Thunder Find a Way to Lose in Dallas, 105-103

Given the odd fact these two teams play each other again tonight in Oklahoma City…I think I’m going to wait until I do a blog entry on last night’s abysmal loss to the Dallas Mavericks. This is one of those times I don’t want to knee jerk…especially since it’s New Year’s Eve and my resolution is to quit ranting about how Russell Westbrook plays in the last four minutes in games against good teams. I’m taking a deep breath per say and going to enjoy the last day of the year.

But I do want to tackle it because it’s a prime example of why Russell Westbrook isn’t ever going to win anything if he can’t figure it out within himself.

I need to be the adult.

I need to think about what I’m going to write because me just writing fuck four to five hundred times isn’t what’s needed right now.

Russell Westbrook needs an intervention. Maybe a divine one.

Schroeder, Westbrook Lead Thunder Past Suns, 118-102

Granted, this was a game the Thunder won against the lowly (9-27) Phoenix Suns by a score of 118-102 on the road Friday night, but beyond that initial fact it was a game in which I was actually somewhat impressed by how the Thunder finished the game in the fourth period.

It was a game where the Thunder had to overcome the absence of Paul George due to a contused quad and then lost Terrance Ferguson due to some sort of illness after he played his normal rotation in the first period. Add to that, since apparently Alex Abrines is only going to make sporadic appearances this season due to his never ending physical frailty…the Thunder were playing the Suns without three rotational players.

So for me, just winning the game period with this scenario was a good thing for the Thunder especially considering the formidable contributions made by Dennis Schroeder and Abdel Nader.

Schroeder had to start in place of Paul George and struggled mightily until the fourth quarter. But then when it became money time his light switch clicked and he scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth when the Thunder were finally able to dispense of the worst team in the Western Conference. I had Schroder as my No. 1 Star of the Game just ahead of Westbrook who was excellent scoring 40 points on a 17-29 shooting night. Combined—the guard combo accounted for 60 points on the night which was needed since the NBA’s Player of the Month was sitting with that contused quad.

Besides winning the game, the thing which might give me some hope moving forward was how well Westbrook and Schroder managed the game together from the point in that pivotal fourth period. It was like watching Harden and Westbrook in that magical run in 2012. But of course this game wasn’t against Dirk’s Mavs, Kobe’s Lakers, or Timmy’s Spurs– this was against the lowly Suns. But still, it’s something you can maybe cling to if you’re into rainbows and butterflies. But again, these Suns won’t be around when the Western Playoffs begin in April as much as we all wish they could be the Thunder’s first round opponent.

Abdel Nader for the second straight game got minutes. This time though he got 33 minutes in that Billy Donovan had no other options given the fact his was down three rotational wing players.

Nader was superb. He scored 18 points, hustled on the boards, didn’t do anything stupid I could detect and was my No. 3 Star of the Game. I thought he was excellent. He has a much better body than either Ferguson or the frail/anemic Abrines so who knows…maybe this could be the start of something positive for the Thunder this season if Nader could take over the Abrines role and give the Thunder some toughness and production with those minutes. Nader kind of has a body type like Shane Battier but I won’t get ahead of myself.

I’m totally good with the minutes Diallo and Ferguson are getting in relation to their level of play…keep that coming. Abrines is the dude I have circled in red as a hockey coach. As in — how do I make my team better using those minutes in a different manner. To me, Nader, Ferguson, and Diallo all appear to be better athletes than Abrines…so if I’m Donovan that’s something I have to think about and clearly Billy Donovan has given that some thought. So…we’ll see.

Jerami Grant and Steven Adams were both good and I’m to the point I don’t worry about either one of those guys as far as them being starters on a team which we hope can get beyond the first round this season. The Abrines spot is the one which concerns me. That was the spot heading into this season I knew the Thunder needed consistent production from night in and night out. He seems like a sweet kid, but you can’t miss games every time someone bumps into you or breathes on you with some germs.

