Tonight will be a good opportunity for the Thunder to get the bitter taste out of their mouths after the frustrating loss to the Raptors on Sunday. The Jazz are in a state of upheaval, and the Thunder would do well to take advantage of their misery.
This accomplishment is no small thing. It is crucial for a playoff team to be able to put losses, even staggering losses, behind them. When you can only lose three games in a series, this type of ability is paramount to advancing.
The Grizzlies are currently clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot with 11 games remaining on their schedule. The Rockets are two games back and the Suns are three games back. While I think the Grizz will hold on to that seed, I think that losing Rudy Gay means that they're probably not going to be able to leapfrog the Trail Blazers, Hornets, AND Nuggets to get their ideal 1st round match-up against the Thunder. It's a pity too; while I'd hate to see the Thunder have to deal with a team that swept them this year while playing short-handed, I do love watching the Grizzlies go after teams.
The Thunder organization, the University of Oklahoma, and other dignitaries will be honoring the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team tonight during the Thunder Jazz game.
More links after the jump.
I fear that Nash's contribution to the game will not be fully appreciated until he is done playing. Fortunately for us, the Suns fanbase does its best to keep his flame vibrant, and a comparison across the board reminds us of his high level of play despite his team's deficiencies.
Here is a good look at the teams who have used the tournament as a gauge for future success of young players, and how those decisions have played out. Not surprisingly, it is hit or miss. Just like the NCAA tournament.
Here is a good analysis on how the big man position has changed over the course of the last decade in the NBA. The league has not seen a dominant center win the championship since skinny-Shaq was terrorizing the league. Even so, I think championship teams still need to have a center who is competent, if not dominant. The Lakers' use of Andrew Bynum and the Celtics' play with Kendrick Perkins bears this out.
As Scott Brooks said, the most important number is one.
You know how when you're watching the Chevy Chase "Vacation" movies and Cousin Eddie comes on the screen, how you think to yourself, "he's hilarious, but if he were my own uncle, I think I'd feel really uncomfortable and quite creeped out." That's kind of how I feel about watching Scottie Pippen liquidate his assets because he has to be so far in the red financially that he considers selling a used copy of "The Pianist" to be a step in the right direction.
If you've watched any Thunder home games this season, you will appreciate this satire even more.