Chris Paul Returns in Thunder Win at Sacramento, 120-100

Chris Paul missed Monday night’s game versus the Dallas Mavericks as he was trying to get over the shock of losing close friend Kobe Bryant. They were close and in reality the league should have canceled all games on Monday following the tragedy on Sunday in Los Angeles.

In case you doubt the value of Chris Paul to the Thunder this season Wednesday night was a primer on why the Thunder with a healthy Chris Paul are a good basketball team as they rolled the Kings by a 120-100 margin.

With Chris Paul on the floor the ball moves, it flows, and it ends up in spots on the floor where the right player has a shot in their particular wheelhouse spot.

On the night the Thunder had a giddy 32 assists to but 13 turnovers as the Thunder look like a playoff lock if Sam Presti decides to keep the team in place beyond the trade deadline of February 6th.

Lu Dort started for the seventh straight game and the Thunder are now 6-1 in those games with six straight road wins which ties a club record set back in 2013.

For me…I’ve seen enough to write this Thunder team could be a competitive first round team if they can avoid playing the Lakers in the first round. Against any other team in the West—I think this team could conceivably be very competitive.

What Sam Presti has to decide is if a contending team is willing to part with a promising younger player, not a draft pick, to make his team still solid around Chris Paul. I wouldn’t trade Gallo otherwise. If Gallo walks in free agency… then he walks. Kevin Martin walked after the 2013 second round exit versus Memphis, yet the Thunder were back in the Western Conference Championship the next season.

If Sam Presti genuinely believes in rookie Darius Bazely down the road then roll the dice and see what happens. You have to have a set of balls to be the GM in Oklahoma City. It’s not like OKC ever going to be a destination for free agents on the whole because their isn’t any opera and there’s the David Duke-like state legislature.

The Thunder are now 29-20 overall, 14-10 on the road, and close the pre-All-Star Game break on Friday night in Phoenix.

Lindsey Graham’s Downward Spiral

If you live in South Carolina this must be extremely painful to observe. Tragic…would be a more apt adjective.

Lindsey Graham has become a national tragedy almost in scope exceeding the tragedy named Donald John Trump. Perhaps—next hurricane season the first two hurricanes should be named Donald and Lindsey.

As a historian and an ever evolving student of history…I pose this hypothetical aloud to myself and any other who might ponder things such as this from time to time:

‘What if it had been Lindsey Graham who had passed and it was today John McCain still alive and well in the Senate chamber.

Would will still be witnessing this pathetic exhibition of cowardice to this degree inside of what Chief Justice Roberts generously described as our greatest deliberative body?’

I don’t think so.

If one looks at the pathetic half drowned river rat excuse of a man Lindsey Graham of today versus the cool seemingly poised adult sitting next to John McCain in the video….the two Lindsey’s don’t appear to be the same human.

Lindsey Graham should go back home. He should probably retire. Maybe Nikki Haley could nestle him next to her breasts and nurture him back to a level of emotional stability since John McCain isn’t available at the time being.

Go home, Lindsey Graham…go home.

George Conway–Please Leave the Stupid Bitch

This is one of the few positives for me in this entire Donald Trump ordeal the past three years. That being, I’ve come to know and admire George Conway’s honesty even though he is married to Kellyanne Conway.

He’s a moderate like me. Even though he’s still a Republican and married to a crazy woman who defends a pathological liar and cheater—he somehow speaks the truth. I have no idea how they even live in the same house let alone have stayed married. To me…their marriage is even more baffling than Trump being elected in the first place. But all I can surmise is the sex must be so Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction over the top he can overlook having to talk to her.

Here’s George Conway on Jake Tapper last Sunday discussing our fifty-three profile of courage Republican senators.

Chris Paul Sits in Loss to Dallas Mavs, 107-97

It was a night when in reality I think most in the NBA would have preferred not playing games if possible. In fact, the emotion is still so raw in LA the Lakers-Clippers game tonight has been postponed. All across the league even in culturally regressed Oklahoma City—there was a hushed awkward feel as the game went on with the exception of Chris Paul.

Chris Paul sat and we saw what the Thunder looked like without their best player and easily their MVP this season.

What we saw was a group of young players missing their veteran point guard MVP who without him would have been the No. 11 or No. 12 seed in the West.

Such a bizarre week for Oklahoma. Kobe passes. Both Oklahoma senators prove me right with their cowardice not even considering witnesses in the Trump impeachment trial. Then new Tea Party governor Kevin Stitt bans any state funded travel to the state of California.

