The Thunder regained their footing last night, playing a controlled game against the home town Suns. The Suns cannot be overlooked, as they were playing their best ball of the season in striving to catch the 8th seed and head to the playoffs. The Thunder needed a game like this, where their defense was working and their offense regained a bit of potency. While it is still worrisome to see only three guys account for so much of the offense, it is still better than two guys accounting for most of the offense.
Rhode liked the late game statement that Scott Brooks made toward Russell Westbrook. It underscored one of the more subtle errors that OKC tends to make - sometimes they get really lazy with their in-bounds passes.
Young notes that the Thunder defense continues to both impress and frustrate us. It is amazing that a defense that can be so good can yet be so bad at times.
It was a bit of a home coming of sorts for Arizona State player James Harden. In what could be a potential 1st round preview, the absence of Grant Hill and his tenacious D was too much for Phoenix to overcome.
I suppose it's a good thing the Suns have the best medical staff in the league. Get those cryogenic deep freezers up and running, stat.
In light of last night's game, this needs some further investigation:
It’s striking how limited the Thunder appear to be in crunch time. Across the regular season they’ve been a three-headed best offensively, but with the game on the line James Harden takes 9.4 fewer shots per 40 minutes. Most of those shots are gobbled up by Kevin Durant, but Russell Westbrook also shoots more often in close games. Combined those two players average an extra 11.5 possessions used per 40 minutes.
That might be the most fun thing I've written all week.
Here is one more reason that social media will own us all. Even so, pretty brilliant.
We might remember the Nets' Gerald Green for putting up one of the best three or four dunks of the season, but this good post delves much deeper into the path Green has had to take in order to overcome early setbacks in his career and life.
The Nets are about to say goodbye to the state of New Jersey, and perhaps an end to one of the most moribund runs of a pro franchise in NBA history.
Even so, Dwyane Wade pulls off the LL Cool J look pretty well.