The Thunder got their much needed rebound win last night against the reeling Jazz team. The first half was tepid, but in the second half we again saw good balance among all the Thunder players and it ended in a convincing win. Here is some more feedback from around the league.
Mayberry's post-game story. He notes that the game was really never as close as it seemed. Of particular note, with eight minutes remaining and the Jazz pulling to within 10, Scott Brooks reinserted Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two immediately took care of their business, pushing the lead back up to 16, and were never threatened thereafter.
Young notes that Al Jefferson dominated Kendrick Perkins in the post last night, to the tune of 32 points on 14-18 shooting. While it is true that offensively, Jefferson is one of the top three post players in the league, the inability of Perkins to stay in front of him might be some cause for concern.
Mayberry's post-game notes. He has an interesting comment from Kendrick Perkins on his defense last night:
We told [Thabo Sefolosha] not to [double-down]. He just did it on his own. That’s just being defensive minded. We’re going to do it as a whole. At the end of the day, you’ve got to show help for everybody. I actually like that he was digging. I’m used to being on an island by myself all the time."
Perk likes how Sefolosha gave the double-team, but it is a mixed blessing. If Sefolosha times it right, it can force the opponent into a bad offensive rotation. But if it is timed wrong (or slow), then Thabo is stuck in no-man's land. The post player can still make his move, except now Sefolosha's man might be open for the jumper as well.
If you've been reading this space for the past few months, you know that I'm a fan of the Spurs' ability to run end of quarter/game plays. Last night they were in another situation against the Nuggets where the Spurs had to get off a 3-pointer to tie. This is an excellent breakdown of how the play emerged and actually looked pretty decent up until a sub-optimal decision was made by a veteran. It is a reminder that these last-second plays carry some of the heaviest need for patience and precision, and even 10 year vets can be prone to bad judgment.
More links after the jump.
I understand that the pros have to fill up their work space just like we do here, but this type of thing is so paint-by-numbers that I find it tedious. There naturally has to be one team that is "most likely to be upset," by virtue that the sample size is finite. They aren't really saying anything here that you couldn't easily assess by looking at this and thinking about it for two minutes.
Here is an interesting look at the basketball career arc of Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough. I think that his current status is something that can be examined in light of the Thunder make-up. Namely, is Hansbrough materially different in his character from Nick Collison? Sometimes, as we've learned with Serge Ibaka, the best thing that can happen to a player is for coaches to recognize the thing that he's actually good at, rather than what he is not.
Dwight Howard was on the Jimmy Fallon late night show, and as you might expect, day old Shamrock Shakes got involved. Also, Fallon's shooting motion makes him look like he's attempting a ballestra or something. Weird.
How about one for the least-exciting - Chicago Bulls vs Indiana Pacers. There's nothing worse than a four game sweep where one team can't even crack 90 points.
Here is an analysis as to how some of the deadline trades (including the Thunder's) are impacting the prospects of this year's playoffs.
Timberwolves forward and rebounding machine Kevin Love will not be suiting up in Friday's game due to an injured groin.
Here is a little poll that the newspaper is running to see who Trail Blazers fans would prefer to face in the opening round. The answer might surprise you. (gotta vote to see it though)