If you watched any of the games last night, you were treated to teams playing dominant performances against their competition. The Bulls were finally able to close out the Pacers, winning by 27, which incidentally is one game following their upset loss in Game Four where Derrick Rose played poorly. Losses happen to the best of teams, but what is important is to see how the team responds. Tonight, just like the Bulls and Rose, the Thunder and Russell Westbrook get that same opportunity.
In Game Four, sideline reporter Pam Oliver reportedly caught Kevin Durant and Westbrook in a "heated exchange." If you're a Thunder fan and were concerned, or a Nuggets fan and excited, this story should put those passions to rest.
Pelton, focusing on last night's games, underscores a major element of how we perceive these series. The truth is, there isn't much difference in talent between the first and eighth seeds, and so you have to treat each game in its own context as well as the entirety of a series.
Bill Simmons wrote a great piece yesterday about the bad situation the Kings are in. SB Nation's Tom Ziller chimes in on it as well. The part I liked the most, even as an aside, is the fact that Commissioner Stern will let a franchise operate in reprehensible ways (see: Donald Sterling) but only gets upset if somebody dares to criticize the officiating.
Tramel argues that despite the poor game by Westbrook, the coaching staff shouldn't do anything in how they direct Westbrook.
More links after the jump.
I don't know if Kiszla received a heavy doze of electroshock therapy, but this post, reflecting on the OKC community, quite complimentary.
This site continues its conference-by-conference analysis, examining what each team is doing well and poorly. The writer notes well that the Thunder have been extremely foul-prone this series. It is good to have a deep bench, but those needless fouls also give up free points.
The first round has born out a few good examples as to why the playoffs are so different from the regular season.
Mayberry gets a few questions in with the creator of the PER, ESPN's John Hollinger. He provides some insight as to how he watches the game and why he created a new system of measurement.
Ty Lason was the biggest reason why the Nuggets won on Monday, and he is the biggest cause for concern for the Thunder defense. They must keep him from getting to the rim so easily.
Pelton unveils his 2011 awards for NBA players, as voted on by fans of the site.
Eric Freeman writes:
the most impressive aspect of Artest's work has been his complete lack of shame in discussing his past mental health issues. Often, the biggest problem related to this issue is an inability or unwillingness to reach out to others for help. By acting as such a tireless advocate for this cause, he's proving that you can be honest and forthcoming about past and current mental health needs without embarrassing yourself.