Last night's game was either a mulligan or a letdown; I'm not sure yet. I just know that the Jazz still have a better record than the Raptors and they're coming to town on Wednesday. Let's hope that the attention is refocused.
Mayberry thinks the Thunder took the Raptors lightly, but my bigger concern is how the Raptors ran two resistance-free plays to tie and then win, and the Thunder were only able to manage low percentage outside shots.
Here is a look at which benches comprise the best compliment to teams this season. Not surprisingly, they are almost exclusively tied to the best teams in the league. We've been seeing this facet since day one. The Thunder bench rarely leaves the court in worse shape than when they entered, and often they leave it in better shape.
Young offers a good examination of something we've been seeing as of late - good two-man combination plays between James Harden and Nick Collison. So much of a fluid offense is players learning to read each others' body language and making a non-verbal connection. There were two offerings of such telekinesis last night.
Here is a look at the growing relationship between Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Perkins operates as the perfect kind of guy to help bring Ibaka along, just like Kevin Garnett did for Perkins.
More links after the jump.
SB Nation's own Raptors blog celebrates the tough win last night which seems at odds with their goal of getting a lottery pick. If I had to pick one thing that seems like it is really holding the Raptors back, it is the lack of a good shooting guard. Other than bench player Leandro Barbosa, the Raptors were pretty awful from the perimeter, and it allows other teams to pack it in against them on defense.
Bethlehem Shoals examines which free agents will be in the least demand heading into the off-season. It would be great if the Thunder could hold onto Daequan Cook at the right price, but the fact is guys like him are more or less interchangeable.
Mayberry answers a few questions today. Among them - what to make of Westbrook? These days, he seems to be hot or cold and seldom steady. While patience is necessary, I'm not sure what it is going to take to get him to the next level.
All I can say in the two games that I've seen Andrea Bargnani play is that he seems to have a very good feel for working with the basketball. The comparison seems to be with Dirk Nowitzki, but I'd probably rather liken him to someone like Vlade Divac with a better outside shot.