Durant Goes 17-46 in Games 4 & 5

I must confess I’ve actually watched these last two games of the Rockets vs. Warriors series as the Stanley Cup Playoffs have a lull until the Finals begin in a few days.

Amazingly… this Super Team from Oakland has somehow fucked around and now find themselves down 3-2 in the series and one game away from elimination. Truly amazing. It almost has that same feel as in 2016 when the Thunder got up 3-1 on the Warriors and then reverted back to hero ball and promptly lost three straight games. Kevin Durant then slithered over to the Warriors’ side on July 4th when Jerry West whispered all the right things into Durant’s ears that changed the course of NBA history.

But here we are again and Kevin Durant in these last two games has basically sucked. Not quite as bad as those regretful last three minutes in Game 6 in Oklahoma City, but Durant has been bad.

So does this mean Durant will be in Houston next season if ‘his’ Warriors choke and lose this series?

Why not?

Why the fuck not?

Durant played college ball at Texas and his mother and his handlers and his stupid brother Tony could promote this as some sort of Coming Home move.

Then LeBron, Chris Paul, and Paul George could go play for the Jerry West and Steve Balmer’s LA Clippers team.

Can you imagine how much better OKC would have been this season with say Eric Gordon embracing the Sixth Man role and not having to wait for Carmelo to get up and down the court?

So based on what we’ve seen from Durant, Daryl Morey, and Jerry West then maybe what we could see next season is Durant playing for the team which just beat him.

Kudos to Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker and Clint Capela for making this an interesting series.

I wonder if Durant leaves if the Warrior fans will boo him and call him Cupcake?

Here’s Steve Kerr in Game 5 basically risking the wrath of Kevin Durant, his mother, the agents, and his stupid brother Tony by telling Durant to pass the fucking ball early in the shot clock. I bet Daryl Morey would never allow Mike D’Antoni to talk to Durant like that.

Washington Caps Advance to Stanley Cup Finals

For the first time since 1998 the Washington Capitals have won the Eastern Conference and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The storyline is obviously Alex Ovechkin and his incredible Conn Smythe level performance this post season as the Caps have dispatched of Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Tampa for the right to play the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in what looms as a very interesting Stanley Cup Finals.

But for me as a fan of hockey this is Ovechkin’s post season to define his Hall of Fame career in his 13th season in the NHL.

Ovechkin in the past has had a bit of Russell Westbrook in him as a hockey player. Great stats. Hall of Fame stats, but the individual unwillingness to change his game in the name of winning the sport’s biggest prize from a team standpoint.

But this Alex Ovechkin is different. This player does all the little dirty work like role players do. Only thing is … this Alex Ovechkin is the most skilled goal scorer in the game of hockey. But this Ovechkin finally came to the realization he wasn’t winning shit from a team standpoint unless he changed as the leader of the team.

Ovechkin has led and his mates have followed suit. Kind of like what Russell Westbrook needs to do as a basketball player.

This reminds a bit of when Dirk finally won his championship in 2011.

These Caps finally exorcised the demons of the Pittsburgh Penguins and are but four wins removed from winning the Stanley Cup.

This is not an incredibly talented team, but they play smart and play with some heart. They really do. They play like this means a great deal to them to show the hockey world this is what they’re capable of doing as a team.

Tom Wilson is a role player. He’s often out there on the ice with Ovechkin as the checking forward. The checking forward basically works his ass forechecking the other team into submission and hopefully creates some turnovers which turn into goals. But most of all guys like Tom Wilson create space and time for a star like Alex Ovechkin and even fight when their teams needs them to do so.

I finally did watch an NBA game the other night when Houston of all things found a way to win Game 4 in Oakland.

But the Stanley Cup Finals is what has my attention right now in that the players seem to care more.

Russell Westbrook… please watch the Stanley Cup Finals. What could it hurt?

Cavs Win Game 3 in Cleveland

These NBA Playoffs really haven’t done all that much for me so far this season. In fact, I’ve found them to be predictable and boring. The four teams most picked to be in the conference finals are there and to date I haven’t seen anything which would lead me to believe Golden State isn’t going to repeat as league champions and winners for the third time in four seasons.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have been much, much, much better where four teams who weren’t in the conference finals last season have given the games some real drama.

Pittsburgh, Boston, and Nashville were all eliminated in the second round. The threepeat for Sid and the Penguins is a dream of the past.

Instead what we’ve had is a magical run by the Las Vegas expansion team, a dream season for the Winnipeg Jets, a rock solid Tampa Bay club showing why they were the No. 1 seed in the East, and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Caps playing the best hockey of his life.

Great stuff.

I haven’t missed a game. Whereas with the NBA—I only halfway watch the games in segments because unless Steve Kerr does the worst coaching job in the history of the league it should be Golden State hoisting another trophy.

