I hope you were able to watch last night's game until the very end, because once again it was a spectacle that lived up to the ever increasing hype that surrounds these playoffs. Once again OKC figured out ways to overcome the opposition's advantages, play better defense, and hang on in the end. Game Three is Saturday, so now it is incumbent on the Thunder to protect what they have just won.
Mayberry tries to quell the inevitable Russell Westbrook uprising once more. Of course, it won't work.
Young writes about how the OKC bench took last game's thumping personally and took the game hard right at the primary culprits, Jason Terry and Jose Barea.
Once again they collect a series of quotes and screen caps that effectively capture the flavor of last night's game, but this time from the losing side.
Hollinger points out something important. It was not just the 4th quarter stretch where the bench earned its stripes, but in the 2nd quarter as well.
Scott Brooks once again proved he is good at game-to-game adjustments, but this time out surprised everyone with reading the feel of the game as well in leaving his starters on the bench. Phil Jackson would be proud.
More links after the jump.
A salient point - OKC won the rebounding battle in both of their road games.
Dwyer laments that despite what we did see, all anyone is going to argue about in the dead air space is what we did not see.
Hopefully the repetition of performances like these will finally put the "OKC wasted its pick on Harden" to rest. The man is a big time gamer and wants to be in the big time moments. More importantly, I have yet to see him make a costly mistake when the pressure is at its highest.
"Eric had our whole group going...Five guys on the floor, all in sync, playing as one." - Kevin Durant
Stein asks the big critical question, and Game Three will answer it as to whether Westbrook is truly ok with his benching.
I'll just make this one point. Nobody has said anything about Serge Ibaka or Kendrick Perkins sitting for the entire 4th quarter.
GM Sam Presti is well-lauded, but his detractors have often argued that Kevin Durant fell into his lap. While this fact is true, there is less and less reason to challenge his secondary moves, namely in drafting James Harden, locking up Nick Collison, or adding Daequan Cook in the off-season.
Pelton notes that through the Thunder bench, the OKC offense generated a 126.3 offensive rating. Durant had four points in the 4th, and almost everything else came from the 2nd unit.
Not Thunder-specific, but this story will surely make Zorgon smile.