The five-game burnout against Memphis for the Thunder last season had a clear caveat. This time, it’s back to all square.
The teams met four times in the regular season, with the Thunder winning three of those. Two featured Russell Westbrook (the Thunder won both of those). Only one featured Tony Allen. One was missing Mike Conley. Another, Marc Gasol.
Now though, both teams are full strength. So no excuses, no wondering what might’ve been. It’s going to be a good first round series, and one that has the potential to go either way.
But what do we know about the way these two teams match up? Here are five things to prep with: Keep Reading…
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider: “This much is clear: Over the last three-and-a-half years, James and Durant have essentially crammed in an extra NBA season compared to the rest of the league. The burn-out factor is real, especially when you consider how much more work James and Durant had to absorb this season due to injuries suffered by their star teammates. For the first time since joining the Heat, James actually played the majority of his minutes without Wade on the court. Durant has carried a similar burden with Russell Westbrook undergoing three knee surgeries in an eight-month span. Durant played an NBA-high 3,122 minutes this season — 99 more minutes than the next-highest workload this season.”
Brian Windhorst in a 5-on-5 previewing Thunder-Grizz: “The score and time almost don’t matter. When you have Durant, anything is possible. Because of his incredible scoring ability and the difficulty even contesting his shots, leads are just not safe. He’s one of the handful of players in the league who can carry a team to a playoff series win.” Keep Reading…
The Thunder wrapped the sixth — sixth! — regular season in Oklahoma City, and before things officially proceed into the postseason, let us reflect on the fun stuff from the 82 games that we saw.
So here are what I consider the top 10 plays from the 2013-14 season. You’re not allowed to disagree because this top 10 is FACT. Keep Reading…
And so the weirdest and strangest regular season in Thunder history comes to a close with the Thunder beating a 29 win Detroit team by one point at home. The Thunder needed a pig to fly, hell to get cold, and Derek Fisher to block a shot at the rim just to get Durant the ball with a chance to show Detroit the door slam.
They got all that and Durant rattled walls till the mirrors fell. The two seed, and Memphis, are ours now. The most wonderful time of the year is here.
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It’s appropriate that it’s Memphis. It should be this way. It seems that while the world has been trying to make the Heat or the Spurs the Thunder’s rivals, it’s really just been the Griz the whole time. We cannot escape them, nor they us. Really excited about the number of Jon Leuer jokes we’ll all be able to make. Keep Reading…
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider: “This HabersTrophy is a little twist on the Most Improved Award, which no one actually understands. For this, I looked at the player who had the greatest jump in PER before and after the All-Star break. And that honor belongs to Westbrook, who went from 20.2 PER before to 28.7 PER after (plus-8.5). It’s amazing what some time off and not playing on back-to-backs will do for a player’s efficiency. And guess what: no back-to-backs in the postseason. Buckle up, y’all.”
Anthony Slater: “The Thunder, though, cause problems, too. But Memphis has some solid counters. Westbrook is a nightmare for anyone, but Conley can be a defensive pest. Durant is playing the best offensive basketball in the world, but the last time we saw him in a series against Memphis, he looked a bit bewildered. Without Westbrook, Durant struggled to fight through the physical and frantic Grizzlies defense, led by Tony Allen. But this time Durant will have Westbrook. And this time the Thunder will be looking for payback.” Keep Reading…
Well, that’s over with.
The Thunder have the No. 2 seed, as they should. But woo boy, the way they achieved it was not exactly ideal.
Down as many as eight to the Pistons in the fourth quarter, including five with 1:30 to go, the Thunder made a few plays, finally got a few stops and Kevin Durant won another game. But that’s not really the way you want to be going in to the playoffs, scrapping to win your final game against a 29-win team. And not just that, losing to the Pacers, then dropping the ugliest game of the season to the Pelicans, and need a near miracle to pull one out against Detroit.
Durant, though, is brightsiding it. Keep Reading…
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.4 (7th), Pistons – 105.8 (20th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.7 (5th), Pistons – 109.6 (25th)
Pace: Thunder – 95.5 (9th), Pistons – 94.9 (10th)
Here’s the big story of this game: Win it. Don’t lose it. Win it. Don’t mess around, don’t have excuses, don’t play bad. Just win the stupid game so you can get on with the postseason in the No. 2 seed where you’re supposed to be. Keep Reading…
It’s pretty much the perfect Thunder play. It involves Nick Collison displaying textbook fundamentals, and Kevin Durant throwing down a viscous dunk.
What more could you want?
Collison has assisted on Durant baskets 31 times this season, and I’m guess half of them have come on some variation of this play. Collison is a bit of a backdoor passing maven (he used to have a great connection with James Harden doing it — sigh), and hooking him up with Durant makes a lot of sense.
The Thunder run this set consistently when they need a bucket — they used it in the fourth quarter against the Pacers after a slow stretch — and do it exclusively in side out-of-bounds situations. Keep Reading…