NBA: Who's Hot? Who's Not? - Basketball News & NBA Rumors
Western Conference Rookie: Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder – There were a lot of sexier picks for this spot, like Steph Curry (24.7 points, six rebounds, 7.3 assists), Tyreke Evans (24.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists) or the rookie guards in New Orleans, Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton. But far more was expected out of them coming into the season and Ibaka has come out of nowhere to help the Oklahoma City develop into a playoff team sooner than expected. This week, the 6-10 forward from Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo averaged 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting a remarkable .628 from the field as the Thunder won two of three games.
THUNDER: Scott Brooks Named Western Conference Coach of the Month
Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for February the NBA announced today. Brooks, who guided Oklahoma City to its third consecutive winning month, finished February with a record of 9-2 (.818). The last time the franchise had three consecutive winning months was November 2004-March 2005. In addition, the .818 winning percentage marks the highest percentage in one month since January 1997 when the team went 11-2 (.846). Oklahoma City opened the month with seven consecutive wins, extending a winning streak which began in January to nine games. It was the franchise’s longest winning streak since the 2004-05 season (11/5/04-11/19/04). The Thunder posted a 5-1 mark on the road improving their season record away from home to (17-12). Oklahoma City averaged 104.4 points on 46.8% shooting from the floor while limiting opponents to 97.4 points on 43.6%
NBA power rankings: Watch out for red-hot Mavericks | OregonLive.com
8. Oklahoma City (6) _ Russell Westbrook, the former turnover machine, averaged 11.2 assists a game in his last five games. Westbrook racked up double-digit assists in four of those games, including tying the franchise record with 15 dimes against Minnesota.
Thunder to keep season ticket prices flat - USATODAY.com
The Oklahoma City Thunder are keeping their season ticket prices the same for next season. Senior vice president of ticket sales and services Brian Byrnes said Monday that the Thunder will send information packets to season ticket holders this week informing them of the flat ticket prices. The Thunder have already won 12 more games this season than they did in their first year in Oklahoma City and are in position to make the playoffs. Single-game ticket prices will not be set until after the NBA schedule is announced for next season.
SLAM ONLINE | " Changing of the Guard
Looking closer at the Thunder’s success this year in the absence of a traditional lineup and one discovers the root to be the man running the point: Russell Westbrook.
The point guard position is at the helm of change in the League as the multitude of styles and overlapping eras has culminated in diversity destroying the categorization and purist pass-first image that is usually attributed with the position. "It’s tough," Westbrook said. "I think the point guard is the one of the toughest positions in the League and it always will be."
Westbrook, drafted fourth overall in the 2008 Draft as a combo guard by the Thunder, has blossomed this year, averaging 16.5 points and 7.8 assists a game as the primary ball handler for a playoff-bound team. He has seven or more assists in each of his last fourteen games, has recorded two triple-doubles, has seven double-doubles in the last 10 games and 16 on the year overall. Westbrook scored in double-digits in all but one game in February, averaging a season-high 19.3 points a game for the month.
"Last year was tough me. Losing a lot of games, I felt like I wasn’t getting better but coach kept telling me that I was getting better each and every game," Westbrook said. "The game is a lot slower this year than last year. I feel a lot more comfortable." Slower for him, but much faster for the guard in front of him as Westbrook spends as much time slashing and finishing in the paint as he does dishing to other teammates. Rare is a defender that can stay in front of him this year.
So much for Westbrook winning Player of the Month...
NBA.com: James, Boozer earn Player of the Month honors
Boozer topped the Western Conference in rebounds (13.0 rpg) and added 21.2 points on .604 shooting from the field, leading Utah to a 10-3 record. Boozer, who ranks fourth in the league in double-doubles (38), recorded nine in the 11 February games he played. On Feb. 21, Boozer scored 22 points and added a season-high 23 rebounds in a 93-89 win at Portland. Boozer is one of five NBA players averaging at least 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Armstrong: The Thunder are for real
I was in Oklahoma City the past few days and got a chance to see the young, up and coming Thunder perform in person against the Toronto Raptors and let me tell you something folks -they're for real. They have three excellent players that they can build around and here's my thoughts on their Big 3.
