It will be interesting to see the Thunder’s approach on this. The team as a whole basically had rest the entirety of last season because of the injuries while other teams were still playing into June. Then there was the rest period from the All-Star break thru around March 12th when the team collectively woke up.
Plus, as we’ve all seen with our own two eyes, there’s been quite a bit of resting on the defensive end of the floor for much of this season. So what I’m wondering to myself is what exactly do they need resting from when you consider they’ll be an underdog to get out of the second round and their run into post season could be relatively short.
I think I’d just play my team right now, be smart about it, don’t run the two stars into the ground with heavy minutes in these last games, but please no repeat of the strategy we saw in Detroit on Tuesday night.
If only Michael Lewis had known this circus was coming he could have planned to do his second book on presidential politics. It’s to the point it’s not even worth paying attention to what Cruz and Trump are saying. Nothing more from me this week on the GOP race until the Wisconsin primary next Tuesday.
But first this.
And there was this.
But then there was this.
But way back when there was this.
And just before Iowa there was this…and if you can figure out what any of these people are actually trying to say you should be the Chairman of the National Republican Committee.
That’s it for now till next Tuesday. Keep up the good work, Losers.
Well, I just got through reading both Royce Young and Anthony Slater’s take on the game last night, and in all candor all I can I write is I wasn’t surprised. I’m not at all a big Bill Simmons fan, but his tagging of OKC’s local media as the Prestettes is totally on the mark. Instead of any narrative on the game, the team, and the season, there’s all this fascination with Reggie Jackson and his antics and the effect it had on Thunder players like Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Kevin Durant, and Nick Collison at the end of the game.
And you know what…I’m going to come to Reggie Jackson’s defense even though he played as poorly as his former Thunder mates last night. Truth be known, the Pistons didn’t win last night because of Reggie Jackson, they won in spite of Reggie Jackson, but the Thunder are so stupid they allowed this to happen coming off one of their best nights in almost two full seasons of play.
Think about what I just wrote, in almost two full years of play with two of the league’s four best players, a road win at Toronto with a slumping Kyle Lowery qualifies as a signature win. Think about that. To me, this says a great deal about the Thunder.
And exactly what were Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka resting from? Kevin Durant played in 27 games last season. He’d already sat seven games this season and sleepwalked for about three weeks after the All-Star break. What rest was needed? The only people more well rested than Kevin Durant are in the United States Senate.
I’m just reading all this and blown away on multiple fronts. The world has changed, my friends. There is no way I could fathom prime Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, or Magic Johnson allowing themselves to be sat in this game.
So why are Thunder players or Thunder beat writers even rehashing this aspect of last night’s game?
Leave it alone. If OKC as an organization isn’t smart enough to stagger their players in a well thought manner–then just leave it alone.
In Reggie Jackson’s world it was his One Shining Moment and if the OKC Thunder are dumb enough to allow it to happen then accept it for what it is and don’t say a word about it.
After last night’s game in Toronto, for the first time in nearly two full marathon NBA seasons–I had the feeling the Oklahoma City Thunder were on the cusp of becoming relevant as a contender again. Color me wrong, and I write this not because the Thunder lost a meaningless game as far as Western Conference seedings, but rather write it because the Thunder without Kevin Durant were breathtakingly horrific for 48 minutes against the Pistons tonight.
Maybe I’m just too old school. Maybe I’m reading something in Russell Westbrook, who didn’t buy into sitting tonight, which isn’t there. Maybe I’m just imagining something. But I have to tell you as I sat there watching Reggie Jackson talking shit at the end of this game after he played like a bigger pile of dog crap than the Thunder players, it made me angry.
For the first time in nearly two full basketball seasons, OKC had some mojo, some confidence, some positive feel about themselves, and I guess I’m to assume Billy Donovan decided to sit Kevin Durant rather than to play him light minutes and keep the confidence flowing in his team. You know, this isn’t a team with an abundance of swagger. This is a team right there with the abysmal Philly Sixers as far as choking fourth period leads this season. This has been a fragile team. BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEARLY TWO YEARS THEY APPEARED TO BE MOVING FORWARD AS A TEAM, then this.
This wasn’t the night to sit your alpha stud. This was the night to play your alpha stud, get a lead, put your foot on Reggie Jackson’s pathetic throat, and extend the streak to nine games. Rest could have come later in Denver, later in Sacramento against the piece of shit dumpster fire Kings, or even later against the Lakers at home. This was not the night for rest. This was a perfect night to build upon team confidence, swagger, mojo, but instead the Thunder looked worse than the Bad News Bears and lost to a Detroit team who played almost as horrible as the Thunder.