Dwayne Casey’s Classy Exit in Toronto

Dwayne Casey was fired as the Toronto Raptors head coach despite just winning 59 games and easily being the winningest coach in franchise history in his seven years.

That’s what happens in sports. I have no idea who comes in and makes DeRozan and Lowery better in the clutch, but good luck to that coach. Much like good luck to the coach who eventually replaces Billy Donovan with the job of changing Russell Westbrook’s game.

Rule No. 3 of Coaching…You’re always hired at some point to be fired.

It happened to Scott Brooks. It will happen to Billy Donovan. Only those rarest coaches like Pop and Phil escape the death chamber of Rule No. 3 in pro sports or in college sports for that matter.

Casey, unlike Kevin Durant did in Oklahoma City, took the time at his own expense to thank Toronto for his experience in what I think is the loveliest city in North America.

Trust me on this as a guy who was born in San Diego that Toronto is the loveliest city I’ve ever spent a week in–and not just because the Hockey Hall of Fame is there. The place just reeks of diversity and ambience. You know…the exact opposite of Oklahoma City unless you’re into seeing the daughter of our governor with her trailer on the state capitol grounds next to the Ten Commandments statue. Yeah—those same Ten Commandments which Trumpster Fire has ignored except for the one about shooting someone in broad daylight on a busy street.

How refreshing in the era of Donald Trump’s total disdain for anything even remotely classy that just fired Dwayne Casey took the time to be classy.

How nice.

He must have become a Canadian in those seven years.

Durant Coasts Against Rockets in Game 1

Even if LeBron hooks up with say Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, or even Paul George in Laker unis after this season—it doesn’t appear to me LeBron will be any closer to a fourth ring.

Jerry West knew what he was doing when he stole Kevin Durant away from Sam Presti. What Jerry West did was basically make the Golden State Warriors unbeatable as presently constructed with Durant, Curry, Thompson, Green, and Iguodala.

Don’t laugh though when I write this—of all the teams in the NBA the one which which might have had a chance was…. the Oklahoma City Thunder. I write this though with the caveat Presti had added a scoring Sixth Man instead of the aged, delusional, and slow Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder roster.

Consider this…if you play a switching defense where you switch almost everything—the Thunder should have had a starting five of Roberson, George, Grant, Adams, and Westbrook. A truly great defensive lineup when Russell Westbrook is actually exerting effort on defense… and you know–trying.

But, alas…Sam Presti lost his mind and added a player who the zenmaster Phil Jackson couldn’t connect with in New York. I mean… if the zenmaster couldn’t relate with Carmelo then what would make anyone think Billy Donovan could cross that bridge.

Anyway, pretty much a yawner in Game 1 in Houston as Durant found himself guarded by James Harden, PJ Tucker, and little Chris Paul. That isn’t happening in a good way for the Rockets. They have no chance with those guys guarding Kevin Durant.

You see, Jerry West and Bob Meyer thought all this out unlike Sam Presti. Jerry West basically made sure Kevin Durant would have two of the guys in the league who can somewhat guard Durant on their Warriors team. Those would be Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Brilliant. They not only stole Durant from Oklahoma City, but they kept the two guys in the Western Conference who can guard the Slim Reaper.

Jerry West…smart guy.

Game 1: Golden State 119-Houston 106.

So what if some smart guy like Jerry West could put LeBron, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard on the same team to guard Kevin Durant next season?

Warriors vs. Rockets

I guess there’s a chance Paul George stays in Oklahoma City even though I think it’s much, much smaller than the 75% chance ESPN’s Royce Young is touting. Even if George stays this would be a Thunder team which without Kevin Durant is 3-8 in two quick exits from the playoffs in the post Kevin Durant era in Oklahoma City.

This is a Thunder team which has a massive headache with its Carmelo Anthony situation and the question of how quickly Andre Roberson will be able to return to elite defender status.

Then there’s that obvious elephant in the room, that being—is Russell Westbrook’s usage conducive to team play once a team makes it to post season without Durant alongside him to smooth out the rough edges.

So as we get set to witness the two best teams in the NBA square off in the Western Conference Finals it’s somewhat sad for me to realize this is the first time I’ll be watching Durant and Harden squaring off in post season .

There are so many what ifs following OKC’s one singular appearance in the NBA 2012 NBA Finals. The biggest what if forever will be the question why didn’t Sam Presti wait out Harden’s restricted free agency and see how the team would have evolved further in 2013 keeping the Fab Four of Durant, Westbrook, Harden, and Ibaka together for at least one more season.

There will also forever will be that what if Presti had decided Durant and Harden should have been the two man hub of the team rather than Durant and Westbrook.

For those who were paying attention in 2012 it was actually Harden’s play as the hybrid guard along side Westbrook which got the Thunder to the Finals in the first place. It was Harden who was the Cool Hand Luke of that group of precocious kids who steadied the ship.

