We will get started on more of our summer fun in the upcoming days, but for now we can take a quick perusal around the league to see what everyone is doing between now and Game One on Tuesday.
Thunder's Experience Will Spawn Success | NewsOK
I like this quote by Sam Presti:
"Our improvement is not a matter of time. It is experiences over time."
His comment points out the difference between players who have been in the league a while and won little (see: Dwight Howard) versus teams that have used those experiences to get better.
Perk is Better Than You Think | Daily Thunder
Young continues to champion the obvious, because it seems like a majority of NBA-types are still missing the obvious. Kendrick Perkins did not have a great post-season due to conditioning and bad match-ups, but to anyone who thinks that OKC regrets the trade even for a moment clearly did not spend any time watching the team before the trade went down. If you did, you would have seen how the Thunder were playing - there was something broken in their make-up, and that something did not get fixed until Perkins suited up.
Thunder Must Stay Humble, Hungry | NewsOK
Sam Presti comments further on how the team must retain its focus heading into the off-season. I think this will be a huge challenge, because if you think back to October, it did appear that the Thunder had a sense that they had "arrived" and played unfocused, undisciplined basketball for about six weeks before turning things around.
OKC's Top 10 Playoff Moments | Daily Thunder
Young peruses the video archives to extract his favorite moments of OKC's playoff run. You might be surprised at what he chooses as #1. (note- you will not be at all surprised)
Sussing Out the Other Matchups in the Finals | Off the Dribble
Mahoney takes a look at all of the pieces in play in this year's finals. I personally think one of the big keys is going to be how well Chris Bosh is able to pull Tyson Chandler away from the rim.
Nowitzki's Second Chance | Hoopsworld
2006 is still burned into Dirk's mind, and even though he says it doesn't really matter that they are getting a rematch with the Heat, his acute memory of how 2006 unfolded says otherwise.
Dallas Mavericks and Being John Malkovich | Hardwood Paroxysm
In which Mark Cuban is compared to Cameron Diaz. I think.
The Mavericks are a team obsessed with data, but the problem is there isn't nearly as much data on the Heat as they probably want, by way of their metamorphosis over the season. Here is my early assessment - stop Dwyane Wade, and Miami cannot win.
Winning Percentages of Heat, Mavs in Playoffs | Basketball Prospectus
A look at how both the Heat and Mavericks stack up historically in terms of playoff winning percentage.
Rockets Hire Kevin McHale, As They Should | Ball Don't Lie
Kevin McHale is the new coach of the Houston Rockets, and there is nothing I look forward to more than a native Texan trying to have a conversation with a native Minnesotan.