The Thunder improve to 22-12 and for the moment nudge back into second place in the West.

So…well see. As you can tell–I’ve come to terms with Wild Thing and this non-profit called the Thunder. One step at a time…see the big picture as a human. But I do find it extremely odd that in this year when my wife and I are starting to talk about the possibility of moving to Denver in the future…that the Denver Nuggets and the Thunder sit atop the Western Conference standings.

Is god sending me a sign beyond Kendra Horn winning the 5th Congressional District in otherwise dumpster fire Trumpland Oklahoma?

Could be.

The Thunder play the Mavs on Sunday.

Will Caligula Be Impeached in 2019?

There was a very interesting Op-Ed written in the NY Times by Elizabeth Drew just yesterday posing this thought in writing.

I don’t know. It’s a tricky path for Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and the Dems which will require great nuance and at some point some semblance of patriotism from around ten GOP senators in the U.S. Senate. The House should be a slam dunk. No problem. The GOP Senate might never come out and do the mea culpa they should have done nearly two years ago.

So I don’t know.

Clearly at this point Caligula should be impeached. Not because I think Mueller can prove collusion with the Russians per se, but more to the point it is clear the United States is being governed by a morally bankrupt creep who makes Nixon look like Justin Bieber. This is not who we are. This is not why the rest of the world has looked at us with envy since 1941. This is not the New World Order as the world changes into something new and different almost every day.

America is a conceptual vision. An American Dream in essence guard railed by a masterful constitution which in theory assures humans the opportunity to live a life of freedom attached with doing good things which make the world better around us. Doing things which insures the next generations have the same opportunities. The same dreams…and the same dreams for their children and grandchildren.

Can Caligula endanger all this with two more years now that the adults in Gary Cohn and Jim Mattis are no longer around to remind him he shouldn’t blow his nose on his shirt or fart during a meeting with other world leaders or grab Kellyanne Conway’s vagina in a staff meeting? Or to lie on an average of twenty times a day either on Twitter or on television. The Trump base has lowered the national bar to historically low standards for a sitting POTUS.

Because in the end that’s what you have here regardless of what ideology you embrace at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re a liberal or a conservative…. pragmatic moderate of a Dreamer. It shouldn’t and won’t matter in the end.

Because what we all have is a president who can’t tell the truth. A president who acts like a creep. A president you wouldn’t or at least shouldn’t want serving on your HOA, Little League, or School Board.

Our president is a pathological liar.

He panders to a base which in essence lost the GOP close to five hundred state legislative seats in state houses at the mid term. In two years, the one-thousand state seat houses the GOP picked up during the eight Obama years were cut in half under two years of Caligula. Nancy and Chuck may want to think this thru… two more years of Caligula and the Dems could be on the plus side of state house seats and the governor mansions. Just a thought.

I repeat…Kendra Horn won the 5th Congressional seat in Oklahoma… as a Dem.

They’ve used their Steve Bannon puppet all they can to this point. Two Supreme Court appointees. An individual and corporate tax cut which will add another $1.5 trillion to the debt the next ten years under the guise of fiscal conservatism. This is what Paul Ryan calls fiscal conservatism. Really?

But in reality Mitch McConnell has gotten everything he can get from Caligula. Like two whores who have used each other and now feel awkward in the after silence of not knowing who whored the other better. It is what it is. The current White House and Senate look more like brothels than institutions of freedom and democracy. But then again…the Greeks and Romans already did this.

So maybe Elizabeth Drew has a point or maybe she doesn’t.

Her Op-Ed lives and dies on the premise at some point around ten current GOP senators will put patriotism above political whoredom just once in showing Caligula the helicopter pad.

I hate to tell Elizabeth Drew this, but I have to in my Op-Ed of sorts on here.

Ms. Drew… I have no idea what alternative universe you’ve been living in, but there aren’t two GOP senators let alone ten who will do the right thing as far giving Donald Trump the gong.

