Happy New Year

Just a great week for me personally. Friday morning was my last visit of the year at the Integris Cancer Center. It boggles my mind it was a short nine months ago Dr. Showalter closed the door and told me I had two months to live. Told me to get my affairs in order.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I did excatly what he told me to do and gave it my best shot….and got my affiars in order.

I worked hard and put faith in God’s hands.

This was a journey. But in reality it has made me a better person with a more giving heart and a broader sense of human empathy.

My blood lab tests on Friday were just about perfect. I feel like I’m about twenty-eight years old again.

I was given a brand new pair of state of the art terrain hiking poles for Christmas by my wife. Another game changer. The poles Dorthy gave me are now in a corner. The state of the art walker is now used only as a food transporter for food from the kitchen to the living room.

Sundays are now my hiking days when I take on a new challenge each week just nudging the bar a little further each time.

I’m doing a two and a half mile walk today Pauli and I used to do together along the walking paths out here at the Deer Creek ranch.

Tomorrow I’ll idle back a little and do one mile cool down stroll at this great park in Prague, Oklahoma.

In January… I plan on taking hikes around both Lake Fayetteville and Lake Sequoyah.

The latter being a seven mile jaunt.

I fell so blessed. So fortunate.

Have a wonderful 2024. I know I plan on doing so.


Thunder Return to Relevance Podcast

Myself…and my executive producer here at okcthunderground.com have finally come to terms with the soon to be Thunder Return to Relrvance podcast.

Firstly…I put my tail between my legs and agreed to not hacev the Warriors in the name of the podcat itself because TCullpepper is an even bigger homer than Michael Cage or Little Nick Gallo.

In return…I will cover the Thunder for 40% of my NBA content on here and go 30% to my Warriors, 20% to my Nuggets, and 10 % to Austin Reaves.

We also agreed on the type of music content we want leading in to the podcast itself. So there’s all that.

So now we just need to get to work with what will surely be a podcast worthy of an Emmy or Osacr in the podcast world.



Jalen Williams Drops 36 on the NY Knicks

I didn’t watch the entire game because I don’t view the NY Knicks as a legit contender, and right now on my blog I’m primarily interested in covering Thunder games when the opposition is a Top 12 team in the league.

But still.

Over a month ago on here or so…I posted a piece entitled J-Dub Is A Dude and since then nothing has diminished that view.

This kid is not only a baller, but he’s bright and has the overall body type to defend all five positions on the floor.

Sam Presti hit gold using a 12th pick to garner Jalen Williams. Absolute gold.

If I did a Power Poll on the entire league right now…I’d probably have the Thunder at No. 5 falling in behind…. 1 Denver, 2 Philly, 3 Boston, 4 Milwaukee, and then the Thunder.

In the West…moving beyond the Western Conference Top Ten Poll I did last week….as of this moment…I’d go 1 Denver, 2 Thunder, 3 Minnesota, and maybe at No. 4 the Sacramento Kings.

A week before the season started I wrote on this blog, “The Thunder’s primary goal this season is to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves for second place in the Northwest Division.” I wrote that. Pretty good, right.

I’m still sticking with that paragraph, but little did I think at that time Denver and the OKC Thunder could conceivably be the two best teams in the West. Now…I’m considering that possibity.

Back when OKC nudged the defending champs Nuggets 118-117 with KCP as a DNP scratch, the Thunder’s eternal homer beyond Little Nick Gallo, that being Michael Cage…gushed, ” This is not only a huge win for the Thunder, but a seismic shift for the NBA as a league.”

I kind of rolled my eyes and muttered, “F–k… is this guy on drugs every game?”

But you know what…on this one I have to give Michael Cage a little fist pump. The West is going through a seismic process with OKC, Minnesota, Sacramento, Houston, and New Orleans ascending while at the same time as LeBron, Steph, and KD are getting old.

Kind of like when Kobe, Timmy, and Dirk all got old in the 2012-13 season.

So is this achanging of the guard, but with the Denver Nuggets in place as the defending champs? Maybe.

Who would have thought…that for the first time in three years the Thunder are going to be a team I can write about on my little blog.

Have a great Thursday.


Thunder Go Small in Rout of Timberwolves, 129-106

With the exception of the lollipops Little Nick Gallo lobs up through every Thunder presser…I love listening to this group of Thunder players. This Thunder group one through the two way players playing in the G League… all strike me as very smart dudes with Basketball IQs off the charts.

