A bit of a dead day today, as the last of the pre-All-Star games wrapped up last night. They were two more submissions as to why this season has been a memorable one. You had three legitimate contenders on display (Spurs, Bulls, Mavericks, plus one plucky team (Suns) that despite all odds and the presence of Vince Carter may still land an 8th seed. Incredible stuff.
A look at the remaining games on the Thunder's regular season schedule - 14 home, 14 away. If we look ahead, the Thunder have a tough three game stretch right after this weekend - San Antonio/Orlando/Lakers. After that, there aren't too many bumps in the road until the very last month of the season, when the Thunder will get the Nuggets twice, the Clippers, and the Lakers all within a seven day span. That juncture could be extremely critical, as Denver will still likely be on the fringe of the playoffs and the Lakers will be trying to hold off the Thunder for that #3 playoff seed.
Here's a fun one about some of the great nicknames of all time. I think I'm fully on the record of how I feel about "Darantula." I also have similar distaste for "Black Mamba," because it is simply against the rules for a guy in his 30's to suddenly assign himself a nickname. We all saw how "T-Bone!" worked out. On the other hand, it does enable me to apply "White Mamba," and that is just a gift that keeps on giving. This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.
As for my favorite, well, it's tough to beat a nickname that spawned an entire clothing industry.
With Tyreke Evans injured, the NBA has selected James Harden to participate in this year's Rookie Challenge, playing for the sophomore squad. He joins Serge Ibaka, who will also be playing for the 2nd year pros. By my count, that makes four Thunder players who will be participating in this year's festivities.
An outsider's look on how Russell Westbrook's game and impact have emerged. One interesting tidbit in the story is a comment on how he was a great defender in college. I don't know how he was last season, but this season he seems to have fallen apart a bit in his defensive disciplines. He does play ferociously though, and so I believe that once he starts taking defense personally, he's really going to morph into something dangerous on both ends of the court.
This should be simply delightful, delicious, and de-lovely. If they can make one about Spider-man, then this one is perfectly within the realm of possibility.
More links after the jump.
Russell Westbrook will be joining John Wall, Stephen Curry, and Derrick Rose to take on skills legend Chris Paul. Westbrook is hyper-competitive and he is going to try to do everything he can to prove he belongs in all of these showcases.
Thunder D-League team the Tulsa 66ers are first in their division, despite a recent skid. The better they do, the better everyone does. It honestly makes me happy any time I read about success in the D-League.
Ibaka's participation in the slam dunk competition has people intrigued. Here comes Air Congo. It would be so sweet if Dikembe Mutombo is in attendance, if only to see his face after Serge's attempts.
Westbrook offers his latest diary entry regarding All-Star weekend. It is fitting that he spends most of it talking about how excited he is talking about Serge Ibaka.
Pretty cool medical breakthroughs going on all the time; this one seems reminiscent of the infamous "Tommy John Surgery" where often players come back stronger than before the injury. Maybe the sci-fi concepts in the movie "The Island" are closer than we think (which would be awesome, because it means everyone gets their own Ewan McGregor/Scarlett Johannson clone as per their personal preference. Good times for all).
Something is afoot, methinks.
A story that plays the numbers game. It's a nice little reference to various aspects of the weekend's history.
It's true; four out of the five teams have already won 30 games this year and have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. If Minnesota ever figures out how to win games consistently, it isn't unthinkable that they could go 5 for 5.
When I first saw this headline, I automatically thought that Kevin was endorsing awesome sandwiches. Alas, no. Panini is a trading card company. Still, good hustle.