The Thunder are back at home tonight to take on the Charlotte Bobcats. It is a classic letdown type of game after the big win against the Heat on Wednesday. However, I think the results will still be positive because a) the Bobcats are not a team that can currently blow opponents off the court with superior offensive play, and b) Loud City will help the Thunder weather any storms that might come their way. The key will be first half defense - if the Thunder can separate themselves early on with their burgeoning defensive intensity, the rest of the game should progress relatively easily.
Also keep in mind that tonight, Kendrick Perkins makes his home debut in OKC. Do you think the fans will make him feel welcome?
I only have this one year of evidence to go on, but I'd probably agree with Tramel. Given the implications of the game, along with how Durant played on both ends of the court, it is challenging to come up with a better entry. More importantly, it was the kind of performance that an elite NBA player submits for his resume - the kind that demonstrates that Durant did whatever was necessary to win.
Young re-examines the pivotal 4th quarter against the Heat and gives a good analysis as to how the Thunder stemmed every surge put forth by Miami. He paid particular attention to the Dwyane Wade freak-out, which was doubly painful for the Heat because it allowed the Thunder to swing the ball back and set up James Harden for the dagger 3-pointer. As an aside, I love how Harden wants to be the guy to take that kind of shot.
Here is further credence to the role that Perkins plays for a team, and why his contribution isn't quantifiable. He is sort of like the defensive tackle in football, who takes the blockers so the defensive ends can roam free. Says Serge Ibaka:
"I just need to play off him. He's just a good, good defensive player. When he (holds) down his guy, it's easy for me to come block every shot."
May rehashes much of what we had already heard regarding Perkins' emotional state following the trade. New to the fold though is how apparently Celtics coach Doc Rivers fought to keep the trade from happening. Also, as May states, a lot of fans were not happy with the trade, and I think that resonates deeply with players. In fact, as we can attest to here on WTLC, a lot of those fans have followed him to OKC and adopted the Thunder as their Western conference team. (they also all hate the Lakers, so there is that, too)
More links after the jump.
Jason Whitlock makes it through an entire article without referencing The Wire. I'm actually sad about that.
This story cracks me up because once again it exemplifies the character of KD. He was hoping to get "200 to 300" people to join his pool, and instead the pool now has over 5,000. "Golly gee!" is what I'm sure Kevin uttered.
Here is an interesting distinction between the Perkins trade and the Carmelo Anthony trade - with Perkins coming into the fold, the Thunder did not have to change anything that they were already trying to do. In fact, it just made what they were trying to do that much easier. With 'Melo though, the Knicks had to retrofit everything to his own game. I think this is a big reason why they are not tearing it up like the Thunder are now.
I know that it is fun to pick on Chris Bosh, but the truth is, he is one of the more likable guys in the league and the animosity is more due to the fact that he was the proverbial paramour in The Decision saga. He is quite well spoken, gives real answers instead of platitudes, and I think he's dead right about Kobe.
All that said, here is Chris Bosh granting an interview to Elle Magazine. So yeah, I like Bosh, but I'm not easing up on the guy.
Rohde gives note to a staggering reality that if the Thunder continue to maintain their current performance level, they could finish the month of March with a record that could challenge the #2 seed. Of course, the challenge in it all is to NOT think about everything that could happen, but to focus on each opponent as a worthy challenge.