Big game against the Hornets tonight. I'm sure they'll be looking for revenge against the Thunder tonight, as OKC has already taken two games off them this year. The Hornets are sitting on an eight game win streak, and they just crushed the best team in the league by 24. Time to get fit in the basketball mindset.
Hop on over to the NY Knicks' SB Nation site, Posting and Toasting. I gave their venerable GM a few thoughts I picked up after observing the Knicks twice this season.
Here is the breakdown for tonight's game. Front and center is the matchup between Paul and Russell Westbrook.
The question is posed to the Oklahoman sports staff. Surprisingly, Kevin Durant gets the nod. It may come down to the health of Chris Paul to settle the debate.
The Hornets' surge has come on the backs of their defense. Look no further than their dismantling of the Spurs, where they held them to 10 points in the decisive 3rd quarter.
Susan Bible writes a good piece on how the game winning moment unfolded for Durant. The silence of the moment is always an interesting recollection by the players who achieve it. Also, remember that for a long time none other than LeBron James had a knock against him for failing in the clutch, but really, all he needed was more opportunities. Eventually, the talent shines through.
More links after the jump.
Statistically, Durant doesn't measure up to Westbrook at this point, but I think the model used is incomplete. It doesn't seem like free throws are taken into consideration. Also, last second shots tend to fall on Durant's shoulders, so he is more likely to take more shots under more pressure situations.
The Hornets need to meet certain benchmarks so that they can continue with their stadium lease. They're doing ok so far with their attendance. I hope the fans realize that they've got one of the five most important players in the league on their team.
Here is a peek inside Westbrook's surge this season. He has a history of making such dramatic jumps from year to year. Apart from his tendency at times to get a little careless with the ball, what would concern me most is his willingness to give up his body to make plays. That style can take you far and will win you fans, but over the long haul, there is a cost involved. Dwyane Wade's style of play is an excellent example of this mentality.
I would agree with this sentiment, and I would even go so far as to say that right now he's the team's best perimeter defender, getting the nod over Westbrook and Sefolosha.
Here's a nice shot of Jeff Green doing what Green and most of the perimeter defensive guys have been doing a lot of lately.
Stephanie Quattociocchi does Durant one better.
University of the Cumberlands - Stephanie Quattrociocchi 86-Foot Buzzer Beater (via brandonh4)