Monday Bolts – 2.13.12

Bill Simmons had James Harden as a Western reserve: I especially like Harden because he’ll have moments during a game: You know, like Tuesday night against Golden State, when Ellis was playing out of his mind, the Warriors were making everything, the crowd was going bonkers with an 11-point lead … and Harden promptly swished consecutive 3s to keep the game from slipping away. (FYI: They ended up winning.) He does that shit all the time. You can go to war with James Harden. Some things transcend stats.

And Simmons had some on point thoughts on Russell Westbrook: “Westbrook passed Rondo as the league’s premier Table Test guy — in other words, nobody brings more to the table while also taking more OFF the table, but he brings so much to the table that it doesn’t totally matter. He also plays his ass off and sincerely gives a crap. Why does he insist on chucking those terrible 22-footers, and why doesn’t he defer to Durant more when Durant continues to be the most automatic two points in the league? I couldn’t tell you. (Cut to Scotty Brooks nodding his head sadly.) Still, he’s a destructive athlete and the main reason why OKC always makes its opponents feel like a boxer that’s pinned against the ropes. Think Julio Cesar Chavez. They have NBA title pole position right now for that reason over anything else.”

They aren’t the Broingtons, but the ThunderUp Band isn’t bad.

Nick Collison on blogging: “It’s kind of fun,” Collison admitted. “It’s something a little different. I think fans kind of want to know the behind-the-scenes stuff. I won’t be able to tell everything that goes on, but there are certain things I think I could shed a light on.” Collison said he doesn’t seek clearance from teammates as to what he shares publicly. “I just use my judgment,” Collison said.”

Simmons and Marc Stein have a long Thunder talk on the B.S. Report.

OKC is now No. 1 in ESPN.com’s Future Power Rankings: “They’ll face some tougher decisions in the future, as contract extensions for James Harden and Serge Ibaka may force them to shed other deals to sidestep the luxury tax (including potentially granting amnesty to Perkins). That’s where the money and market come in, and neither is in the Thunder’s favor. But despite the small market, management will spend up to a point. Additionally, this has become something of a desirable market solely because it’s such a well-run, professional operation and it offers a chance at a ring. For all those reasons, we rate the Thunder as having the brightest future of the league’s 30 teams.”

Breaking down James Harden all over the place.

Darnell Mayberry on Reggie Jackson: “But when Eric Maynor was lost for the year to a knee injury last month, the rookie out of Boston College was thrust into active duty only 10 games into his NBA career. Jackson and the Thunder have had to make the best of it, and so far the results have been adequate. Yet, people still are concerned over whether Jackson is the Thunder’s weak link to a title; if Oklahoma City can win it all with a rookie backup point guard. Of course, we see no reason why the Thunder can’t. It’s been done before.”

What’s James Harden headed for?

NBA.com power rankings: “It was a thrilling week on the road for the Thunder, with three of their four games decided in the final seconds. But which play was better: Russell Westbrook’s game-saving block in Portland, or Kevin Durant’s go-ahead bank shot at Golden State? Oh, wait. We’re not supposed to compare those guys with each other.”

Nick Gibson of Sheridan Hoops with a piece on Latavious Williams: “Through 19 games in the world’s second best league, Williams is averaging 9.3 ppg and 6.7 boards per game. His 3.2 offensive boards per game is good for second in the ACB, behind only MVP frontrunner Kaloyan Ivanov of Alicante, and six of Latavious’ double-figure scoring outputs have come in the last eight games. It’s a good sign for a team that currently sits three games out of a playoff spot in the rough and humbling ACB, and it should be just as encouraging for Oklahoma City fans who want to see the Mississippi big man in Thunder blue next season.”

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