I’m not going through individual stats or critiquing any players. It was a disgraceful performance by almost all, but not because of a lack of effort, more to the point they were just absolutely horrific twenty-four hours removed from playing one their best games in nearly two years–and I put this squarely on Billy Donovan. If you’re going to rest stars—then why not rest them in the fourth period against the Spur’s Junior Varsity at home?
I don’t what to say. I really don’t. The Oklahoma Thunder have two of the world’s four best basketball players, but I’m not sure if they have the equivalent of RC Buford, Greg Popovich, Bob Myers, or Steve Kerr in the GM and head coaching positions to get this done in Oklahoma City.
I mean I’m sitting here thinking about Donovan saying last night’s win would mean nothing if the Thunder didn’t come out tonight and take the next incremental step forward as a team, then he does this.
There have been some great endings in the national championship game, but this one ranks at the top of my list. Such a wonderful story which was later made into the ESPN 30/30 movie Survive and Advance. I try to watch it the week of the Final Four every season. It renews my feelings for the event and how special it is. If you’ve never seen the movie you should take the time.
THIS is the Oklahoma City Thunder team I’ve been wanting to see. I would rank tonight as one of OKC’s best overall games of the year as they basically toyed with the second best team in the East on their floor in a game the Raptors needed if they wanted to stay in touch with the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East.
Where do I start?
Let’s start with guard play. OKC’s triplets of Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, and Dion Waiters had what I thought was their ‘collective’ best game of the season on both ends of the floor against a Raptors guard tandem which is highly thought of around the league.
Westbrook was superb in collecting his 16th triple double of the season — 26 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists. The ball moved and was taken care of with 29 assists versus 10 turnovers. Plus, I liked his overall court energy on the defensive end. Russell Westbrook is my No. 1 Star of the Game. This is what gives me hope OKC can steal a road game in the Spurs series in that there’s no reason Tony Parker can guard Westbrook. Physics. Not complex.
Roberson was really good tonight. His defense was key as Lowery and DeRozan went a combined 12-36 from the field and only managed 33 points on the 36 shots. Plus, in 25 minutes he scored 9 points. I call those bonus points with Roberson. Anything beyond four points with Roberson are a bonus. Roberson was my No. 2 Star of the Game tonight.
My No. 3 Star of the Game was Dion Waiters. For the third time in the last four games he was good. Three steals, good quickness and energy on defense, plus 15 points on a 6-10 night in 28 minutes.
If Billy Donovan could bottle the 53 combined minutes Roberson and Waiters gave him tonight and bring it to the arena every night OKC would have a puncher’s chance against the Spurs and Warriors. Roberson and Waiters were excellent.
Kevin Durant scored 34 points with 8 rebounds and 8 assists, but you know what, this is what I expect from a generational player in a big game setting and unlike Nickie Gallo on the post game ‘interview’ (sigh) — I’m not gonna get down on all fours and his lick his feet. This is what you expect from your superstar. Good game from Durant, but I expect the same thing in Detroit tomorrow night because I really don’t want to see that goofy grin on Reggie Jackson’s face after 48 minutes of play.
Interesting stat. OKC improved to 10-4 tonight on the first night of a back to back. On the second night of back to backs OKC is 7-9 if I heard Matt Pinto right. I’m too tired to look it up—so I’m going with it. BTW…I enjoy Matt Pinto’s work. He doesn’t just lap dance the two super stars. He says it like it is. Nickie Gallo and Royce Young would be well served to follow Matt Pinto’s lead a little more and leave the blatant homering to Brian Davis and Michael Cage.
Enough of the Thunder media critique.
The Thunder played great tonight.
Eighth straight win and I liked what I saw tonight in the eyes of Billy Donovan and his team. They played with a chip on their shoulder and a competitive anger which has been missing from this team at times.
I’m not one of these types who moans about Reggie Jackson, but I’d love for Durant, Westbrook, and the Thunder as a whole to run the streak to nine with a win in Detroit tomorrow night.
Nirvana for me this week as an Oklahoma basketball junkie. The Thunder play four very interesting games against Toronto, Detroit, the Clippers, and Houston. I’m going to assume these four opposing head coaches are going to actually try to win the games unlike the joke on display Saturday night in Oklahoma City.
