Tonight is Heat night, and I hope the Thunder are focused for a 48 minute fight. The one thing the Heat have shown is that outcomes can be reversed in a hurry, whether it is from game to game (Spurs) or within a game (Magic). I think the Thunder can run with the Heat; the only question will be whether or not the Thunder can get some key stops down the stretch.
Mayberry takes a look at where the Thunder stand in terms of moving to the next level. I think Flip Saunders said it well:
"You'll know when they're mature when they win a playoff series. That's their next step."
Here once more is the story that will never die, almost exclusively because of who it was that made the statement. And since it has been beaten to death, there is no question that the Heat announcers will mention it approximately 47 times over the course of tonight's game.
This story has been making the rounds both as a testament to the players Corey Maggette, Chris Cayman, Marco Jaric, and Elton Brand, who helped save the life of their assistant coach Kim Hughes, and of the owner who was seemingly quite content to let him die. You probably only need one guess to figure out who the owner is.
Here is a deeper editorial of the Kim Hughes story, in how Commissioner David Stern has essentially given his implicit approval of Donald Sterling's malfeasance. I understand that the professional relationship between commissioner and owners vs commissioner and players is fundamentally different. However, this is the league that has instituted such public image concepts as court-side dress codes. He publicly dressed down Stan Van Gundy for a rant about Dwight Howard. Appearance is important to Stern. And yet, he has allowed Sterling to essentially act as an open and unrepentant racist letch and nary a wrist slap goes his way.
More links after the jump.
Brian Powell makes his debut for NBA.com. If you're not familiar with the name, he started a blog called Awful Announcing back in 2006, and it was a biting critique of the on-air personalities that sometimes saw themselves as important (if not moreso) than the games they were covering. He might have to watch the language a bit more now, but this column is going to become must-read.
Shockingly, a former OSU player picks OSU to win the tournament.
I agree that the first round of the playoffs could provide some entertaining basketball, but if you think the eventual championship is a wide-open affair, I'm sorry, but you just really haven't been paying attention.
The Thunder are playing a statement game tonight.
"We definitely got to try and make a statement" - Kevin Durant
Here is another thought provoking post that examines some various schools of philosophical thought and how they might view the MVP award. You do remember those old philosophy classes in college, right? And you thought they were useless in the real world.
That's right, the NBA now has an official jewelry brand. I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.
I know it may seem like we're beating a dead horse with all of the links to stories like this, but I am always interested to see if the writer can actually make a good argument as to why the current NBA rule about draft availability is good or bad. This is one of the poorer ones, and so I think it is helpful as well to see how bad arguments are created and defeated. Here is the hidden assumption in this one: nobody is forcing schools to recruit players that they know will leave after one year.