Arkansas vs. Gonzaga NCAA Tournament Sweet 16

It’s hard to draw many meaningful conclusions from last night in Utah because the team the Thunder played against would have probably finished as the No. 8 seed in the Big 12 last season.

Utah was brutal on both ends of the floor. Jared Butler wouldn’t even make this Thunder team when it comes down to the final cuts. I will say this though…I think Chet will be a good player and be the primary benfactor from Josh Giddey finding him in space and transition all over the floor as their games eventually meld.

Those two in transition will be special.

The Thunder will need a physical center on defense though so as Chet doesn’t get beaten to death in an 82 game schedule. I was surprised Presti didn’t pick the kid from Memphis.

I love the Williams boys…. J Will and J Dub. I think Presti really did well on those two picks.

I will predict at some point…J Will becomes the TSN (Toughness, Smarts, Nasty) equivalent on this Thunder team as Nick Collison was during his playing days in OKC.

I love this kid. He understands the game on both ends of the floor. I wonder if his father was a coach?

I usually don’t watch Summer League games…but these three have my attention. I would think think Philly will be a better barometer tonight.

I would assume Presti is going to dump Favors’ salary and there’s no way I see either Poku or Bazely playing center. Presti needs to go get him a banger or enforcer to protect Chet.

That’s the way I would see it.

As always… for the smartest, most objective takes on the Thunder follow us here at Dub Nation Oklahoma.com.

Enjoy the game tonight.

My son played in hockey tournaments in both his sophmore and junior seasons near Highland Park. I’m familiar with the area. It’s a lovely place. Steve Kerr didn’t go nearly far enough with his rant though.

BAN the automatic/semi-automatic ASSAULT RIFLES! Ban them as they were banned from 1994 thru 2004 before the 2nd Amendment was completely manipulated by the NRA for more profit.

If you want to have an automatic assault rifle then go serve your country in battle. If you Jimmy Joe Bob Jimmy Jack Bubba Rays want to be Rambo then go serve your country.

This clearly won’t solve the problem by itself given we have become a broken country, but it might be a starting point to regaining some sort of sanity in our country.

Given your deep concern for the sanctity of life it would seem logical to me.

Lu Dort Signs Five Year Deal With Thunder

I observed Sam Presti’s draft class and I’m going to reserve serious comment till I see Chet play some summer league games. I watched Chet played ten games this past season for Gonzaga and quite frankly I was not blown away. I’ll be dead before this Presti project ever comes to fruition either way it goes for Chet. So I hope you can understand my point of view on Chet and his frail frame.

I would have taken Jabari, but since we all knew this was probably what Presti was going to do…there’s no point at all in gnashing teeth over it. Besides…I’m a Dub Nation, Oklahoma guy now. I’ve got the championship T-shirt and ball cap and everything. Presti left me no choice. Taking Chet was just so Presti you just have to smile to yourself and be glad it wasn’t Greg Oden.

However…I love the fact Presti took Jaylin Williams with the 34th pick , and in fact, when Jaylen kicked Chet’s ass all over the the floor in the Hogs’ easy win over Chet and Andrew Timme in March Madness…on this very blog I begged Sam Preti to draft Jaylen. I would guess Jaylen is the reason Presti just waived Isiah Roby and Darius Basely just became expendable as well.

Jaylen is a Swiss Army knife who can do everything given the the way the game is played nowadays. Great motor as well. A very tough kid. If the Thunder fans don’t fall in love with this Jaylin…I don’t know what to think about them at this point….other than they’re an extremely dumb fanbase.

Now…Lu Dort. Lu Dort had El Prez (me) at hello. In this current NBA game of sissyified, overpaid, pampered entitled players who litter the NBA landscape…Lu Dort had me at hello as an undrafted player from Arizona State.

If ever a kid deserved the five year deal Sam Presti gave Lu this week …it’s Lu Dort. So…Sam Presti, you got two things right this week. Good for you.

I’m glad to be back on the blog. I was down for five weeks and told by my doctor to stay still and get my back healthy.

You never appreciate your health until you don’t have it for awhile.

Glad to be back. Hope you have a safe Fourth.

Trump Insurrection Deposition

I haven’t posted for almost a month. I injured my back in a freak accident and have been instructed to stay still.

What a coincident on the first day I’ve like blogging we witnessed various segments of the Trump group start to begin the process of covering their asses and flipping the GOP flunkies and the Golden Child of Grift.

During my down time, I retired, binge watched The Netflix version of the Lincoln Lawyer, read Jaime Raskin’s book Unthinkable, then read Tony Dungy’s inspirational auto-biography Inner Strength, then watched every game the Tampa Lightning and Colorado Avalanche have played on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The path to the Stanley Cup has been much more watchable than the NBA Playoffs.

But on Friday night Steph Curry with his iconic 43-point performance did ignite the competitive embers in my NBA soul.

So…tonight, I plan on getting back on track with the Warriors and blogging on Game 5 tomorrow morning.

I missed blogging.

LET’S GO WARRIORS!

Recovery lawyer Jon Cooper is on the cusp of the first threepeat in the collective bargaining era of the NHL.

The secret of coaching at any level? Making players want to play for you.

Tampa Bounces Back in Game 2, 5-3

Tampa calmy regrouped and corrected their mistakes from Game 1, then basically showed Toronto who’s the two-time Stanely Cup defending champion with a somewhat easy 5-3 road win in Game 2.

If you look at this with complete objectivity the Lightning are still the team to beat in this Stanley Cup race.

Granted, I don’t believe any other team in the era of collective bargaining as ever won a three-peat and the Tampa roster has taken some hits…they’re still the team to beat.

Tampa has the best coach in Jon Cooper. The best goalie in Andrei Vasilevskiy. And the best power play in the game with an array of talented snipers.

Then of course they have a former Conn Smythe winner and future Hall of Famer in defenseman Victor Hedman.

So maybe we should tap the brakes on the celebration in Toronto.

This was a game where Toronto went to the penalty box way too much and paid for it by giving up three power play goals. You’re not going to beat Tampa sending them on the powerplay. That’s not happening.

This still by far should be the most compelling first round matchup, but Coach Keefe is basically going to have regroup his players mentally and see if they can stay out of the penalty box.

Game 3 in Tampa.

Jon Cooper…recovering lawyer and two-time Stanley Cup champion coach. Follow your heart.

Steven A’s Top 5 Hockey List

It’s raining again Deer Creek, Oklahoma. So… here’s what I’m doing…I’m bumping the NBA tonight for Game 2 of Tampa vs. Toronto.

Steven A doesn’t know cold. Cold is when you drop your kid off for a 6:00am practice at the rink when it’s twenty degrees outside.

I’m glad Steven is getting hockey into his First Takes shows.

There will be some consequential beer consumed tonight in Toronto on Young Street. You have not lived until you’ve spent a night on Young Street.

I’m amped about this game. I want to see if Coach Cooper said the right things.

Plus, the always sneaky good blue-collar St. Louis Blues play tonight. Don’t sleep on the Blues.

Dillion Brook’s Stupid Play Takes Out Gary Payton

Another great game between the Warriors and Memphis. We that love NBA hoops knew this would be special and it has been. It’s the Steven A in me even though unlike Steven A… I love hockey as well.

I’ve pretty much moved on from the Thunder until the draft. I went a lifetime without the Thunder before Katrina. This is not killing me. It might be killing restaurant and bar owners in Bricktown, but this is not a blip on my radar screen. In fact…it was becoming burdensome having to write about a team which hasn’t won a playoff series since 2016. I felt like I was diluting myself.

Sam Presti is an anal retent. No one is going to tell him what to do. So why fret things you literally have no control over whatsoever.

The part in Sam Anderson’s book where Presti is constantly reshuffling the balls in the basketball rack like Captain Quig was hilarious, and yet revealing.

Steve Kerr went a little too far in my view calling this a dirty play. This isn’t the Godfather, there was no Code Red broken here…just a stupid play by Dillion Brooks which will have a consequence. Oh, there will be a payback hit just like in a mens’ B league hockey game.

If you think it was a dirty play, then keep it to yourself and obliterate Ja Morant the first time he touches the ball in Game 3 in Oakland with your fans in the building. Just simply obliterate him.

I feel horrible for Gary Payton. He was turning himself into a nice player. But next guy up and that will be Johnny Kuminga.

Note to Dillion Brooks…dude, if you make a play like that there are consequences. I would very much be keeping my head up would be my advice. I think back to the hit Stevo put on Patrick Beverly after he took out Russell Westbrook’s knee….four years later. Just saying. Best play of Steven’s career, and Andre made a three!!!

LET’S GO WARRIORS!

Washington Caps Stun Florida Panthers in Game 1, 4-2 EN

A much better night of hockey on ESPN after last night’s array of bad games minus the LA Kings 4-3 win over Edmonton.

Scratch me covering the Avalanche-Nashville series. That was brutal and right there as unwatchable, awful hockey as the Avs rolled at home 7-2.

The triple overtime win by the Pittsburgh Pens over the NY Randers was pretty awesome considering the waved off Ranger goal for basically running the goalie with three minutes left in regulation. I thought it was the right call. That was me at my best in the mens’ B league on that play. When in doubt… run the goalie and see if the zebra makes the call.

But the game I enjoyed most was the Washington Caps comeback 4-2 win on the road versus the highly regarded Florida Panthers.

I think this will be the series I follow along with the Toronto-Tampa series in the first round.

I was happy for Alex Ovechkin. He’s one of my favorites. These past two months have surely been difficult for him. I thought the turnover he created at mid-ice was the most influential play of the first two nights of the tournament.