These dudes are basketball precocious …just lay it on the line with them and I think they on their own would be miles better than anything coming from the OKC sports media group.

Ask questions beyond the obvious box score drivel. Please.

So that’s enough of that.

A great game by the Thunder as they routed the ‘current’ No. 1 seed in the West by a score of 129-106.

Let me get my box score drivel out of the way…. the Thunder shot 60% from the field, made 18 threes, had a season high 35 assists, created 24 turnovers, and scored from the perimeter, in transition, and in the paint whenever they wanted against a Minnesota team which ranked No. 1 defensively in the league coming into Monday night at the PayCom Arena.

You usually win games when you do they things like that in a basketball game.

Shai played like the guy I currently have at No. 2 on my fake ESPN vote sheet for regular season MVP. At No. 1… I have Joel Embiid, at No. 3… I have D-Fox, and at No. 4…. I have Anthony Edwards.

I know I don’t have a Denver Nugget on the list yet. We’ll see when I start seeing Jokic and Jamal bringing their lunchpails in March.

The Young Guns in the West is where it’s gonna be at this season for NBA junkies like myself.

Coach D, who I refuse to call Coach Mark on my adult blog, was my No. 3 star of the game, Kenrich Williams was my No. 2 star of the game….and Lu Dort was my No. 1 star of the game.

Why? Because defense wins ‘ships. And Coach D did a brilliant thing…he went small with Kenrich playing the five and basically took both Karl Anthony-Townes and Rudy Gobert ot of the lane defensively. It was like Rocky trying to chase down chickens.

And when the T-Wolves had the ball…the Thunder defense collapsed beautifully with off the ball help evert time KAT or Anthony Edwards got into the paint.

Absolutely perfect. As in picture.

Coach D can bench coach. Not a doubt in my mind. I loved what he did in the 118-117 win at Denver. What he basically at the 9:32 mark with his Thunder down by eight points…was sit Josh Giddey or the remainder of the game. That’s what he did and I red circled that on my fake ESPN notepad to use at a later time. Which I just did.

Great win for the Thunder. No time to feel entitled as the dangerous at times NY Knicks visit PayCom Arena.

Winter has arrived in Oklahoma. But for the first winter in three years…I actually have a Thunder team I can write about on my underground blog.

Stay warm.


My Seven Favorite NBA Teams Coming Out of Christmas

Of course, last season in the play-in tournament, the Timberwolves just absolutely beat down the Thunder by an almost thirty point margin. And of course, the TWolves were without two of their most valuable defensive role players in Naz Reid and Jaden McDaniels or it prolly would have been worse.

But of course…the Thunder were without Chet and Cason Wallace. So tonight…. I have this game as one of my NBA must see games this week to cover here on the most quality content Thunder blog on the Oklahoma scene.

This game should tell us much about the Thunder and just how good the TWolves either are or aren’t. That was not a syntax smooth sentence I admit, but what the hell.

Vegas has the Thunder favored at -2.5 which is interesting since the Thunder crowds in my view have been enemic at best considering David Holt just got a classic OPM (other people’s money) bond passed by a seventy percent margin.

Where are all the Trump rabble who voted yes on this? They certainly haven’t been in Loud City.

If this game isn’t sold out tonight…I’m genuinely and openly challenging the basketball smarts of Thunder Nation as a whole.

Support your team, for God’s sake.

Which brings me to my top seven favorite NBA teams I’ve enjoyed watching so far this season coming out of the Christmas Day games:

1 Warriors…without Draymond.

2 Denver Nuggets when they have their top five players available (especially KCP… who was a DNP in the recent loss to the Thunder).

3 LA Lakers …with LeBron, Austin, and AD. Rob Pelinka needs to add another player.

4 Minnesota TWoves…the most intriguing team in the league so far this season.

5 OKC Thunder…the most exciting new young team this season. I don’t hate the Thunder at all. I just came to the realization what the OKC ownership group is and isn’t…and quite frankly, I don’t hang with teams who due to ownership or donors support weakness have no chance of ever winning a ‘ship. If that makes me a bandbagon fan…then so be it.

6 Philly Sixers…my fav team as a kid growing up in OKC. Nick Nurse is my favorite current NBA coach minus Steve Kerr…so the Sixers make my list.

7 Miami Heat…the Heat ooze Toughness, Smarts, Nasty, Snarl, and Character. There will be always be a part of my basketball heart saved for Erik Spoelstra.

  • Note…I recently added the C to my industry unique metric of TSNSC after watching the Draymond Green shit show the first quarter of this season.

Get out and support the Thunder you OKC fans. Your young team needs you.


Christmas Wrap-Up

I AM WHIPPED. But what a great Christmas! The Warriors-Denver game was the icing on the cake of a very special Christmas for me. I’m heading to bed before this Niner-Raven game even kicks off.

We had a great meal of BBQ catered from Earl’s at my Mom’s and I probably had a little more wine than Dr. Showalter would be happy with…but WTF…sometimes you just have to flow with the moment and let it go.

The Warriors vs. Nuggets game was superb. Like a second round playoff game. Steph had an off shooting night, otherwise I think America’s team would have extended ‘our’ winning streak to six games.

But in defeat…you always look for the positive. Andrew Wiggins for the first time in quite a while played with something resembling a pulse. The youngsters….Johhny K, Brandon, TJD, and Moses continued to shine.

I’m at this point I’m not even concerned if Draymond plays again this season. The NBA and Adam Silver’s Christmas elves should take as long as it takes to find out what exactly made Draymond crazy and then treat that mental ailment accordingly.

I wore my fake ESPN media pullover and my 2023 Denver NBA Championship hat today as I cheered wildly for the Warriors.

My exexcutive producer here at okcthunderground.com, TCullpepper…. was hissing “Traitor” at me at me at several juctures in the game. I think the podcast might be in jeopardy. But it is what it is.

When I see the ownership in Oklahoma City with a willingness to keep the three dudes…maybe I’ll have a change of heart.

I love the AAA OKC Dodgers, but the OKC Dodgers didn’t demand for a billion dollar arena to facilitate a developmental operation.

In know what Sam Presti always says…”Scared money don’t make money.”

Well…I would say to Sam Presti and Thunder loyalists…show me you learned something from the Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden era.

Show me you’re committed to seriously contending for an NBA championship in Oklahoma City.

Enough of that.

Have a beautiful last week of 2023.

Yeah… I watched Sleepless in Seattle again last night.


Merry Christmas!!!

I made it!!

And I’m feeling great. Probably had a little too much Pinot Noir last night to suit Dr. Showalter, but you know…it’s Christmas and I’ll just take this on my own terms.

I think I set my own personal record for karaoke last night and wish I could have videoed it for posterity.

Anyway…I’m getting mentally prepared for the Christmas family dinner and the the Warriors vs. Nuggets Christmas Game of the Day on ABC.

Since we were having such balmy weather in Oklahoma before today’s frigid wind chills…I forgot to honor my blog with the annual passage of the Winter Soltice with one of my favorite Steve Miller songs. So there’s that as well.

I think through the course of the day…here and there.. I’ll add songs as I feel.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones.


Christmas Eve Final Four

I’m am totally chilled. In a complete state of Christmas Eve nirvana. I watched three NBA games yesterday and all three of my teams won when the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers all won somewhat easily.

No hoops for me today.

I’ll watch both the Warriors play the Nuggets and then the Celtics play LA Lakers tomorrow.

But no basketball blogging for me during the Christmas break.

Although I’m somewhat watching the Detroit Lions on the cusp of claiming their first divisional title since 1994. Good for them.

I also watched a somewhat dark movie last night on Netflix titled Maestro starring Bradley Cooper. I had no idea Leonard Berbstein was such a troubled dude. We can only hope Drayond’s inner demons aren’t as severe as Leonard Bernstein. Very dark.

Enough of that. Despite Dr. Showalter’s somewhat vague instructions about alcohol….I’m going to now drink a glass of Pinot Noir and select my four favorite Christmas songs of all-time, maybe a fifth if the wine and chemo don’t react badly.

Have a superb Christmas and treasure every moment.

1 Twelve Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser

2 Nat King Cole -The Christmas Song

3 Love is Around You–Billy Mack

4 Neil Diamond-Little Drummer Boy

Peace on Earth.


