This last week was a very promising week until the Thunder played the Spurs Monday evening. I will get to the Spurs game a little later but before that loss the Thunder had two wins that were impressive to me. First was the win at New York last Thursday. That game had the feeling of many of the games the Thunder have lost this season. The grind it out kind of game that the truly elite teams find a way to win. When the Thunder win games like that it gives me great hope for the playoff success of the team.
The win vs. the Celtics on Sunday had a very professional feel to it. The game got close at times but I never felt the Celtics were actually threatening to win the game. The Thunder were always one step quicker, younger and athletic and the was no way for the Celtics to catch them. As the playoffs draw closer and closer those type of wins stand out more and more because those wins are what you see from the championship teams in the NBA.
Buffy Summers Award (Team MVP) - Kevin Durant
KD takes back the award this week from Russell Westbrook. I looked through the comments on last week's post and their was one about if Russell Westbrook is surpassing Kevin Durant as the best player on this team. My answer to that question is no chance in hell. Durant is still the best player on the team and the second best player in the NBA behind LeBron James. And this is coming from someone who loves everything about Westbrook's game. The numbers for Durant were 25.5 points, 7.75 rebounds, 5.25 assists and went 42-44 from the free throw line. You know how I love making free throws.
Tom Haverford Award (Best Supporting Player) - Serge Ibaka
Air Congo gets this week's honor out of default because I was less then impressed with the other supporting players on the Thunder this week. It was not the strongest week for people not named Westbrook or Durant. Also, Ibaka didn't punch anyone in the nuts so that's a plus. He did put in some work on the glass averaging 9.75 rebounds this past week.
Do Over Award - Jeff Green, Celtics
Talk things not going as planned. That is what happened to Jeff Green in his first game back in OKC since being traded away two years ago. He went 2-11 from the floor with 3 turnovers and plus/minus of -11. I bet Jeff Green wishes he had Blake Griffin's time machine. "Uvo...Take me back to March 10th at 11:59 am cst."
Screwing Up My Fantasy Team Award - Kevin Durant
It isn't really Durant that is screwing up my fantasy team but the fact that he is sitting out so many 4th quarters. I need everything I can get in this league. I have Durant and Chris Paul on my team and I made a trade at the All-Star break for LeBron James and I recently acquired Manu Ginobili and Andrew Bogut. I am clinging to second place right now with almost no chance and catching the guy in first. The guy in first has Ibaka, Brandon Jennings, Paul George and Danilo Gallinari carrying him to the finish. If I can finish second I still get some money and I would best one of my fellow co-workers. So Scott Brooks feel free to let KD get some garbage minutes in these blow outs.
Irrational Confidence In Their Shot Award - Derrick Fisher
He barely beat out Kendrick Perkins for this award. I have one question for Scott Brooks. Are you saving those Ronnie Brewer minutes for when you match up vs. LeBron in the Finals? I don't really understand playing Fisher and Reggie Jackson at the same time while Brewer gets caught up on The Americans while on the bench. Especially when Fisher plays the kind of defense he did vs. the Spurs.
Annoying Opposing Team Broadcaster Award - Sean Elliot, Spurs
Beating The Dead Horse Award - James Harden vs. Kevin Martin Trade
I mean really...The loss versus the Spurs was another one in a long list of examples of where the Thunder miss the Beard. If you notice the games where the dearth of James Harden's playing making ability shows itself the most are the ones vs. the elite teams. Like the Spurs and the Heat. Last season in each round of the playoffs there was one certain player that without them the Thunder might not have won the series. In the opening round vs. the Mavericks is was Durant. Against the Lakers it was Westbrook. And against the Spurs it was James Harden.
Once again to completely keep beating this dead horse. The James Harden trade continues to haunt the Thunder and their chances at winning a title.
Prometheus Award (Biggest Disappointment) Loss vs. The Spurs
This one was pretty easy to select this week. Thunder had a great chance tie the Spurs atop the Western Conference standings. They were catching the Spurs with Tony Parker out of the line up and the Spurs had recently been rolled by the Blazers at home. The Thunder were even able to jump out to a double digit lead in the opening quarter. Then the wheels came falling off but they didn't fall off all at once. Well into the 3rd quarter was still impressed that the Thunder had not given up some crazy 20-7 run to fall behind by 15 points. They were staying in striking distance until the turnovers came too often and the rotation to the open shooters became worse and the Spurs pulled away. It was the first two games of the 2012 Western Conference Finals all over again.
Walter White Empire Scale - 7 (Last Week: 9)
The loss to the Spurs drops the Thunder two spots in this week's Empire Scale and to be honest I almost dropped them more. Yes they had really nice wins vs. decent teams in the Knicks and the Celtics and dominated the craptastic Bobcats but the Thunder are judged against the upper elite in the league. At this point in the season it is about what you do against the other elite teams in the Western Conference. After what I witnessed on Monday evening vs. the Spurs they should feel very lucky to earn a seven this week.
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