The Thunder endured two consecutive setbacks this week, revealing some chinks in their pre-season armor. They get another day of rest today, and then when the weekend hits they get a double-dosage of the Houston Rockets. The Rockets, as you recall, were the odd men out in the Chris Paul-Pau Gasol sweepstakes, and are now trying to figure out their identity. They will be looking to right their ship, just like the Thunder.
I like Kevin Durant's perspective; it's only seven games into the season. However, Nick Collison's words are prescient:
"It seems like we're 40 feet from the basket trying to create something a lot" - Nick Collison
Raymond Felton takes a shot at Russell Westbrook, acting the part of a guy who just got the better of the All-Star point guard. Fair enough, but perhaps Felton is still chafing a bit at the way the Thunder disposed of his Nuggets in last year's playoffs.
Kevin Durant struggled mightily against Portland, shooting only 8-25. Aside from the excellent analysis in the clip in this link, pay particular attention to Durant's shooting mechanics. You can actually see them get worse as the game goes on. For a jump shooter, even one as good and athletic as Durant, when your body gets tired, the first thing to fall apart are your shooting mechanics.
Young runs through a host of questions about the Thunder's future prospects, specifically in regard to who the key players will be in a sustained run. They are going to have to make some difficult choices.
Westbrook makes the 'most disappointing' list, and his struggles in meshing with the team appear to be the big issue. Honestly, aside from brief spurts, the entire team looks a bit out of whack.
But Baron Davis later clarified that his, "Goldmember is not herniated."
Kenneth Faried scores his first professional points in a spectacular fashion. This also must be one of those rare moments when Rudy Fernandez looks awesome.
Russell Westbrook's usage rate is up there.
There is great worry in Memphis, because with the compressed season Zach Randolph's absence will be in more greatly exacerbated. This isn't like the team losing Rudy Gay last year; Z-Bo is their heart and soul.
Everybody is piling on. Such is the nature of a prince who wants to be king.
I had the dubious distinction of living in Washington at the time of Kwame Brown's drafting by Michael Jordan, so I know all the stories and they needn't be repeated. However, one of the things that I've always found the most fascinating about it all is the cruel nature of the NBA lottery. The Wizards were terrible, won the #1 pick in 2001, and took Kwame. In the next three seasons, the lucky teams who won the pick drafted Yao Ming, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard.
More links after the jump.
The story is new, the picture is old, and it still reminds me of the Usual Suspects. Clearly Adam Silver is Verbal Kint.
This site looks to be one that we should keep on our radar. In this post, the writer breaks down the Heat offense and how it maximizes the talents of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Luis Scola is not a handsome man.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 33 points, 13 assists and 8 rebounds. Dwyane, of course, didn’t play due to injury. Reportedly, 11 Pacer players did play, but you could have fooled me.
Coach Nick takes a look at Derrick Rose's progression this year, underscoring his importance to the Bulls more than ever.
Yeah, that was a cliche. Even so, old man Ray Allen wants a contract extension. At age 36, Ray is currently averaging 20 ppg and shooting 61% from 3-point range. It seems reasonable.