Ah, the sweet smell of a blowout. We can rest easy, at least for a few days while we halt the regular season activities to enjoy the All-Star weekend festivities.
The players talk about the energy that they brought early on in the game. As noted in our recap, they put the Kings on notice when Westbrook drove to the rim and dunked on their first possession of the game. Yes, it is true that the Kings are a bad team and were missing their best player, so the game was ripe for a Thunder rout. However, the team still had to bring the energy. That opening sequence was Westbrook essentially saying, "mine."
Young provides the only time you're ever going to read the phrase, "The full Nenad arsenal," but he was right, and there you go. More importantly, the Thunder bench was as good as any bench play you'll see this year. They really play well as a cohesive unit, and Jeff Green and James Harden looked incredibly relaxed just relying on their talent instead of trying to figure out what the "right" thing to do was all the time.
Mayberry writes that Russell Westbrook was the real key to the game last night, and I would agree. He had not been having a very good week, and he openly admitted that he wasn't getting the job done in leading the team. He responded with a commanding game where he only took eight shots. Instead, he controlled his tempo and worked hard to get people involved. The biggest recipient was Jeff Green, and that might be one of those hidden keys to Thunder success. Durant can fend for himself; but if Westbrook can work to get Green involved early, it changes everything.
A Canadian lament on the congregation of superstars in a select few locations. In other words, they're sad Chris Bosh left. I sympathize, but honestly, this is how it has always been.
More links after the jump.
The D-League has its own version of All-Star weekend, and it kicks off Friday with a skills competition. It also takes place in LA, so if you're in town for the festivities, you might want to check it out. You're not going to see a star of tomorrow, but there is a chance there will be players there that you will one day cheer for lovingly.
Apparently Kevin Durant worked to get the team ready for their game against the Kings, and then he went out and shot 5-18. He actually dropped the team's collective shooting percentage by five percentage points. Good thing Daequan Cook was there to pick up his slack.
Can this weekend serve as notice to both players and owners that what we've got going on this year is a phenomenal renaissance of collectively wonderful basketball, and that it would be akin to shooting a puppy to have a labor stoppage now? No, probably not.
The Tulsa 66ers are currently 4th in the rankings. They had a surge earlier in the season, but as of late have dropped their last four of five. A bright spot has been D.J. Mullens, who is averaging just under 18 in the team's last five.
Props to this guy, who I'm guessing is either from Memphis or really dislikes Memphis. All Williams, all the time.