Tuesday Bolts – 2.15.12

J.M. Poulard of Warriors World on KD:  “Kevin Durant may well be the best scorer of a league that houses Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade. His ability to light up the scoreboard will invariably earn him comparisons to some of the best players in the league today, especially at his own position. He is breathing down the neck of LeBron as we speak and will probably force Team USA to make some tough decisions with respect to their crunch time lineup at the Olympics; but let’s not lose sight of one thing: The NBA is blessed to have two marquee small forwards to battle it out during the same decade in opposite conferences. At some point they have to play head-to-head in the Finals right?”

J.A. Sherman of Welcome to Loud City wonders if Reggie Jackson would be good in a press: “We know that Brooks doesn’t use the full-court press. However, I have to wonder, is there an opportunity there for him to use Reggie and his raw physical tools to have a meaningful impact on the game? To just tell Jackson, “Don’t worry about points, assists, or setting up the perfect pick and roll. Just go out there and lock up their PG for 94 feet”? At the very worst, Jackson would slow down the other team for an extra 4-6 seconds, which becomes huge when a team only has 24 seconds to get off a shot.”

New Nick Collison GQ blog on surviving the NBA without being a star: “Think of the millions of guys who started playing basketball because they loved it just like you, but for whatever reason didn’t get a chance to play at this level. Be secure enough to not listen to your friends and family, who say you should be getting more time than the guy playing ahead of you. Learn to chuckle when writers or people on twitter make snarky comments about what a stiff you are. None of that should really matter if you take pride in your work and you can take care of your family. When you look at your job for what it is, and what kind of life you live, you will realize you really aren’t sacrificing anything. You are just figuring out a different way to play.”

Tom Reed of the Plain Dealer on getting dunked on: “Griffin told The Plain Dealer he respects players such as Perkins and Varejao who contest shots and don’t sweat the consequences. Great shot blockers such as Dikembe Mutumbo are often the ones who get dunked on the most.”

From Elias: “Oklahoma City had 13 players score at least one point in the team’s victory over the Jazz on Tuesday night. It is the third time this season that a team had 13 different players score in a game. New York did it against Charlotte on January 24 and Charlotte did it against Portland on February 1.”

Scott Brooks on Russell Westbrook reaching the 5,000-point milestone: “That’s pretty good, huh?” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, confronting doubting reporters with a smile. “Just think if he played the way you want him to play.”

KD on it: “That’s a big-time feat. To be up there with the greats of the game is an honor. I’m sure he’s very excited. I’m happy for him. He’s done so much in this league and he has a lot to go. I’m glad I’m playing with him.”

Darnell Mayberry: “This is hard to ignore. The Thunder’s defensive-minded center had four more assists tonight than its All-Star point guard. A lot of Westbrook detractors could and perhaps would make a big deal about that. In no way am I trying to here. But in no way do I think that’s a good thing. One more? Fine. Two more, even? OK. But four more? C’mon man! If this was one isolated game, that would be one thing. (No, Perk hasn’t tallied more assists than Westbrook before.) But we all know Westbrook’s passing game hasn’t been at the level it was last season. This was his 10th game with four assists or fewer, tonight’s tally being a season-low. I’m all for having a shoot-first point guard. But I like my point guards a whole lot more when they get everyone else involved and make others better. I’m not sure anyone can make a case that Westbrook is doing that right now.”

CBSSports.com power rankings: “The Sacramento loss was bad and revealed some blemishes, but not enough to affect the Thunder’s inclusion in the elite tier, which contains only the top three.”

Ben Golliver of CBSSports.com on OKC: “How do you know that you’re a really good team? You spend your week on a ridiculous road-trip that includes four games in five nights in some of the toughest buildings the NBA has to offer. You emerge 3-1 — with wins over Portland, Golden State and Utah — and yet all anyone wants to talk about is the loss, a close one to Sacramento on national television, with the fanbase fighting to keep its franchise in town. Watching those four Western Conference teams get up for the Thunder made it clear that OKC’s reputation as the team to beat in the West is firmly established and agreed upon. Watching OKC match energy with energy on the road only underscored the point.”

Remember, watch party tonight. Come on out if you’re able