Because in the end–it’s simple and George Will and every other honest conservative writer will agree.

Whoredom begats whoredom.

How Far Our Country Has Fallen

My father was a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. That’s why I was born in San Diego and then found myself back in Oklahoma City when he entered law school at Oklahoma City University. My father-in-law was a bird colonel in the United States Air Force and my wife’s godfather is a U.S Air Force retired general as well. I thought of them all yesterday as Donald Trump once again embarrassed our country with his latest rally taking place not in Alabama or West Virginia, but to our troops in Iraq. As an American…I cried watching only parts of it before I couldn’t stomach anymore.

How far we’ve fallen as not only a nation but as a culture since Bush 41 is genuinely staggering. The lack of duty, the absence of empathy, the complete abdication of human decency on multiple fronts are painful to observe.

I hope America wakes up in time.

Thunder on Christmas in Houston Show Who They Are

I watched the game in a jam packed family room with family and friends. I kept my thoughts to myself about the Thunder heading into the game and after the game. Who needs another Grinch when you have Donald Trump already?

Fairly entertaining game with Clay’s Bennett’s version of the NBA United Way posing as a Western Conference elite team. It was a good game because without Chris Paul these Rockets like the Thunder are not two of the four teams I have circled as legit O’Brien contenders on December 26th.

But in the end the Rockets without Chris Paul made the plays and beat the Thunder by a score of 113-109.

There’s no need for angst. If you’re the Houston Texans or the Kansas City Chiefs that’s who you are. That’s who these Thunder are. A nice team which will be entertaining at times in the regular season but in all likelihood another quick exit by late April.

I use the Christmas games as my first marker of sorts to evaluate teams, then redraw the day after the trade deadline if somebody did something of consequence.

What a perfect Christmas game for the Thunder to prove the payroll was worthy of the luxury tax consequences. What an opportunity to show they could be something different. But in the end it’s hard to buy the facelift Sam Presti put together this summer really making that much of a difference post season-wise. But they really are very nice guys.

You couldn’t ask for a better non-profit organization to do an assortment of good deeds for a community like Oklahoma City.

But an NBA championship contender?


Isn’t it odd the most talented quarterback in the NFL and the most athletic point guard in the NBA both lead teams this season who aren’t going anywhere of consequence this season in Green Bay and Oklahoma City. How odd these two small markets with marquee players at their sport’s most important positions aren’t going to figure to be relevant beyond the regular season for the second straight season in Green Bay and the third straight season in Oklahoma City.

The Nick Gallos and the Royce Youngs of the Thunder Universe will try to spell it differently, but in the end they won’t be able to because it’s a truth which makes you gulp with a sense of partial sadness attached.

In the end this is Sam Presti’s Doctrine of Sustainability in Oklahoma City. To be respectable on the court, but to be even better in the surrounding community in Oklahoma.

To do good things from a human standpoint to show the good in the human condition. To show the sense of empathy to others that the world doesn’t see from the current POTUS.

In the big picture of all things make this clear, I’m not railing at anyone by writing up the Thunder’s Christmas game in Houston in this manner.

I love what the city leaders have done downtown with all the MAPS projects. I’m proud of how they’ve transformed the city. I’ll always love the Thunder. I love the baseball park downtown which is a replica of Camden Yards and hosts the LA Dodgers’ AAA team. The Riverwalk is awesome. What they’ve done with the Canadian River in turning it into a national rowing attraction is a miracle. I can’t wait for the new Oklahoma version of Central Park even if it won’t be Washington Park in Denver. Just to have the vision and civic will to do it impresses me.

Clay Bennett and the people in Oklahoma City have performed a sequence of miracles in Oklahoma City which have made the county a tolerable place to live even if you can’t ignore the rest of the dumpster fire state for its lack of vision.

So as I sit here the day after Christmas I do indeed realize there’s quite a bit of good things going in Oklahoma City even if the Thunder aren’t a viable championship contender.

