Mayberry does a great job examining Karl's coaching career when he faces a 0-1 deficit in the playoffs. I happen to like Karl and have rooted for him since he joined the Nuggets, but it is difficult to argue against the fact that, when games get close in the end, he appears to be missing something.
Hollinger takes a look at the final few minutes of Sunday night's game. Hollinger still seems to favor the Nuggets over the Thunder, which of course he has the right to think, but seems to miss the point noted in Mayberry's post. When George Karl teams play it close in the crunch, they are often left wanting, and that issue is always going to be present.
The Thunder obviously need to do a better job guarding Nene Hilario, but I think this story misses the key ingredient. While Nene did get good position on occasion and finished strong, it was when he started setting high screens and rolled to the rim off the switches that he started dunking on OKC's collective heads. As I predicted, when he forces the Thunder bigs to move he stands a much better chance at finishing the play.
Carlson writes that Nene got the better of Kendrick Perkins in Game One. While this is certainly true, as I noted above, it is the reason why that is at issue. Perkins simply does not move as well as Nene in open space, and if the Thunder keep allowing Nene to face up to the rim, even though that's not his offensive strength, Perkins is going to have trouble.
Prada dials in and takes a look at the big playoff memes that are forming.
More links after the jump.
Game One for the Thunder was not the only one that featured some fantastic individual play. What Chris Paul did to the Lakers, if only for a game, encapsulates everything that we should value in a point guard. He made all of his mediocre players better than the defending champs.
Arron Afflalo, the Nuggets swing player who they had hoped could square off against either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, will not be suiting up for Game Two.
There is another way to sum up this type of cause and effect - it is the Ewing Theory, and it is alive and well. However, my one gripe is the contention that Denver's interchangeable parts were what kept them fighting until the end. I have to disagree; it was the fact that OKC could not check Nene in the post.
We all know which call is at issue. All I will say is this - these calls happen in every series, and I hope that when one goes against the Thunder team and fanbase will react with humble temperament.
Yeah, I can't even write such a thing with a straight face.
Undoubtedly the fact that Paul Pierce is still rooting for Kendrick Perkins will be acquired and used by George Karl for bulletin board motivation.
Jason Williams, aka "White Chocolate," will likely retire at the end of this season. If you missed Williams' career, this retrospective is a good place to start. I remember when he came into the league, he possessed a flair for the point guard position that had not been seen in quite some time, and I believe he played a role in helping to usher in the current crop of outstanding young point guards.
Russell Westbrook's game on Sunday was a wonderful sight to see, especially since he struggled with his offense at the end of the season. I hate to use the "X-Factor" concept, especially in regards to a point guard, but truth be told the Nuggets don't have anyone who can stay in front of Russell. It all comes down to his own personal shot selection and discretion.