Good weekend. Thank you for your support of DT. Enjoy everything.
Good weekend. Thank you for your support of DT. Enjoy everything.
Road trip, successful.
The Thunder handled the Jazz in Utah 101-87 to secure a 3-2 road trip and Scott Brooks’ spot as the West’s head coach for the All-Star Game. It wasn’t a flashy game that included much razzle dazzle or even anything that really stuck out all that much. It was kind of a back-to-business for the Thunder who dominated the glass (46-32), made 19 more free throws than the Jazz and shot a solid 47.5 percent from the floor.
There were moments where it seemed that the game might be close down the stretch, but credit the Thunder bench who extended a Thunder lead to 12 early in the fourth before Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook checked back in. Which essentially meant things were over for the Jazz.
Finally though. Finally the Thunder bench stepped up the way it used to. Reggie Jackson wasn’t great or really even that good, but his jumper with the shot clock expiring keyed the spurt. The Thunder offense appeared to be stalling out completely, as it tends to do with Jackson running the show, scoring only three points the last three of the third and letting the Jazz cut OKC’s lead to five in the fourth. But that jumper, a couple steals and some sturdy defense did the job and made things easy on the Thunder down the stretch. Our blood pressure appreciates it. Keep Reading…
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.7 (4th), Jazz– 104.9 (10th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.1 (14th), Jazz – 105.0 (21st)
Pace: Thunder – 93.5 (3rd), Jazz – 91.3 (18th)
View from the enemy: Salt City Hoops
This is a pretty big swing game. Either the Thunder had a successful road trip going 3-2, or it’s a disappointment going 2-3. In fact, stretch it out to this run of eight of nine on the road. A loss makes OKC 5-4 in that stretch, a win 6-3, which would be very good. Keep Reading…
Allow me to state the obvious: The Thunder are turning the ball over way too much. Not many middle school teams manage to turn the ball over 23 times in a game.
Giving a team 20 more shots than you in any game is a recipe for trouble. It doesn’t take John Hollinger to figure out that more shots equals more chances to score. The turnovers are ugly and do the worst thing — they take away an opportunity for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or James Harden to attempt a shot, three of the most dynamic and efficient offensive players in the league. Every player on the team has acknowledged them as an issue and Scott Brooks has said that they have to cut them down. He said this on Sacramento radio yesterday (via Sports Radio Interviews):
“I think that is one of the strengths of our team that we are not satisfied,” Brooks said. “I know I love our guys and I tell them that every day but I love the fact that they know they are not as good as they’re going to be if they keep working. We turn the ball over way too many times and defensively we give up too many offensive rebounds. Those are things we have talked about and will continue to talk about. We have to get better at those things.”
The Thunder are 30th in the league in turnovers per game at 17.0 a game. They’ve given it away a total of 369 times. They’ve had five games of 20 or more turnovers. They’re 30th in turnover ratio (27.5 percent of OKC’s possessions end in a turnover). It’s a problem.
But here’s a potentially misleading stat, but a stat all the same: In OKC’s 20 wins, they average 17.2 turnovers per game. In their six losses, 16.3. I’m not entirely sure it’s fair to say turnovers are directly tied to the Thunder’s six losses. In a couple games (Wizards, Kings), absolutely. But in others (Blazers, Mavericks), the Thunder didn’t turn it over much and lost because of poor offensive execution and a few defensive lapses. Keep Reading…
Jenni Carlson says James Harden isn’t an All-Star: “Among players at his position, few are more proficient than Harden. Look at the Player Efficiency Rating, and you’ll see that the only shooting guards who rank higher are Kobe and D-Wade. But Harden’s not a starter on his own team. Granted, he plays every bit as much as a starter. He averages 31.2 minutes a game, which is exactly the same amount as Nash. But the reality is, if you can’t crack the starting five on your own team, you’re going to struggle to make the All-Star Game. Ditto if you’re the third option for your squad.”
Perk talked on Jim Rome about the LeBron thing and had this line: “Because me personally, if you don’t bleed OKC or aren’t a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder I don’t really care what kind of highlights you got.” Keep Reading…
Definitely what we all felt like doing after this one.
Sometimes when the Thunder tries to rely on late defensive energy and shot-making from their superstars to overcome stereotypically sloppy offense and mistakes, it works. But that wasn’t the case Thursday in Sacramento.
Oklahoma City surrendered a ghastly 23 turnovers and gave up 17 offensive rebounds in the kind of performance that showed the Thunder at their worst in some stretches. OKC threatened to quit messing around and take control several times in the second half, but the Kings hung around long enough to give themselves a chance to win by making plays down the stretch, and that’s what they did in a 106-101 win.
Give credit first and foremost to what has to be one of the best performances of young Demarcus Cousins’s career. The second-year forward was active all night and a force down the stretch on his way to 19 points and 9 rebounds. I haven’t seen much of Cousins this year, but I’ve certainly seen his talent and read of his occasional boneheadedness. Thursday night, Cousins was a picture of polished hustle, effort and intensity. He did everything from rebound to hit free throws in crunch time. He was the star who shone brightest in the last three minutes of the game, and it was Oklahoma City’s pair of All-Stars who walked off the court on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Keep Reading…
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.0 (4th), Kings– 98.3 (27th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (17th), Kings – 107.7 (27th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.3 (4th), Kings – 93.0 (8th)
View from the enemy: Cowbell Kingdom
A scary game for the Thunder. The Kings are on national TV, which doesn’t happen often. Which means their fans will be fired up. This is as close to a playoff game as they’re going to get to this season. They’re even blacking it out with t-shirts. Keep Reading…
The Thunder will be sending two All-Stars to Orlando this season. Joining Kevin Durant who was selected by fans as a starter, Russell Westbrook has been named a Western reserve.
This is Westbrook’s second selection, both coming as a reserve.
James Harden, who was certainly a candidate, did not make the cut. All-Star reserves are selected by coaches.
The West’s reserves are Westbrook, Marc Gasol, Steve Nash, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker. They’ll join Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin.
For the East, the reserves are Paul Pierce, Luol Deng, Roy Hibbert, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Andre Iguodala, Deron Williams. The starters are LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony.