So much to touch on after last night’s game. This is when it’s nice having your own blog and knowing there’s no space limitations on what you’re about to write and you won’t be pissing anybody off by doing so.
Putting aside I live in a place called Deer Creek, Oklahoma and have a natural bias as to where Durant and Westbrook continue to play basketball–I would admit as a longtime NBA fan I hope they stay together in any city, not just OKC. Nights like last night make you realize how lucky you are to have the privilege of watching these guys every game. But having these two players together is good for the NBA and basketball as a whole….even if it means they break my heart and end up playing in New York or LA. Messier and Gretzky both started in Edmonton–a city similar to OKC–but ended up in New York and LA as their pro careers moved along. Just saying. But of course–Durant and Westbrook have yet to win a championship so I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.
So much happened during the last twenty-two minutes last night they have to be mentioned. Let’s start with Steven Adams stepping up to the line and sinking two clutch free throws in overtime even if Oladipo’s baseline jumper did mean more basketball.
Enes Kanter–his defense wasn’t horrible. He was a big part of the comeback last night and his defense wasn’t bad which enabled Donovan to go with that makeshift lineup of Durant, Westbrook, Kanter, Waiters and Augustin.
DJ Augustin again played a role in OKC winning as he hit another big shot and did his job when it mattered. Nothing flashy, just an experienced pro who’s been around and knows his role.
Dion Waiters is a nightmare to the analytics guys, yet there is something endearing about the way he competes. He had a horrible night if you looked at his stats, but he just kind of competes and it appears Durant and Westbrook feel comfortable with him even on nights when his shot isn’t falling.
Kyle Singler saw his first action and was okay, but nothing which made you think he needs more playing time.
Anthony Morrow didn’t play much coming down the stretch which again re-enforces the little things Waiters does competitively as far as defense, loose balls and such which maybe his coaches see in practice every day and bloggers on the internet don’t.
Nick Collison didn’t play in this game which doesn’t surprise me considering the matchups with the Magic. Mitch McGary didn’t play, which did surprise me just a bit–especially in the second quarter when OKC seemed to be lacking energy, interest and a kickstart.
Neither the rookie Payne or Steve Novak played–which didn’t surprise me as well.
Which brings me to Serge Ibaka. He’s had two subpar shooting nights in the first two games and looked kind of fuzzy and lost in this game on both ends. I don’t think it’s an effort thing, but more of just Ibaka adjusting to a new head coach and maybe not having Kendrick Perkins barking out the defensive calls making it more simple for him. Orlando got to the rim whenever they wanted in the first half and in essence, that’s what Ibaka has to be for OKC if they want to be elite in the end…a rim protector. It may take Ibaka longer to adjust because of his limited basketball experience.
Two games in the book. OKC is 2-0 with the Denver Nuggets coming to the Chesapeake Arena on Sunday evening. I’m worn out. No Thunder Nation Victory Song on this one.