Merry Christmas, friends.
Merry Christmas, friends.
I. Michael Cage does this thing where he says, “And I’m lovin it” a lot. He’ll say it after the Thunder have done something good, after Brian Davis has finished narrating that goodness. And it could be anything. A steal that leads to a layup. A pin down for Durant. A nice box out. An extra pass to a wide open Morrow in the corner. He could miss the shot, and even still, an “And I’m lovin it” is coming. It makes me feel good when he says it. I’ve come to count on it, the way I do the sun, or my wife saying something derogatory about Kyle Singler’s hair.
II. Kevin Durant’s crossover is officially something to watch for. The next bit of Riverside Casino Keys To The Game, or however you say it, should just read “Durant Crossing Dudes Up” three times over with accompanying video/gifs if they paid too much for that Riverside Casino graphic and want to get some mileage out of it. It has become a bonafide move at this point. If he were a wrestler in a video game there would be some combination of buttons you could press on a controller to get him to do it, by which I just mean this move is ever present within him and at the ready at all times. It would be one of his finishing moves along with Jumpers At The Nail and Staring At You And Knowing Your Secrets. Keep Reading…
LOS ANGELES — For a minute there, this one started looking a lot different than the obliteration that happened in Oklahoma City four days ago. The Lakers led 42-39 with 4:54 left in the second quarter.
Then the Thunder went on a 40-4 run, which included a 22-0 run to open the third quarter, to put this one away.
Now, yes, the Thunder won again by 35, but it’s impossible to ignore what happened in that second quarter where a solid Thunder lead evaporated with the all-bench lineup on the floor. The second unit has major issues. They aren’t utilizing Kanter in the way it was designed this offseason. Augustin is a liability everywhere, unless he’s taking a wide open spot-up 3. Nobody can get Morrow shots. Keep Reading…
TV: NBATV/FS Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 9:30 PM CST
Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats)
For the first time since the opener, the Thunder finally got a signature win over a top-tier team. The Thunder had to battle down the stretch, going back and forth with the Clippers in the final 5 minutes of the game, before finally making enough plays to secure the victory. It was the type of victory that you could plant your flag on.
Over the past month, the Thunder’s only 3 losses have been road losses to the Cavaliers, Hawks, and Heat. For all the hustle and bustle about the Thunder’s inability to win close games down the stretch against good teams, what’s been lost is that the Thunder were a shot away from either tying or winning each of those games. And that’s all you can ask for when you play good teams on the road. Keep Reading…
Anthony Slater on the Westbrook to Adams lob game: “The scheme seems simple. But for it to work, you need floor-spacers like Ibaka and Durant, plus a point guard like Westbrook, able to orchestrate it all with his scoring threat and improved passing ability. Not many teams have all those components. Fewer also employ a big man that can sky for the lob like Adams. There are plenty more skilled offensive bigs around the league, Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter included. But there aren’t many centers in Adams’ realm athletically. The Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan is one. He has a league-leading 44 alley-oops in 29 games this season. Miami’s Hassan Whiteside is another. He has 24 in 26 games. Adams has only 14 in 28. But he has eight in the past seven.”
GQ on Westbrook’s post-Clippers outfit: “Last night Westbrook let his style freak flag fly (like really fly) by wearing an outfit that we can only describe as what’s left after you take take off 90% of your ski clothes. Namely, white thermal long johns, baggy shorts, a vintage T-shirt, and heavy combat-style boots. He decided to complete the look with a pair of fingerless leather gloves because, why the eff not.” Keep Reading…
This season, the Thunder have been one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA. (The Thunder are second in the NBA in rebounds per game, averaging 49 per contest). That rebounding ability has helped the Thunder grab the second most offensive rebounds per game in the league (12.6).
Unsurprisingly, then, the Thunder are one of the better teams in the league at grabbing available rebounds. The Thunder are first in the league in offensive rebound percentage, grabbing 29.7% of available offensive rebounds; eighth in the league in percentage of contested rebounds collected, pulling down 31.5% of contested rebounds; and second in the NBA in adjusted rebound chance percentage, collecting 70% of available rebounds within 3.5 feet of a player (subtracting out the times a player lets his teammate grab a rebound). Keep Reading…
Anthony Slater: “As the ball bounced away and time expired, Durant let out a yell and huge fist-pump, untucking his jersey and staring down the courtside row that featured Drake and Floyd Mayweather.”
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com breaks down Westbrook’s big 3: “From here, Durant has a number of options, which includes engaging his defender — Clippers’ defensive stalwart Luc Mbah a Moute — in one-on-one combat. Isolation basketball might not capture the sports’ aesthetic flourish, but Durant has a case. Among players with more than 50 isolation sets this season, Durant leads the league by producing 1.138 points per possession. As a reference point, the Golden State Warriors score 1.133 points per possession.” Keep Reading…
Coming off a thoroughly convincing victory against the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Saturday, the Oklahoma City Thunder escaped from LA with a dramatic 100-99 victory over the Clippers. The win climbs right up to the top of the charts as the biggest road win of the season for the Thunder.
Kevin Durant went just 10-of-24 from the field, but scored his 23rd and 24th points of the game as he drilled the game-winning jumper with 5,8 seconds left. He then made the game-saving block on Chris Paul’s 18-foot jumper to secure the win in nail-biting fashion.