A compelling week of games for the Thunder. As the rogue Thunder blogger I am, I’ll grind it out and get my recaps done because I’m genuinely excited about the Thunder this week. All four should be quality games and we’ll actually find out tonight if OKC is No. 4 or No. 5 in my next Power Poll.
But I can’t lie, I’ve been watching OU hoops since I was in the seventh grade. My heart is with the Sooners this week. People outside of Oklahoma don’t fully realize how good the basketball has been for the most part since John MacLeod was coaching back in the Fieldhouse days. MacLeod had a nucleus of Scott Martin, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, and Clifford Ray. My first love as a basketball fan.
A really good team. My first OU team I became attached to emotionally. Ray and Heard went on to play in the NBA while John MacLeod went on to head coach the Phoenix Suns team which played the Boston Celtics in an NBA Finals. The series went six games with Boston winning, but many still consider the Game 5 triple overtime thriller as. the greatest NBA game of all-time. Google it. It was simply an amazing game.
Then came a guy named Dave Bliss from Indiana as Bobby Knight’s head assistant. Bliss did a fantastic job at OU in his time here. In the ’78-’79 season he directed the Sooners to the Big 8 championship and a Sweet 16 appearance before bowing out to a team from Indiana State led by one Larry Bird. I can still name that team…John McCullough, Cary Carrabine, Lester Pace, Al Beal, Terry Stotts (current coach of the Trailblazers), and Raymond ‘Juice’ Whitley. Actually–this is my second favorite OU team of all-time because they played so smart.
But the coach who clearly kick started the OU program was Billy Tubbs. Tubbs was a Tulsa guy who had great success at Lamar before coming to OU. He not only changed OU hoops forever, he changed the landscape of the Big 8 and national college ball as well.
People can say all they want about Billy’s style of play, but he was named National Coach of the Year twice at a program where you don’t get the blueblood athletes like Duke, Indiana, North Carolina, and Kansas.
And of course, his ’88 team is not only my favorite OU team of all-time, but my favorite basketball team of all-time. Harvey Grant, Mookie Blalock, Stacy King, Dave Sieger (my favorite player along with Blaylock), and Ricky Grace. The bench went Terence Mullins, Tony Martin, Andre Wiley, Michael Bell, and Jason Skurzinski.
I’d have loved to seen Billy Tubbs coach Durant and Westbrook. Westbrook and Tubbs would have been a trip, but it would have worked. Because both of them hate losing so much.
If you’re an OU fan, that’s the team you’ve never forgotten. The Thunder NBA Finals team is right their with them, but I’ve been watching OU hoops since I was a kid so that team is an emotional thing with me.
Our Final Four is set with OU vs. Villanova in one national semi-final and North Carolina vs. Syracuse in the other semi-final. I’m sure North Carolina is a prohibitive favorite, but you never know because at the college level you only have to win the one game on Monday night, not the best four out of seven.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter week-end with family and friends. Mine was wonderful. A perfect day of family, food, and hoops. A wonderful time with my father as our Sooners made the Final Four. Our team is making a run and if you’re a basketball fan it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
Sports are such an integral part of our lives we sometimes forget how it holds our lives together in so many different ways. Sports give us a reason to hope. A reason to believe. And a reason to dream. When you think about it sports have literally become an intertwined fabric of our daily lives in America.
It’s truly a beautiful thing when a group of young men embark on a common dream and in the end get there through hard work, tenacity, and the courage to dream.
I should have played this scene the other day. It’s one of my favorite movie endings of all-time. It embodies what we were and should dream of becoming once again in America.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming. I love every nuance of this scene. It’s beautiful. Start dreaming again, America. Dream of being the shining light which the rest of the world can once again admire and respect.
It’s refreshing in this day of bullies and phonies to see nice people have success in their endeavors. I actually liked Jeff Capel and wish it would have ended differently for him in Norman. Joe C said at the time, ‘the firing of Jeff Capel was the toughest thing he’s ever done as the athletic director at OU.’
But in the end, Joe C was gold in that he convinced Lon Kruger to leave UNLV and come to Norman to get the program back to where it was under Billy Tubbs and Kelvin Sampson. Ask any local sportswriter what they’ve learned about Lon Kruger in his five years in Norman and you’ll hear words like… total class, true gentleman, accommodating, professional, excellent teacher, someone you’d want your son to play for.