1. KEVIN DURANT: Boy oh boy, this kid has star written all over him. An incredible skill set for a guy this big. He looks like he hasn't even stopped growing yet. Wait ‘til he fills out physically. Special already. Love his ability to handle the ball so effectively and create shots for himself. Has good range on his shot and very crafty mid-range game. Finishes at the rim and draws fouls. Changes speeds well and is a tough cover. Defense has gotten much better and he gets his share of deflections due to his length. Has excellent BB IQ and plays the game at a controlled speed. Franchise guy.
2. RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Big strong guard who is blossoming into a big-time player. Can get from point A to B with ease. Great first step and has improved his handle immensely. Tough to keep out of the lane and is a strong finisher. Has big strong shoulders and can play the power game. Has developed beautifully as a lead guard and is more than capable (as he has of late) of taking games over. He has slowed down his game a bit and really done a better job of making more high percentage decisions as a lead guard. Unorthodox cover for many on the perimeter. Deceptive change of speed and great burst off the bounce. Defense is improving and his length and lateral quick's are impressive. Can cover all types and sizes of players. He's got a chance to be really good.
3. JEFF GREEN: No Frills player who just plays hard and well each night. Can play both at the 3 & 4 spots and defends effectively. Solid shooter with range and can put ball on floor and create. Like his workmanlike approach to the game and is steady in his temperament. Plays good on the ball defense and has great instincts in the passing lanes. Keeps people in front of him consistently. Will get overshadowed by Durant and Westbrook quite often but he's a glue guy and a winning player
Kevin Durant High-Dribbler In Win With 186 Bounces | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
OKLAHOMA CITY—Thunder guard Kevin Durant dribbled the ball 73 times in the fourth quarter, leading all dribblers with 186 bounces in Oklahoma City's win against the New York Knicks Saturday. "At first I was trying to just be patient and dribble only when I had to, like to avoid traveling and to run the offense," said Durant, who is third in the league with 147.6 dpg and a 99.8 dribble percentage. "I know we're not supposed to admit it, but yeah, by the end I was counting. 182, 183, 184, 185, 186 bounces. It felt good. Honestly, I was in such a zone that it felt like I was dribbling on a court twice as big." Durant also led both teams with 43 jumps and 1,227 steps taken.
Thunder notebook: Nenad Krstic gets banged up | NewsOK.com
Nenad Krstic left Sunday’s game against Toronto for good midway through the third period with what team officials described as an injured ankle. The Thunder’s starting center was battling in the painted area when a player backed into him and caused Krstic to hunch over in an effort to reach for his leg while wincing in pain. A team spokesman, however, said the ankle injury isn’t expected to be an issue. The deeper concern is that Krstic banged his already injured right thumb against the Raptors and the injury could become a setback. Krstic scored 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting with three rebounds in 21 minutes. It was his highest scoring total since another 16-point effort on Jan. 18 at Atlanta.
Raptors lose 3rd straight without Bosh, 119-99 - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
After collapsing late in consecutive losses to Phoenix and San Antonio—the two teams that had been immediately behind them in the standings—the Thunder have responded with consecutive wins in which they were never really threatened in the second half.
"That’s the most impressive thing, I think, about our team is our consistency and not having a lot of slippage where we have a bad stretch," said forward Nick Collison, the only player left from the franchise’s last trip to the playoffs. "I think two or three losses is the most we’ve had in a row. We’ve always been able to come back, correct it and improve our level of play. "I think for a young team that’s impressive and hopefully we keep it going."
Hardwood Paroxysm " Blog Archive " Brand New Day
This is before we get to Casspi’s playmaking ability, Harden’s fit in OKC, Serge Ibaka being the big we all thought OKC needed, Ty Lawson breaking the sound barrier on a regular basis, DeMar DeRozan flying through the air, Brandon Jennings being part of a possibly playoff-bound Bucks, Jeff Teague adding significant minutes, Taj Gibson being better than anyone expected, Beaubois looking like a potential DPOY in four years, Marcus Thornton, Jonas Jerebko, Jonny Flynn, Hansbrough when healthy, or Eric Maynor.
And don’t even get me started on Blair.
The Thunder may be shifting what we look at as "how to build through the draft." I’ve argued that Presti may be taking Pritchard’s prototype and improving on it, simply by not improving on the team with veterans. The Nets and Knicks: one of them will come out of this summer with tremendous potential for contention. The Magic have shook the previously held ideas about what a defensive team looks like. And the Celtics have set an impossible quandary with "Should you sell out your future for a thirty second shot at glory?" question.