Hello, everyone, and welcome to the newest weekly column on DT: the Week in Review. I’ll be your host. Before we get going, let’s go over what we’re doing here.
The purpose of this column is to recap the best and worst player, performance, and play of the last seven days. While the primary criteria in bestowing these great honors is basically whatever I feel like, the parameters I’ll try to stay within will be as follows:
- Best/worst player: Overall, who had the best/worst week, looking at statistical measures and overall impact.
- Best/worst performance: Which player had the best/worst single game.
- Best/worst play: Which play could be a SportsCenter top play, and which play just made me cringe.
One more word about “worst.” Don’t think of “worst” player/performance as who would be ranked last in the old player power rankings (otherwise, Grant Jerrett may have this locked up). This honor should go to a rotation player who does little to help the team (or, worse, hurts the team).
Okay, with that out of the way, here we go:
February 4, 2015: Win at New Orleans, 102-91
February 6, 2015: Loss against New Orleans, 113-116
February 8, 2015: Win against the Los Angeles Clippers, 131-108
February 9, 2015: Win at Denver, 124-114
THE BEST PLAYER
Russell Westbrook. My first post, and I was already ready to skirt the rules and name the two-headed Rusvin Monster as the Best Player. But I’ll be good and pick just one: Westbrook.
In the last week, Westbrook had a 45-point game, a 48-point game, a 19-point game, and a 26-point game, on 51/41/88 splits. Holy cow. He also averaged nearly eight rebounds and eight assists per game over the same span. Oh, and he had a triple double eight days ago against the Magic.
More importantly, in the critical two-game series against the Pelicans, Westbrook stepped up the most, with his 45-point outburst leading the team to a victory, and a 48-point explosion to keep the team in the game on a night when Durant struggled. Big players step up in big games, and Westbrook certainly did so this week.
THE BEST PERFORMANCE
Well, as mentioned, Westbrook went nuts in both games against the Pelicans. But to honor the other head of the Rusvin Monster, Kevin’s “so hot it just raised the global temperature by three degrees” performance against the Nuggets takes the cake. Granted, it is the Nuggets who are in the midst of a season-long implosion, but 40 points on 19 shots? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?
How about this for cool: Durant went 6-7 from 2-point land, and 7-12 from 3-point land, tying his career high for made 3-pointers. He could’ve scored more had he not had an off night from the free throw line (7-11). And, how about that sequence when Durant decided to turn the shooting sliders all the way to the “ridiculously easy setting” and nailed three 3-pointers in a row in the span of 50 seconds.
I do have to give a shout to Mitch McGary. In the first meaningful minutes of his NBA career, McGary has a break-out double double with 19 and 10 against the Clippers. He then follows it up with ANOTHER double double (17 points, 10 rebounds) against the Nuggets. Not only did McGary affect the stat sheet, but he also showed some real “intangibles” with his energy and hustle.
THE BEST PLAY
Okay, so I am going to cheat. I’m going to fudge best play a bit and give it to Durant’s 3 party (we were all invited!) towards the end of the second quarter after Denver had just cut a 15-point lead to eight. Around these parts, we like to call that “Reaper Mode.”
While Durant’s scorching of the Pepsi Center was the best play, maybe the best moment was the Perry Jones-Jeremy Lamb pre-game handshake captured by our good friends at Fox Sports Oklahoma. Boy, this was a real showcase of their handshake talent. My favorite part, though, may be how excited Lamb is to do this handshake, desperately trying to get around Ish so he could get it going.
THE WORST PLAYER
Reggie Jackson. Oh Reggie. In the two games against the Pelicans, Jackson was virtually a no-show: 10 total points, six total rebounds, and three total assists in 37 minutes. Not only that, he shot the ball poorly, going 5-15. He did have a nice performance against the Clippers (but who didn’t?), and was a little more active against the Nuggets (four rebounds, four assists), but overall this was not a good week for Jackson.
THE WORST PERFORMANCE
Dion Waiters. There is something about the Dion Waiters experience that’s special. Special in that he has a lot of games that could qualify as the worst performance of the week. But I’m going to give the nod to his performance against Denver. He scored two points (that’s what you expect from the guy who’s only attribute is supposed to be scoring) on ugly 1-8 shooting, and really did nothing else (one rebound, one assist, and one steal, to go along with three turnovers).
THE WORST PLAY
This was the worst play because of what happened. Going up on a rebound in the second quarter against the Clippers, Steven Adams gets fouled by Spencer Hawes and immediately is in noticeable pain. He then takes off directly to the locker room. After a Thunder timeout, he admirably comes back to make one out of two free throws left handed, but the damage was done. Broken hand, out three-plus weeks. Ouch.