Would we now be watching the Thunder on the cusp of a third NBA championship rather than the Warriors who came out of left field to steal the Thunder’s status as the ‘it’ team in the NBA.

I will admit there’s a sadness in my heart as we wait for Monday night’s Game 1 of the Warriors-Rockets series.

But still it was a glorious decade of basketball for an Oklahoma City market which only by the grace of Hurricane Katrina ever got to borrow Seattle’s franchise for this past decade.

Who could have possibly thought after Portland took Greg Oden and passed on Kevin Durant we in Oklahoma would get to witness a decade of basketball which forever will be remembered by anyone who follows the NBA.

What’s next in Oklahoma City remains to be seen. But for those of us who witnessed this decade of Thunder basketball it will forever be remembered as something very special.

Nick Collison Pulls Down Yao Ming

I love this video of Nick in his beginning days with the Sonics pulling down Yao Ming and getting a flagrant foul. Vintage Nick Collison.

To me, it epitomizes Nick Collison’s passion, smarts, and tough attitude he always brought when he was on the floor.

This is the type of attitude I would think Nick would bring to his team as a coach. I’m hoping Nick Collison is one of the Thunder’s coaches next season.

I hope Sam Presti has big plans for Nick Collison moving forward.

Predictable NBA Conference Finals

You know, for all the observations which come with an NBA marathon season here we are as we thought we’d be with Golden State vs. Houston and LeBron vs. Boston.


For all the talk of sudden parity in the NBA I would think Vegas is feeling pretty good right now about the third straight Golden State vs. LeBron matchup in the NBA Finals with Kevin Durant walking away with his second ring in two years with the Warriors.

Seems like a lifetime ago Durant left Oklahoma City with the July 4th announcement on the Players Tribune.

Lifetimes go by in a blur sometimes and the Thunder’s decade of relevance hung around for a decade of excellence with Kevin Durant.

Nick retired today as he should have and I smiled for him today. Good player, better person. His karma should be good.

Russell waits to see what Paul George is going to do.

As a guy who was born in San Diego…I’m fairly certain what I’d do if were Paul George…namely get my ass back to the Pacific Ocean and close to my family…and who knows maybe doing all that with Jerry West. I’d love to play for Jerry West.

I haven’t run into Steven yet this off season at our favorite 7-Eleven, but I got a feeling it will happen…you know–serendipity and all that. Such progressive progress in Oklahoma….by October you’ll actually be able to buy a six point beer inside a 7-Eleven. I’m surprised that got by the Trump Christians in faith based Oklahoma. What’s next…maybe learning to read and possibly smartening the fuck up beyond the level of a dirt clod?

Great weather this week in OKC. Very summery. Even though part of me longs to be in Toronto to get away from the Trump Christians in Oklahoma–my body loves the heat. I feel like a summer song.

Donovan Mitchell: A Star is Born

As was the case in their opening round with the OKC Thunder, the Utah Jazz earned a split in the first two games in Houston. Rookie guard sensation is to the point the player to be watched this far into the playoffs. A really fun player to watch as a hybrid guard who can play the point without Rubio or the shooting guard with Rubio. He would have been the perfect player to saddle up with Westbrook as did Harden in 2012 when the Thunder made their only run to an NBA Finals appearance. I love to watch him play.

Sam Presti State of the Thunder Union–May 2018

I’m putting this on here only because I want it archived for this fall when I’m writing my book. In length, the press conference was about an hour in length. I made it thru about ten minutes before I became bored and turned it off. Maybe there’s something to be said in what I just wrote from an analogy standpoint. In that after a certain amount of time it appeared from the outside looking in Billy Donovan’s team stopped listening and became bored with him and with themselves.

I expected Billy Donovan to stay as coach and he will. No shock there at all.

Here’s what I would write at this point though in looking forward.If Paul George leaves and the Thunder get out bidded in unrestricted free agency with Jerami Grant–who would be the Thunder’s third best player next season.

The Thunder simply cannot keep Carmelo Anthony because there were a couple of thousand empty seats in OKC for Game 5 and for the first time in the Thunder Era there was booing of the home team.

The booing of the hometown Thunder was a first in the decade long era of innocence in Mystery, Alaska.

What this really boils down to is that for the first time minus the departure of Durant—the innocence of this college market has been exposed to the hard core reality of the harder side of the NBA as a very tough business.

My favorite basketball book of all-time is David Halberstam’s Breaks of the Game about the Portland Trailblazers ’79-’80 season.

As a Thunder fan—I’m locked into three things right now..1 Paul George’s decision, 2 a graceful exit of Carmelo, and 3 if Jerami Grant decides to leave in July.

Billy Donovan is a sidenote.