Unbeaten week! Granted, the Thunder only played one game in the arbitrary seven-day period I’ll refer to as “last week” (February 10-16), but it was against the Grizzlies, the team with the third-best record in the NBA and a potential (though, unlikely) first-round match-up.
And as you no doubt read on Twitter multiple times, the Thunder are now just a half game back of the Suns for the eighth playoff spot, and are tied in the loss column.
- February 11, 2015: Win against Memphis, 105-89
- February 15, 2015: Win (Western Conference All-Stars) against Eastern Conference All-Stars, 163-158
THE BEST PLAYER
Kevin Durant. Last week Kevin averaged 26 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists (on zero turnovers), and shot 60 percent from the field, 67 percent from three, and 100 percent from the free thrown line. Okay, I guess it’s not really an average if it’s just one game, but still, Durant is a really impressive basketball player. During OKC’s current three-game win streak, Durant is shooting 62 percent from three. While I know I’m not a professional basketball player and all, I’m barely able to muster a 62 percent conversion rate from three feet, let alone from 23-plus feet.
For the record, I love it when Kevin does this. I feel like Kevin makes more of these dagger threes than anyone else in the league.
THE BEST PERFORMANCE
Nick Collison. Yeah, yeah, Kevin Durant scorched the Grizzles (see, above). Yeah, yeah, Russell Westbrook attacked with reckless abandon and went to the line 15 times (that’s a lot, by the way), making them all, en route to a near triple-double with 24 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. Yeah, yeah, Serge Ibaka took a blow to the face and played inspired basketball in the second half. And yeah, yeah, Jeremy Lamb again shot 100 percent from the field for the fourth time this season (in those games, Jeremy is an astounding 4-4 shooting).
But Nick Collison, just over a week removed from one of the most controversial mid-season extensions of a player averaging 16 minutes a game in Thunder history, had his best performance of the season against the bruising Memphis Grizzlies. Mr. Thunder scored a season-high 15 points, added 9 rebounds (five offensive), two assists, and two blocks, and even hit a 3-pointer for the first time since November 19, 2014 (84 days ago).
Look at this block of Beno Udrih. Not only does Nick show great extension to get a hand on the ball, but he sacrifices his body attempting to keep the ball in bounds. Mitch, you have much to learn.
Also, honorable mention goes to Russell Westbrook’s record-setting 41 point performance in the All-Star Game on Sunday Night. Russ set a record for most points in a half (27) and nearly broke Wilt’s game scoring record, just two points shy of the record. While All-Star Games are not necessarily precision basketball (neither team shot above 50 percent, there were 39 combined turnovers, and 133 three-pointers were taken), Westbrook was sizzling. I mean, he shot 5-9 from three! He also won MVP, which is pretty cool.
THE BEST PLAY
Yes, Kendrick Perkins really did jump that high. It’s on film and everything.
THE WORST PLAYER/PERFORMANCE
Mitch McGary. Since this was a short week, I’m going to combine the worst player and worst performance categories, especially because the team played really well overall. But after two straight double-doubles, the Mitch McGary Double-Double Express derailed against the Grizzlies. To anyone who would listen to me, I mentioned my concern that the Grizzlies matchup was not a good one for the rookie. Props to myself because I was proven right as Mitch struggled. He failed to score, had just two rebounds, and fouled out in 15 minutes. Look for McGary to bounce back against the Mavericks on Thursday, who are a little thin in the front-court.
THE WORST PLAY
Again, this was a really complete game from the Thunder. Offense/defense, everything was clicking. But there is a little bit of concern with Kevin’s foot, you know, the one they did surgical stuff on just before the season. In the second half, and as the game progressed, we saw a lot of Kevin Durant limping up the court. His foot was also heavily iced. It’s not what you want to see when OKC finally looks good again. Thank goodness Steve Kerr didn’t play Kevin a ton of minutes in the ASG. Hopefully a little rest will alleviate the discomfort in Kevin’s foot.
- Against Dallas on February 19, 2015
- At Charlotte on February 21, 2015
- Against Denver on February 22 2015
John Napier is on Twitter. Sometimes he tweets things. You can follow him at @ajohnnnapier.