The Thunder concluded their second and final tune-up game last night, defeating the Dallas Mavericks at home. I hope you had the opportunity to catch the middle two quarters of last night's game, because if you did, you will be excited for this season. The game was close...until it wasn't. Sunday night will be the best Christmas gift Thunder fans could ask for.
The bench players stole the show last night, with James Harden and Reggie Jackson helping fuel the run that broke the game open. Cole Aldrich also showed vast improvement and may challenge Nazr Mohammed for some backup center minutes.
High praise for James Harden, who actually broke out a reverse slam against the Mavericks. That type of play takes some panache.
The Thunder were focused and locked in on stopping Dirk Nowitzki, and they forced him into a 2-10 shooting night. I know it's pre-season, but after watching Dirk go supernova on the Thunder in the playoffs, it was a nice change.
The Mavs faithful aren't too thrilled about what they saw last night, but their lone bright spot was Jerome Randall, who may become their Jose Barea of 2011-12.
Larry Coon writes that the first recipient of the Derrick Rose Rule is...Kevin Durant. My rhetorical question is, did Durant have any say in the matter in receiving his pay bump, which also happens to push the Thunder over the salary cap?
This is an excellent look at each network's team of broadcasters, studio guys, and booth analysts. For me personally, I always enjoy any booth that features either Hubie Brown or Marv Albert (YES!).
We'll be resuming our Power Ranking tally next week after things get underway, but here is Moore's early assessment, and the Thunder start out behind only the Heat.
Mahoney writes about Durant's use of Dirk Nowitzki's one-legged fadeaway shot in their first pre-season game. Lest you forget, Mahoney also writes on a Mavericks blog, "Two-Man Game," (a must-read, IMHO) so he speaks from a position of great insight.
More links after the jump.
The Thunder are pretty adamant about not elevating themselves to the level of the Mavericks out of deference and respect.
Pelton and the gang have finished off their annual ode to NBA metrics and analysis, and it can be yours for less than an evening movie ticket, but provide you with many more hours of enjoyment. And yes, WTLC makes an appearance.
Great piece, in which we learn that Stephen Curry's actual first name is "Wardell."
Golliver writes a great piece on billionaire Trail Blazers owner, Paul Allen. It is rare that Allen gives such a forthcoming interview, so check it out. It may be the last you hear from him before he descends once more into his secret volcano lair.
Chauncey Billups will likely occupy the shooting guard position in Clipper-land, which should suit him well as he looks toward the last phase of his career.
We've all learned to withhold judgment when seeing news like this, but it isn't good if proven to be true.
Zach Harper examines the Detroit Pistons through the lens of an 80's Michael Keaton vehicle. It is also a look at what happens when cloning goes awry, as the Jedi Council understands all too well.