Beard, or mustache? Mustache or beard?
Not too bad, but my favorite part was the cameo of Ben Golliver of Blazersedge and CBSSports.com fame at the 1:10 mark.
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com: “Looking back on the game, that fourth foul on Durant broke the Thunder’s back. Durant was forced to sit on the bench for the final six minutes of the third quarter and watch their seven-point lead evaporate. They couldn’t recover from that, not when James Harden seemingly forgot how to play basketball.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “Durant’s become a phenomenal defender this season. He is one of the best in the league (very loosely defined) at this point. But while there’s no good matchup for LeBron James, the Thunder can live with James abusing other members of the Thunder, and those other members are doing the best job. It’s not as dramatic, it’s not as iconic. But it’s time for the Thunder to help Kevin Durant be the best he can be. And that means letting him focus on offense. It’s not working. Time for something different. Because if the Thunder don’t find a way to at least make life difficult for James, they’ll be climbing out of too deep a hole.” Keep Reading…
MIAMI — Oh for one. With two more chances to go.
Oklahoma City has to win one of three in Miami, otherwise it’s all over and done with. Game 3 appeared to be the one for about 31 minutes. Like in Games 1 and 2, Oklahoma City was handling business in the second half, cranking up the defense, playing with some swag and rhythm and building a lead. Kevin Durant was cooking. He scored eight early points and was appearing to get That Look. The game was in his hand and really, who knows what else he was going to do. The Thunder led 60-54, and had the Heat on their heels.
Whistle. Foul. Fourth on Durant. 5:41 left in the third.
And just like that, things changed. The Heat outscored the Thunder 16-7 after Durant went to the bench as OKC suffered through a 1-10 finish to the quarter. Derek Fisher hit an and-1 3 to put OKC up 10, but with Durant sitting, and then Russell Westbrook joining him, the Thunder couldn’t find points while they inconveniently fouled Heat shooters on 3-pointers. Keep Reading…
Series tied 1-1
View from the enemy: Heat Index
Game 3, the next most important game of all time.
The series shifts to South Beach where the Heat have home court advantage for the next three. What it means is that the Thunder have to win at least once to get the series back to Oklahoma City because if not, it ends. Win twice, and the Thunder are in prime position to get this done. Win three times and you don’t get to watch your Thunder at home again this season, and trust me, you won’t care. Keep Reading…
MIAMI — Let’s end the speculation now: He ain’t changing it.
At shootaround Sunday morning Scott Brooks made it pretty clear — the starting five the Thunder have used for basically two years now is staying the same. He went as far to say he hasn’t even considered making a switch.
“It hasn’t even crossed my mind to change the starting lineup,” Brooks said.
Not even a little?
“I’ve never considered changing the starting lineup,” Brooks said. “We’re pretty good.”
Clearly the chatter has stemmed from the Thunder’s two painfully slow starts, as well as the fact the Heat don’t play two traditional big men, meaning Serge Ibaka is left chasing Shane Battier around on the perimeter. It’s a matchup problem and something the Thunder haven’t exactly dealt with.
But at the same time, they also have just started games terribly. A 1-11 start in Game 2 wasn’t because of the starting five as much as it was OKC missed a whole lot of shots. Keep Reading…
MIAMI — The last time we heard from Russell Westbrook was Dec. 29, 2011. It was after probably the worst night of his four-year NBA career, a miserable 0-of-13 shooting performance against the Grizzlies that included a reported “altercation” between him and Kevin Durant.
It came just three games into a season that was following that harshest weeks of criticism Westbrook has endured. Talking heads, media and some fans were pinning the blame of the Thunder’s five-game exit in the Western Conference finals against the Mavericks largely on him. He was labeled a ballhog, a player wanting the spotlight, a player jealous of his superstar alpha teammate.
And it all seemed to be coming to a boil after that awful night in Memphis. His relationship with Durant was being questioned and his future with the franchise that believed in him enough to take him fourth overall when most didn’t seem him as a lottery pick was seeming to be in doubt. Forget that Westbrook, a 22-year-old two-time All-Star, had made bigger strides than probably any other player the last few years. Forget that as a third-year point guard he commandeering a high-powered offense to within three wins of the NBA Finals. Forget that he was really just getting started in his NBA career. Keep Reading…
Happy Saturday. Thank you for your support of Daily Thunder. Going to Miami.
Tibor Pleiss has now officially left his German team and there have been reports he’s coming to Oklahoma City. Maybe it’s to play in the D-League, maybe it’s to play Summer League, maybe it’s to sign and be on the roster. Who knows. He’s mostly an unknown quantity, but his team Brose Baskets was nice enough to put together this going away highlight video.
It’s a tie game now. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it’s sure not fun. You know what’s weird though? If the series had started on the road, everyone would be completely stoked about a 1-1 split. Obviously home court matters, and the Thunder gave away that advantage in Game 2, but it’s in the eye of the beholder. Win one of three in Miami, and the Thunder have it back. Win two of three, and you’re right on schedule once again.
And here’s a minor brightside: If you wanted to see a trophy hoisted in Oklahoma City, there’s a much bigger chance of that happening now. (Me personally? I don’t care if they hoisted it in Siberia, I’d rather have a sweep.)
Clearly, the slow starts are a problem. There’s valid frustrations lingering from Game 2. What happened out there and who’s to blame? Keep Reading…