All the sudden we can’t forget the Washington Caps are still around and breathing as a team which won the Cup in 2018.

The Memphis win over Golden State was great, but for tonight it was Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Caps upsetting the Florida Panthers on the road.

It’s nice to see the NHL back on ESPN where it belongs.

I’d still love to hear Gary Thorne and Bill Clement do a few games though.

I believe Gary Thorne is currently teaching sports journalism at Arizona State. His voice in my mind is the best hockey play by play voice of all-time. And yet Gary Thorne loved being the broadcast voice of the Baltimore Orioles. I just wish he was part of this ESPN hockey package in some manner.

Toronto Bludgeons Tampa in Game 1, 5-0

Not much of a Game 1…that’s for certain. Toronto literally won every phase in this hockey game versus the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions who go by the name of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Even strength, power play, penalty kill, between the pipes. and even the fight with nine minutes left in the third period.

This game had Toronto all over it.

Those of us who love hockey know the Toronto story. They haven’t won a Cup since 1968. They haven’t won a first round series since Kevin Durant was still carrying the cupcake-snowflake Sam Presti on his back.

The Maple Leafs have become known as a regular season fake tough guy. But this year could be different if their goaltending can hold itself together.

This game was over when Coach Sheldon Keefe smartly used his timeout in the second period when his team had a 5 on 3 powerplay. He knew how important it was to score another goal and, in a sense demoralize the uninspired Lightning in Game 1 at home.

It was textbook. Touch, touch, Auston Matthews in the back of the net and this game was over in the second period. As in a standing eight count.

Toronto needs to win a Stanley Cup championship. An Original Six member in a city where it actually snows needs to hoist a Cup.

The Raptors won a championship just a few years ago over the injury ravaged Warriors. The Blue Jays won a World Series in 1993 when Oklahoma’s own Joe Carter walked-off against Mitch ‘Wild Thing’ in 1993.

My dad was Joe Carter Sr.’s lawyer. We were at his house that night Joe Jr. went yard. I swear it was something I’ll never forget. A black kid from Millwood high school winning a world series for the Toronto Blue Jays.

So… let’s get to the Sheldon Keefe postgame presser which I’m sure both the Oklahoman and Tulsa World will both be featuring this morning. That was sarcasm.

My press conference is this…the Tampa head coach is John Cooper. I think he’s the best head coach in the league. He knows what his team didn’t bring to the rink in Game 1. He knows. His team got outworked and the Lightning didn’t throw enough pucks at the net against Toronto’s at times soft goaltending. I’m sure his team will not go down without a fight.

Coach Cooper will look at the film with his team. Circle half a dozen plays and tell his team if they’d won those plays it would have been a different hockey game.

Gotta score goals. Jack Campbell is not Jonathon Quick. Put the puck on the net.

For the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs…I think I’ll primarily cover Tampa vs. Toronto and Nashville vs. Colorado.

Golden State Edges Memphis in Game 1, 117-116

This was a great basketball game to begin the Western Conference semi-finals. Everyone is talking about the Draymond ejection, but I thought the Warriors played much better without Draymond after he got tossed.

Whether he deserved an ejection or not, he can’t keep hurting his team with these childish displays of emotion.. This won’t wash if the Warriors reach the Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, or for that matter versus the Suns in the next round.

But give Kevon Looney, Otto Porter, and Gary Payton credit…they filled in admirably for Draymond as the Warriors hung on at the end with Ja Morant not touching the rim on a rushed layup attempt at the buzzer.

Klay Thompson had the game winner with around 14 seconds left with a picture perfect three.

Klay then missed a couple of free throws on the next possession and Golden State had to endure the last attempt from Morant with the Grizz inbounding a mid-court entry pass from mid-court with 3.5 seconds left in the game.

Jordan Poole was excellent and showed again why he was the Most Improved Player in the NBA this season. That is the difference with this Warrior team. Either Steph or Klay can have an off night and Jordan Poole will be there to pick them up production wise.

In the other game …one word. Giannis. The Celtics just a series against a Brooklyn team which played no defense and was just a notch below the Lakers as the most dysfunctional Super Team in the league this season.

The Boston Celtics better realize in a hurry beating the Nets didn’t mean all that much and become much more physical in this series. Plus, Jaylen and Tatum need make their shots.

Memphis vs. Minnesota, Game 6

I’m getting ready to watch Game 6. I’d say pick’em tonight. I see no reason why Minnesota would exit at home without a monumental fight.

All three of these teams are what the Thunder could be if they had the guts to compete and cease tanking beyond this season.

I think Sam Presti is a fraud to a certain point. But tonight is not the time for that dissertation.

Would Sam Presti and the Thunder have ever won any first round series without Durant after the team was moved here from Seattle?

My answer is no.

So why is he considered a savant of sorts?

Portland took Greg Oden.