While the Game One results felt exhilarating, Game Two feels...good. It feels like something on which you can hang some confidence. Confidence is a wayfaring stranger though, so hopefully the Thunder will cling to it as they prepare to enter the Pepsi Den of Horrors.
Young felt the same way I did in the second half, willing the clock to move faster so the Thunder could escape with the win. He also notes that Daequan Cook got some 4th quarter minutes, which bore itself out well as Cook hit a big 3-pointer late in the game to keep the Nuggets at arm's length.
SB Nation's Nuggets site is still smarting from last night, but their analysis is still a quality read. And remember, it wouldn't take much for the momentum to shift and to see such wailing and gnashing of teeth on this site here.
At the Truehoop Nuggets blog, the writer paints a depressing (for them!) picture of how the Nuggets have backed themselves into a corner. He acknowledges that George Karl has been outcoached by Scott Brooks, which might be something we never would have considered even a month ago. I hate to say it for Nuggets fans, but Karl is not exactly renowned for staging comebacks in playoff series.
Rob Mahoney writes that the much-lauded Denver bench was all but neutralized by the balanced play of the Thunder bench. It is a good analysis, but as we who have been following the team know, this isn't some new revelation. When the Thunder went on their remarkable run to end the season, Kevin Durant's scoring average dropped. This was in part due to how the rest of the team was contributing more offensively. I'd take the Thunder bench against any team in the league.
More links after the jump.
Tramel finds soothing comfort in the likelihood of the Thunder winning the series at this point. Out of all the numbers he tosses out, this one is the most important to me - zero - as in the number of times since each team's makeover that the Nuggets have reached their season scoring average against the Thunder defense.
Well, well, well...hello there Mr. Hollinger. He is finally starting to come around on how the Thunder are playing, giving more credence to their positives than their negatives. He notes that most significantly, the Thunder haven't lost much if any of their offensive potency, but are now beating up on teams defensively.
One of the big attitude adjustments Kendrick Perkins brought to the Thunder was, when the team struggled in the interior, that they did not have to simply let it slide. That they could take ownership of it and do something about it. Perkins took ownership of his sub-par Game One play and then corrected it, limiting Kenyon Martin and Nene to only four made shots.
Mahoney (gosh, this guy is everywhere) writes that the Thunder were actually more offensively efficient last night, despite the sub-par games from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
This writer seems to be equally loathed by Nugget friend and foe alike, but I'm going to keep linking him because his hyperbole is so diabolical. He is convinced of Russell Westbrook's cockiness, and he will not rest until this reality bears itself out in its fullest sense.
Here is some more accolade for how well the Thunder bench played last night. They will continue to be essential in the series as the Nuggets will no doubt try to figure out how to prevent Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from scoring.
No Nugget player was able to truly elevate his game to overcome the talent discrepancy last night. Will the Thunder even let them?
Not Thunder-specific per se (although it gives credence to the idea that the youth coming into the league are more mature than their predecessors), but this is a really good look at the Lakers' center Andrew Bynum. It is easy to cheer for a team that wants to develop individuals like him. Of course, coming from a historic Laker-hater like me, you might ask how I can admire the players yet still dislike the team. I tell you...it takes years of practice.