So I’m just sitting here wondering in reality should Oklahoma even have an NBA franchise in the first place. I don’t write this like some goofball extremist, but rather I sit here wondering how it is a place like Oklahoma even has an NBA franchise in a league in which around 75% of the players are black and 70% of the state voted for a president who was endorsed by David Duke.

Hypocrisy much?

I don’t know. One week removed from Martin Luther King Day something has gone off in me which says this isn’t right. Even in diversity challenged Utah they have politicians like Mitt Romney and Mike Lee who have openly challenged the grifter racist Donald Trump.

But in Oklahoma with the exception of Kendra Horn and former OKC mayor Mick Cornett… not a whisper, not a word. Not a hint of even a thread of any moral outrage at what is transpiring in our country.


What would happen if owner Clay Bennett a Heritage Foundation Republican to the core came out in public and torched Donald Trump as any reasonable person should have done by this time? What would happen if he showed that type of courage to have his black players backs in a market dominated by the racist Tea Party mentality?

I wonder if the young black Canadians Shai Alexander and Lu Dort think this is awkward and makes no sense whatsoever. I can’t imagine at this point being black and from Canada or even California wanting to play in a city like Oklahoma City.

At some point somebody in this market needs to show some courage and in reality it needs to be Clay Bennett. You won’t lose the tax cuts and the two uber right Supreme Court justices, but you need to say something publicly.

Mitt Romney from Utah is going to vote to hear John Bolton later this week in the trial. My guess is five or six other Republicans could do so as well. We sure as hell know the two cowards James Lankford and Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma won’t be two of those—but somebody in Oklahoma beyond a first term congresswoman needs to step up. If for no other reason than to show the two young black Canadians what kind of city they’re playing in?

This ain’t no Toronto for sure, we know that, but even the Deep South had Atticus Finch. Please say something, anything…Clay Bennett.

The Phil Jackson-Kobe Relationship

It was a tumultuous relationship at times. Kobe the stubborn colt who refused to change in the beginning almost chased coach Phil Jackson off the Laker bench. The Kobe-Shaq thing was almost too much for the coach who would eventually win eleven NBA championships combined with Michael and Kobe.

Phil was a different coach. He wanted his players to be readers. He wanted them to meditate. He clearly equated winning with being a smart team and a clutch team. From a book I read on Phil he would give each player on his teams a book he specifically wanted that player to read and they would discuss the book in private as the season moved along.

At the ceremony I genuinely hope Phil speaks of what his relationship with Kobe taught him as far as life and his journey as a coach.

Kobe was not stupid. He didn’t buy in just to buy in. He was too prideful to walk that road.

I would love to hear Phil talk of this relationship when the emotion isn’t this raw.

Kobe Bryant: His Own Man

I was thinking about Kobe last night after my post on here until I fell asleep. What memory do I most want to take with me in regards to Kobe and his life?

And the conclusion I came to was Kobe was completely his own man. He wasn’t Michael, he wasn’t Magic, and he wasn’t Tiger.

He was just Kobe.

This crazy driven brash kid who navigated the multiple stages of manhood for all to see.

The most compelling part of Kobe’s story is how he grew as a man. We all witnessed it. He wasn’t easy to play with at times. He probably should have won seven rings truth be told. There were times when Phil Jackson could only shake his head and hit the reset button. But in the end…Kobe Bryant got it.

If you look around the landscape of contemporary sport my guess is Kobe’s legacy as a man will dwarf those of Michael, Magic, Kareem, Tom Brady, LeBron, and Tiger Woods ten years from now.

Here’s why…because through the bad which happened in Colorado to the present as we mourn his death…Kobe allowed all of us to be a part of his life and share his journey.

In the end we loved what we saw even though we don’t get to see the second half of the story.

But in our hearts… I think we know how it ended.

Kobe….Gone at 41

Like everyone else I’m stunned. The next phase of Kobe Bryant’s life was one I was looking forward to with keen interest. Not as a coach or a basketball exec, but more to the point… where Kobe would take his life and what goals he would pursue as a man.

From the basketball part of me … Kobe is clearly one of the best ten basketball players who has ever played the game. In twenty seasons– five NBA championships and eighteen All-Star selections.

Every part of his game was excellent. Like Michael, he not only scored, but he defended, rebounded, and made plays all over the court.

Kobe is in every basketball junkie’s Top Ten Pantheon. Period.

But as his career moved along his game wasn’t what endeared me to him….it was his smarts as a human and his desire to become a better person.

Of the four stars who have played for the Thunder…three of the four list Kobe as the most influential player in their youth. Westbrook, Harden, and Paul George, all California kids, cite Kobe as the basketball role model they aspired to be.

