As Bill the Butcher might say, the Thunder received a righteous beating last night at the hands of the new-look Clippers. As a fan of the Thunder, it smarts. As a fan of the NBA, it's pretty cool to watch Chris Paul healthy, engaged, and working his magic once again.
Rohde writes that the Thunder stunk it up last night. Honestly, I would disagree with that notion. They were playing against a team that was performing at a much higher level than they were to be sure, but aside from the bad defensive 1st quarter and the Clippers flourish at the end of the 2nd, there was quite a bit that was all right with how the Thunder battled. It wasn't like the Wizards loss when OKC was just lazy on both ends of the court.
Young notes that with James Harden in the lineup, the bench was not nearly as productive as it needed to be. Compounding the problem was that even in the starting role, James Harden's production fell way off too.
Russell Westbrook is a passionate and hard-working man, and his play is a manifestation of both. He is getting a crash course in a school of life that took guys like Kobe Bryant years to figure out - it doesn't matter what they think of you.
Ziller reminds us that there are a lot of dogs out on this hunt. A loss to the Clippers is one thing, but let's hope we don't see any more Wizards-like efforts.
Dwyer writes a great post about the other side of the Blake Griffin poster-dunk on Kendrick Perkins. In a league that is now more prone to flopping than challenging shots, Perkins stood tall and proud and took his medicine.
SB Nation's own Bomani Jones squares off with Bethlehem Shoals over whether the Thunder are ready to take the next big step.
Pay attention to Chuck Hayes.
The Celtics championship window is just about closed, and it is a referendum on how brief the opportunities are to compete at the highest levels.