The Thunder endured a frustrating loss to the Rockets last night. It was a game where the team fell behind early, battled back, seemingly had the advantage late, and then could not put together efficient offensive sequences to close it out. Houston played very well against the Thunder, so the big question in my mind was not so much how the Thunder lost, but why the Rockets do not win more often. Perhaps it is simply the new reality - Rockets players and fans alike now look at OKC and say to themselves, "We're trying to beat the NBA's best team tonight."
Young writes that the Thunder's pitiful 1st quarter made for a long night, but for me the start didn't bother me much because what it mostly came down to was a lot of makable-but-missed shots. Houston definitely played better in that opening quarter, but not 13 points better. What bothered me the most was how, once the Thunder caught the Rockets, they seemed to abandon the defensive formula that helped them get back in the game and gave up a 30 point third quarter.
Rockets fans breathe a sigh of relief after watching the Thunder miss nine consecutive shots in the end, any of which could probably have delivered the victory for OKC.
Mayberry notes that the end of game shots that Kevin Durant took were not terrible; in fact he got some very wide open looks that he just missed. My issue was the plays that preceded those shots, when the Thunder wasted possessions by not trying anything other than a contested 3-pointer.
Thabo Sefolosha has missed the past 10 games with a sore foot and as of today there is no expected time-table on his return.
When the professional talking heads speak of Jeremy Lin and utter, "Nobody saw this coming," what they're really saying is, "I never saw this coming." But there were a cadre of stat-heads and basketball fans (just like you guys) who DID see him coming. Somewhere, Bill James smiles.
The numbers reveal that one of the reasons the Thunder defense is not performing to expectations is found in their less-than-optimal ability to get back on defense.
Kevin Love has been selected to participate in the 3-point shootout at the All-Star weekend. I think he's going to have the same fate befall on him that Kevin Durant did; he's going to try to change his mechanics to get shots up more quickly, and as a result will make fewer than if he just stayed with what works in games.
You might be shocked to learn that this great piece is NOT about the Trail Blazers.
Dwyer defends his blogging brethren by taking to task Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, who really ought to be the last person to be criticizing bloggers who write about the Wizards out of their fandom and not for a paycheck.
Or...maybe you should.