But for me, as a fan, it was what Kobe said off the court which made this even sadder for me today. Kobe went straight to the NBA from high school in Philadelphia and yet he turned out to be one of the most interesting athletes of my life-time.

He was a smart, intuitive guy. He could speak intelligently about politics, movies, sports, ….whatever. He was interesting. Never at a loss for an opinion.

It wouldn’t have surprised me a bit if Kobe one day had run for mayor of LA or maybe even considered a bid to become a senator from California. Lord knows—that great deliberative body (sarcasm) could use some new blood.

I watched him once do this movie review of the Quinton Tarantino movie Django and he just floored me. He had me wanting to listen to his other takes on the society we live in currently. He was a rare contemporary athlete who’s skills as a human ascended as his skills as an athlete went into decline.

Very sad and tragic. My prayers are with his wife and three surviving children.

Kobe wasn’t perfect, none of us are. But what we saw was a human with a heart who aspired to be something special beyond the lines of play as a man.

God bless, Kobe Bryant.

Canadian Lu Dort’s Road to Oklahoma City

For undrafted rookie guard Lu Dort the road to Oklahoma City started in Canada went through Arizona State and now the power hybrid guard finds himself in the starting lineup for the Thunder.

It’s kind of a magical story for a Thunder team which now stands 27-19 for the season while in reasonable pursuit of the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the West in a year in which they were supposed to be tanking.

Five games ago after a sluggish homestand in which the Thunder showed little effort on defense—Billy Donovan inserted Dort into the starting lineup after a brief stay in the G League. The Thunder haven’t lost in those five games and head into Monday evening with a home game against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavs.

Dort has shown unique physicality, smarts, and toughness on the court for a rookie. And with each game you can see parts of his offensive game growing with confidence. You can call Dort a hybrid guard or you can call him a small power forward or you can call him a small forward. His defensive flexibility is a key to his career moving forward.

In reality–Dort has Russell Westbrook’s body with the role player’s game Westbrook had in college at UCLA. Dort is the perfect compliment to the three headed guard set Billy Donovan implements with Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder.

I don’t know…you look at this team and every time they need someone to step up…someone steps up whether it be Lu Dort, Diallo, fellow rookie Darius Bazely, Nerlens Noel, or veteran Mike Muscala.

With the trade deadline getting closer everyone expects Danilo Gallinari to be traded in the coming days, but amazingly this team just keeps finding a way moving forward and winning games in the rugged West.

What makes it even more astounding this team is doing it on the road with a 13-10 road record to date on the season after starting 1-7 on the road. Stick that stat in your back pocket.

Thunder host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavs on Monday night. I would say this is the most consequential game of the season so far.

Does Character Still Matter in America?

I’m not sure it does. In fact, I would write for a significant number of Americans character doesn’t matter.

In truth this goes beyond impeaching Donald Trump even if you had the votes. I completely disdain everything about Donald Trump. There is not one part of him I admire or respect. But just getting rid of Donald Trump doesn’t in itself solve all of this.

It would be a starting point perhaps. A signal of hope that what made America great is still there begging to be exposed again. But just getting rid of Donald Trump in and of itself isn’t the only issue.

This starts with making sure we never lose sight of what a unique privilege it is to be an American. To be a part of the greatest experiment in human freedom the world has ever experienced.

To be part of the last standing barrier between freedom and fascism.

If not for America who do you think is watching guard? You Trumpers think it’s China, Russia, or a European Union which is in disarray? Good luck with that.

Is Donald Trump guilty?

Of course he is. All his lawyers have to do is call Donald Trump, Mick Mulvaney, and John Bolton to the stand if he’s innocent. Those three witnesses could by themselves put an end to this.

But Trump’s Dream Team can’t do this because the truth isn’t on their side and it would be legal malpractice if they did so. Trump would sue his Dream Team if they were stupid enough to do this.

In reality the American public is the jury since an election is nine months away. There is no voir dire in a real election. There are no challenges made to excuse jurors or no legal tactics to prevent one from voting.

It is that unique time in American democracy when we the people are the jury.

This trial of sorts is still clearly rigged. In a real trial at the minimum Mulvaney and Bolton would be called to testify.

This requires only four Republican senators vote to do as such.

Just four. If these two witnesses take the stand it won’t matter if the Senate convicts Donald Trump. It won’t matter because nine months from now I do think the American public would do such unless Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren are the Democratic nominee.

Each of us should hope in our own unique manner that character does still matter in American democracy.

But for it to matter we have to participate and vote in an intelligent way.

Frank Galvin.. closing argument from The Verdict.

Justice in our hearts. The fervent hope for justice in our hearts.