Thunder Lose To Timberwolves At Home, 114-112

In current millennial parlance this is what is described as a scheduled loss even though the foe at home was the passive Minnesota Timberwolves who still at times seem to be in a mode of funk following the Jimmy Butler fiasco which would indicate they’re one of the teams in the West a contender shouldn’t lose to at home.

The Thunder just found a way to lose to the Wolves at home by a count of 114-112 on Sunday night at the Peake.

Granted, the game in Salt Lake was a barnburner which felt like a playoff game, but this is one of those games where a legitimate championship contender which should have the biggest team chip on its shoulder from last season finds enough within themselves to not lose to a Wolves team which didn’t have either Jimmy Butler of Jeff Teague on the floor from last season’s playoff team.

This is a prime example of why despite Paul George’s MVP like December and the improved play of both Steven Adams and Jerami Grant … I still don’t view the Thunder as a team with anymore than just a 40-50% chance of getting out of the first round in the West for the third straight season.

The Thunder remind me of a Mike Gundy coached team. They’ll show you a flash here and there, but when push comes to shove they never win the games a team needs to win to win in their own division let alone the big enchilada come springtime in the NBA.

I’m not calling them chokers per se even though they do possess the league’s highest payroll, it’s just something I see in them which indicates to me losing doesn’t kill them. It doesn’t seem to matter all that much. They don’t seem to get sick to their stomach when they kick a game away or don’t show up in the first period for a game like this one against a lesser foe.

Gundy himself says it a millennial thing with his players at O State. Like me, he doesn’t think his players bleed after a loss. This Thunder team to me has never after the departure of Durant had the mindset that a season is a failure with anything short of a Western Conference Finals appearance. They don’t seem to care collectively all that much. It doesn’t seem to at all obsess them like it does with Steph, Klay, Draymond, and Steve Kerr.

Those cats bleed when they lose. Sure, they’ll struggle at times like anyone in an 82 game marathon, but you can tell it matters to their COMPETITIVE INNER PRIDE. The only time they haven’t won the championship in the past four seasons was when they exhausted themselves winning 73 regular season games. Does anyone who watches the Thunder think they could drive themselves like that to set even a regular season standard?

I don’t. Because I think hating to lose permeates from your head coach. It’s in his soul, in his DNA as the leader to subtly thru nuance handle each player in a manner which clearly says…’Ownership has put enough here for this team to be a championship contender. Put up or shut up. Fucking show me.”

That’s how I feel. I fucking hate underachievers. It drives me crazy. I want to be around people who wear their hearts on their sleeves. I don’t see that in this Thunder culture. They want to talk it, but they don’t walk it and that’s just my gut feel on this organization. Too much babysitting.

The math is simple. The Thunder without Durant are 3-8 in post season. They haven’t been relevant team wise in any sort of championship contending type of role. Like it or not for a team which is run by Clay Bennett the OU alpha regent—his NBA basketball team looks the competitive equivalent of Gundy’s O State football program which always wilts when it matters in the end. But that’s okay because Gundy talks to his team like they’re children on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Tell me I’m wrong and I have this wrong, but I see the same thing with the Thunder in that despite the league’s highest payroll they seem okay with end results of mediocrity as far as championship aspirations. Yeah, I get the sustainability part of the equation, but at some point you would hope there’s the collective mindset that winning the big enchilada is why you aspire to play the game at the highest level.

I don’t see that in Oklahoma City.

What I see is a great deal of folksy niceness like you see in Stillwater. Like you see in bowl season when O State plays in the Taco Bell Chalupa Bowl while the Sooners go play a relevant game. That’s what I see.

No one more than me wishes this isn’t what’s there, but I just see a bunch of really nice guys who are okay with underachieving.

And on that note I’ll close with Andre Roberson’s incredibly touching gesture of donating $7,500 dollars of his own money to a local family so they can adopt another child. It made me cry in a good way. I love Andre Roberson.