After Dark Christmas

It’s time to get serious with the Christmas music. Perfect day. Sixty-two degrees out here at the Deer Creek mini ranchon Friday. Had my shirt off. Warriors won their fourth in a row without Count Draymond. Johnny K and Trace Jackson-Davis are trending beautifully. Take a month off Draymond and continue soaking your head.

Portland at the Chase Center for a home back to back. While my boy Austin Reaves is in town for a game.

What a great Christmas present.

Peace on earth.


My Christmas Western Conference Power Poll

We’re about thirty games in give or take a few on each team. It’s time for my first Western Conference Power Poll of the season.I have to admit…I did fall helplessly in love with the Warriors during the Thunder’s draconian tanking…so being the good guy I am–I’m still at this point hoping for the Warriors to somehow slide into a playoff spot.

I know, I know…Draymond appears to be acting as an undercover spy for the rest of the conference and Andrew Wiggins is playing like he’s half dead…but I fell in love with the Warriors in Game 6 in 2016 and will value the respect I have for Steph, Klay, and Coach Kerr to the end of this season.

I wonder in retrospect if the Warriors had kept Jordan Poole and just allowed Draymond to become Pat Bev’s podcast soulmate on a full-time basis if the win total would be all that different. But as you’ll see on my poll…I think the poll itself is pretty objective given you would think at the end Steph can beat anything the Rockets and Pels will put on the floor.

Plus…I like seeing Johnny K, Brandon P, Moses, and TJD playing key minutes.

So…my first poll.

1 Denver Nuggets–The Nugs miss Bruce Brown for certain. but still in my view the class of the West. Plus, I have an official Nugs Championship ball cap that I now parade around in a the OKC Health Wellness Center.

2 Minnesota Timberwolves–I remember when the Daily Thunder’s power child Justin told me Anthony Edwards would be a bust. Sigh.

3 Sacramento–I actually have the Kings and Thunder in a tie for third, but it was the Kings who did in fact go through that classic seven game series with the Warriors last season. So one would think they accrued some post season acumen from that experience.

4 OKC Thunder–The Thunder have three dudes who are probably going to be super max players and seven mini dudes who are going to be coveted by other GMs throughout the league. I don’t know how long Sam Presti holds this group together, but if I were him I’d wouldn’t make a crazy trade, but I would make Isaiah Joe my fifth starter and make Josh Giddey my Sixth Man.

5 Dallas Mavericks–Kyrie Irving is on this team, right? If I were a GM this is like holding the future rights to Draymond Green or hedging Kawhi Leonard isn’t hurt again come the playoffs. To me, Draymond, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving are like top heavy investments in a crypto fund. I will pass on all three.

6 Phoenix Suns–Devin Booker is great, but can he carry the brittle bodies of KD and Bradley Beal deep beyond April? Call me jaded and cynical, but as with the crypto funds I’m passing on the Suns for now as well.

7 LA Clippers–Without Kawhi…this group is about an eight seed or so battling with the Warriors to get into the playoffs. As Kawhi’s health goes…the Clippers will go. I wonder if cash happy Steve Ballmer would take Draymond at the deadline and send back Terrance Mann and Norman Powell?

8 LA Lakers–LeBron will play how many games is the question? Will he play in OKC on Saturday night? I love Austin Reaves like a favorite nephew…but Austin as the third best best player…I dunno.

9 New Orleans Pelicans– This team has some nice pieces, but until I see Zion get his fat ass in shape and take care of himself…I can’t rank this team any higher.

10 Golden State Warriors–This could be a stretch. Depends on what happens between now and the trade deadline. Houston itself has three young dudes with a passionate coach finally in place. This will probably go down to the last game of the season for my Warriors.

11 Houston Rockets–The Rockets have three dudes of their own in Green Sengun, and Jabari Smith. Don’t sleep on the Rockets.

12 Memphis Grizzlies–The Grizz have already won two straight with the new Ja steering the ship. This team with Ja is just goofy enough to reel off thirteen in row or so and climb back into relevance. If the Memphis front office can keep Ja out of the strip bars with his guns…this could be a sleeper pick.

13 Utah Jazz–They suck and should be in all out tank mode soon if not already.

14 Portland Trailblazers– Ditto the Utah Jazz.

15 San Antonio Spurs–Ditto… and Wemby should not even be mentiobed with Chet for Rookie of the year.

That’s it for me and my first Power Poll of the season. Have a wonderful Friday and take in the almost Christmas air.

Peace to all.