The Thunder hit their first spot of adversity with a three game losing streak wrapped around the All-Star break. They were able to come out of that funk in impressive fashion past weekend. As March grows closer this is crunch time for the Thunder and their quest to get the top seed in the Western Conference. We start this week of Beyond The Arc where we start every week.
Buffy Summers Award (Team MVP) - Russell Westbrook
RW snags back to back honors in the team MVP race. He has averaged 29.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 6.6 assists in the three games since the All-Star break and went 20-21 from the line. I love how well both Kevin Durant and Westbrook shot from the line. It is an underrated and valuable part of their games with them averaging 9.3 and 6.9 free attempts per game respectively. It is the little things like being a really good free throw shooting team that separates the good teams from the great teams.
Tom Haverford Award (Best Supporting Player) - Thabo Sefolosha
Another consecutive week winner here in Thabo. He keeps giving the Thunder what they need from him. He is knocking down threes, playing some good defense (except for that whole James Harden thing) and not turning the ball over. I tend to get most frustrated with Thabo when he tries to create too much on the dribble. He can over dribble a lot and sometimes gets a little too cute.
Best Block Party Award - Serge Ibaka
Kind of explains itself. He had 11 blocks in 3 games this last week.
Quentin Tarantino Revenge of the week - James Harden, Rockets
It wasn't until the third meeting but the James Harden trade bite the Thunder squarely on their ass...and face...and chest and again in the face. You want to talk about a hyper efficient way to kill someone just look at what James Harden did to the Thunder defense last week. His line was crazy stupid that night. 46, 8, 6 on 14-19 shooting, 7-8 from three, and 11-12 from the line. Harden reminded everyone in the world why he was such a big part of the Thunder's success last season and why he is worth every penny of that max contract.
Slump Buster Award - Minnesota Timberwolves
Talk about playing the perfect time at the perfect time. Thunder needed that game badly after the loss to the Thunder to Heat before the All-Star break and Harden's Revenge (I'm taking that trade mark) after the break. Being able to whoop up on a not good Wolves team was just what the doctor ordered. After that mini slump the Thunder hit they have been able to have some really nice "get healthy" wins to get their mind right.
Sit Out The Whole Year Award - Derrick Rose, Bulls
Sunday evening sealed my thoughts on whether or not Derrick Rose should come back this season. For me the reason why I would be totally fine if Derrick Rose sat out the entire season is that I don't see anyway the Bulls can make it to the Finals even with D-Rose. I look at the Bulls and I keep asking myself how good is this team. They really aren't a really good team. I mean they are a fine team this season but they are no where near the level of the Heat or the Pacers. It does not seem like the reward out weighs the risk in this case. They just had a game where they shot 22 % from the field. 22 freaking percent. Adding a D-Rose who would still be playing his way into game shape is not going to cure all ills.
Walter White Empire Scale 6 (Last Week: 6)
Thunder stay at the six spot in the Empire Scale this week because of the Rockets game. Yes, James Harden went off but the Thunder had a 14 point lead with 7:13 left in the game. They were sliced and diced by a good but not great Rockets team. They rebounded by handling the T-Wolves and a good(?) Bulls team.
After the game vs the Hornets things get really fun for the Thunder with games vs. the Nuggets (Westbrook vs. Rocky II) at the Clippers then home for the Lakers. 2-2 in the next four is the floor for the Thunder and 3-1 looks like a pretty possibility.
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