Wednesday Bolts – 1.11.12

Have you seen all the new shirts at Tree and Leaf this year? Be sure to check them out. We’ve got a new Harden shirt, Daequan Cook shirt, a general Thunder shirt, a kiddie shirt, a Presti shirt and a Nick Collison shirt.

John Hollinger has OKC ninth in his inugural power rankings: “Yes, despite an 8-2 start against a fairly strong schedule, the Thunder are only ninth in the daily power rankings thanks to their slim victory margins. OKC has already won four times by four or fewer points, indicating that it probably is fortunate to be 8-2 rather than 6-4. The other reason the Thunder are this low is simple early-season variance; later in the year, when all the outliers have come back to earth, a rating of 103.2 would have them a few spots higher. I wouldn’t sweat this one, as they also started slowly a year ago before gaining steam as the year went on.”

OKC is third at CBSSports.com.

From Elias: “Russell Westbrook, who was 0-for-13 from the field in his last game against the Grizzlies (December 28), dropped 30 points on Memphis Tuesday night. Only two other players in the NBA’s shot-clock era (that is, since 1954-55) scored at least 30 points in a game against a team that had held him without a field goal in 10-or-more attempts in his last appearance against it since Seattle’s Lenny Wilkens did it against the Baltimore Bullets in 1969 (33 points scored against them after shooting 0-for-11 from the field in his previous game vs. Baltimore) and Denver’s Nick Van Exel did that against the Charlotte Hornets in 2001 (41 points after shooting 0-for-10).”

Tom Ziller of SB Nation has KD second in his MVP power rankings: “Durant is playing as well as he ever has, which is saying something. The scorer’s points are down as he attempts to play a more complete floor game — that’s where the 3.5 assists, up 30 percent over last season, come from — but he remains the efficient leader for a great Oklahoma City attack.”

Former Thunderers tore it up last night. Nate Robinson had 24 leading Golden State back over Miami and Byron Mullens had 15 and 10 in 23 minutes for Charlotte.

Interesting TrueHoop TV with Haralabob.

Britt Robson of SI.com’s power rankings has OKC third: “Backup point guard Eric Maynor’s season-ending torn ACL would be more dreadful for the Thunder if James Harden hadn’t carried his Manu Ginobili-like performance in last year’s playoffs into this regular season. Harden has the best court vision and highest assist-to-turnover ratio (2.47 to 1, with 37 assists and 15 turnovers) among the team’s top-10 players. The third-year guard is adept at drawing the foul when pressured and thrives in clutch situations. As the leader of the second unit (and heavy Sixth Man Award favorite), he’ll be a constant bailout option and source of reassurance for Maynor’s replacement, rookie Reggie Jackson.”

Chris Herrington of the Memphis Flyer on Rudy Gay: “The issue of Gay’s lackluster production and unsteady fit as temporary alpha dog — a role that really belongs as much to Marc Gasol and Mike Conley — is real, but doesn’t need to be worried or hyped into an overriding one this early. (See that “team” comment above.) Gay may never comfortably fit into Zach Randolph’s shoes as a first option, but, provided he remains healthy, he’s not going to play this poorly all season.”

Great note from John Rohde: “In the locker room after the game, forward Serge Ibaka had a spirited conversation with Sefolosha. Ibaka talks slowly in broken English, but he goes 100 mph when speaking French. No clue what they were talking about, but Ibaka vented and Sefolsoha set him straight. Sefolosha’s presence with Ibaka is immeasurable. Ibaka is only 22 years old. It’s hard to imagine the culture shock he would have felt not being able to communicate with anyone on the team.”

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