Such a nice young man. So many nice guys on this team. If this were the United Way or Goodwill they’d be my pick to win the NBA.

Know what I mean?

Merry Christmas!

We all have Deplorables in our orbit of family and friends. Christmas probably isn’t the time to point out their misguided ignorance to them. Yes…it would be correct to point out to them it’s no longer 1930 and the fact Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover are in the rear view mirror…so to speak. But X Mas isn’t the time to tell them such things.

Tell the Deplorable(s) in your life simply….Merry Christmas and I love you.

Thunder Hold On Late In Salt Lake City, 107-106

This was a completely bizarre basketball game. It had everything you’d want as a fan. The feel was like a playoff game from last spring which could have taken place if the Thunder had extended the Utah Jazz to seven games. The only thing missing was Russell Westbrook not punking Mitt Romney and the GOP for cowering to Donald Trump. Otherwise, the ending of this game had absolutely everything as the Thunder somehow won in Salt Lake City with a stunning 107-106 road win.

I’ll start with Westbrook. It was vintage Wild Thing as he shot a horrific 3-17, committed six turnovers, missed a questionable three late, and yet at the end of the game made a defensive play on Donovan Mitchell at the rim which in essence won the game for the Thunder. Think about what I just wrote…that being, for most of this game Westbrook played like shit and was -12, but in the end made the play of the game on the defensive end.

These are our New Thunder.

Berry Tramel won’t even know how to write what I just wrote.

It wasn’t pretty, but in the end this New Thunder made gritty plays. Winning plays. Gut check plays. Plays that sent my TSN meter shaking off the lab table… and it wasn’t just Westbrook.

Terrance Ferguson made a long two near the end which would be clutch and it would be his only basket of the game. Tell me with a straight face you can visualize Andre Roberson making that shot. You can’t, I won’t let you…so don’t.

Dennis Schroeder after burning the Thunder’s last timeout late on a side inbounds play, turned the ball over, then busted his ass and stole it back from Donovan Mitchell to set up Westbrook’s three point miss which he never should have taken because Paul George was the guy who should have taken that shot.

Tramel…don’t even try this, dude.

That’s how goofy the ending of this game actually was in that Paul George was the best player on the floor on a 43 point, 14 rebound game and I really didn’t notice him late except for him getting his ass burned by Donovan Mitchell on that last fateful play when Wild Thing bailed him out with a defensive play at the rim which made you realize Russell Westbrook really is a defensive stud when he wants to be. Just a stunning play, and BTW I didn’t think Wild Thing fouled the beleaguered Mitchell who in no way looks like the player who took the NBA by storm last spring in his rookie campaign.

This is where I write Donovan Mitchell looks like overrated shit right now…as in lost. You can’t do this, Barry Tramel. The Daily Oklahoman doesn’t allow it.

What a game and what an ending! Consider this as well… the Utah Jazz had 35 assists at home and still lost. I’m to guess that
has never happened before when they hit the 30 assist plateau at home and lose. I bet when Nick Gallo read that stat he literally got a boner and wanted to kiss Russell.

You wonder if these two teams are once again going to meet each other in the first round come this April with say the Thunder at No. 3 and the Jazz at No. 6. It only seems right. They hate each other. Joe Ingles is a punk and seems to always be in Westbrook head, as does Little Ricky Rubio…who knows, even by the this spring Mitt Romney might find his balls and be that Howard Baker dude the GOP is so sorely missing right now. If Caligula is being impeached and the Thunder and Jazz hook up again with Romney taking center stage…I’d have everything in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs a guy like me could ask for. Hell… I wouldn’t even know what was the storyline.

So… amazingly enough, this New Thunder emerge from the smoke at 21-10 and tied for first in the West with Denver and Golden State.

The Thunder host the soft Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at the Peake.

Merry Christmas

The New Patrician GOP. Somewhere in hell…William F. Buckley is laughing his ass at these clowns.