Game 2 commences this evening, and pressure mounts on the Thunder to maintain their home court advantage. Game 1 was close, despite what the final score indicated, and a few ideal or errant adjustments from either side could have easily tipped the scales in the other direction.
Here is some great stuff regarding player interviews in between games. LeBron & Westbrook get into it over who started the dorky glasses trend, and Durant explains how he views his role in the offense. The thing that rankled me the most though was Dwyane Wade's commentary. I did love though how Derek Fisher had a perfect answer for Chris Bosh's contention that OKC's crowd is 'average.'
The crown is heavy, especially when it is hand-crafted.
Simmons takes a closer look at what makes the Thunder organization so unique in the NBA. People (us included) have written ad nauseum about the 'Thunder model' and whether it can be replicated, but how about this as some food for thought. What if the Thunder model goes way beyond the basketball court, but encompasses the OKC demographic as well?
Lowe has been writing on this topic for the entire playoffs - the Thunder offense is not only performing at historic levels, but actually jumps higher and higher as the game goes along. What I have found in watching them though is that their offense is a direct byproduct of their defensive intensity. The more they concentrate on their defense, the better their offense becomes.
Pruiti analyzes the Heat defense from Game 1 and argues that the thing that was working well in the 1st half- Miami's high trapping staple, disappeared in the 2nd half. To be sure, OKC knows how to exploit that aggressive trap, but the secret does take the ball out of Durant & Westbrook's hands. OKC's bigs need to be ready to step up when the opportunities come.
Coach Nick takes a look at the Heat struggles from game 1. He raises the question as to why Chris Bosh isn't being used more out of the post instead of the perimeter. While I haven't been watching a ton of Heat games this season, I believe that this shift was by design - the Heat turned their offense inside out by posting LeBron and using Bosh on the perimeter. Can they revert it mid-stream?
Dwork argues that the Heat made a mistake of using LeBron James in too many switch situations on defense. Instead, his job should be to guard Durant at all times. I am inclined to agree, which puts even more pressure on Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
We've had the opportunity to watch the shimmy-shake hundreds of times each season, but what does it all mean?
Spencer Hall writes a great piece that looks at how the "narrative" often unfolds in the media. I swear, this post is like an inner-road map to Skip Bayless' psyche.
Actually, it's kind of the opposite. Although I have to say Brooks' choice of automobiles is a little less surprising than the revelation that then-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy used to drive around in a 5 year old Honda Civic.
Jim Rome tried to get cute with David Stern over the NBA's draft lottery. It is also cute when people think they have some leverage over Stern that they try to exert.
What happens when you apply advanced metrics to the 1992 original Dream Team? You can probably guess.
Kind of pathetic, honestly. But hey, what are you gonna do?
Where Nazr Mohammed pokes fun at the NCAA, always a good target for ridicule.