So here we are with Oklahoma needing a win over Villanova to advance to their third national championship game in the program’s history. In 1947, the Sooners lost to Holy Cross in the championship game. But of course, the one game which agonizes OU hoops fans most was the 1988 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in the title game which was played at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. Some call it ‘the crime of the century.” I still haven’t gotten over it. Billy Tubbs and I are soul mates in that regard.
I still have visions of Ed Hightower raising his arm on a foul call on Stacy King with the Sooners in possession of the ball and a chance to tie in the last twenty seconds. Tubbs has forgiven Hightower, but not me. But at least I’m honest about it. I actually sat next to Tommy Tubbs at a game during the Jeff Capel era (Missouri-Cade Davis played sick) and told him this. He smiled knowingly. Billy Tubbs isn’t fooling me.
OU was clearly the best team in college ball that season and beat Kansas twice before the NCAA Tournament. Kansas was a huge disappointment in the regular season and was something like a sixth seed. The thought of them somehow advancing to the home court setting in Kansas City never really crossed anybody’s minds. But Danny Manning and the Miracles caught fire and beat the Sooners 83-79 in a final played with a decided home court advantage for the Jayhawks. Guys named Milt Newton, Chris Piper, Mark Pritchard, and Mike Maddox were the Miracles. Pritchard was a Tulsa kid and Maddox played at PC North in OKC. Traitors.
Having written this, it doesn’t really crush me Villanova ended Kansas’s season last night. Bill Self is a nice guy, but still I could care less. They have our trophy in their case and things eventually need to be righted in the basketball universe. Ironically–in OU’s magical run in ’88 they beat Villanova in the Southeast Region to advance to the Final Four. The Sooners then handled Sean Elliot’s Arizona team in the semis while Kansas was beating Duke. I think that was the Danny Ferry team.
In that same ’88 tournament a young coach by the name of Lon Kruger coached Mitch Richmond and the Kansas State Wildcats to a regional final where they lost to the Kansas Jayhawks. So many ironies between ’88 and what is unfolding in front of our eyes.
And to think, when this season started everyone in Oklahoma thought the story would be if Durant in his free agency year could finally get OKC’s Thunder over the hump. Instead–the storyline’s been stolen by a well mannered coach and a player from the Bahamas who decided to stay for his fourth season in Norman.
Clay Bennett is a smart dude. He’s on the OU Board of Regents. One of his teams got to the Final Four. Nothing wrong with hedging.
Oklahoma City Thunder 111 — San Antonio Spurs (JV) 92
It didn’t really matter all that much to me because it was all about Buddy Hield and the Sooners whipping the Oregon Ducks to advance to the Final Four for the fourth time in the school’s surprisingly sneaky good hoops history even though OU is known more for the Mike Price School of Business and its college football icondom (word?).
While every stud Spur short of David Robinson, Avery Johnson, and Bruce Bowen were sipping Hurricanes and listening to Jimmy Buffet from the Spurs bench, Buddy Hield was on fire scoring 37 points and winking at his bud Kobe Bryant in the Anaheim crowd.
Note to KD and Russ…nobody cared about Saturday night inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena because Greg Popvich basically said he’s more important than the fans, television viewers, the league, and maybe even Donald Trump. But when you have five rings you can pretty well tell everyone else they don’t matter.
Trump-Popovich 2016 anyone? Those would be some interesting cabinet meetings for sure. I’m president, Basketball Boy. No, I am–I have five rings, you just have a bullshit reality TV show.
Anyway let’s wrap up this recap of the Thunder basically beating the Spurs junior varsity.
Durant scored 31 and grabbed 10 rebounds. He would be my No. 1 Star of the Game, but he can’t because Greg Popovich is my No. 1 Star of the Game for basically saying to everyone else…they don’t matter. But, hey, Danny Green played.
Westbrook had 29. Kanter went 20, 10. Ibaka had 15 points. The Thunder bench absent of Kanter was a complete clusterf–k. Dion went scoreless against a JV team and pretty much displayed why you can only count on him about one every three games. Which would mean in a seven game series he might matter twice. Maybe.
OKC’s win streak against mediocre teams grows to seven games while the Thunder improve to 51-22 overall.
Great game looming on Monday night in Toronto as the Thunder take on a Raptor team which has seriously challenged the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East. I’ll actually be jacked for this game and be ready to write a recap on the same night of the game.
My early line on OU vs. Villanova in the National Semi-Final Game is I have the Sooners listed as the favorite at -1.5 because they have a guy who Kobe Bryant wanted to see play in person.
How about that… Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Let’s see you two guys get to a Final Four this season. You guys have some serious work in front of you.