There are 10 games remaining in this crazy season, and the Thunder are neck-and-neck with the Spurs in the race for the finish line. It might not be exactly true to state that the Thunder have no margin for error, but it certainly feels that way since it seems like the Spurs are never going to lose again. In the end though, it might be good for OKC to be the chaser because it could help keep them focused.
This week may not have the same luster as last week, but it is still going to be a critical juncture. The Clippers are fighting for a higher playoff seed, the Bucks are trying to get into the 8th seed, the Kings defeated the Thunder earlier this season, and the Timberwolves pushed the Thunder to the limit in one of the best games of the season.
Mayberry doesn't exactly offer Derek Fisher a ringing vote of confidence:
Fish made not one but two 3s tonight. Makes him 5-for-20 from deep since joining the Thunder. He went 2-of-8 from the field as he clearly was using this game to try to regain his offensive rhythm. Didn’t work tonight. But maybe it will have a domino effect.
Young notes that Russell Westbrook's mid-range game has seemed to disappear. We've noted in the past that Westbrook is at his best when shooting in the extended lane, and his shooting drops off when he fades outside of that area. By looking quickly at his shot distribution last night, you can see that he missed three of the four shots he took outside the lane. I actually like this visual representation, because it showed that while Westbrook didn't get as many shots where he liked them, he also resisted the temptation to take shots that were not in his preferred zone, either.
Prada digs into Russell Westbrook's offensive game and takes a look at the veracity of Kevin Durant's comment about how the Thunder perform when Westbrook takes a lot of shots. Do they actually play better when Westbrook shoots more than Durant?
Scott Brooks says that he will not rest his young squad simply for the sake of resting them.
"He knows not to do that" - Kevin Durant
Danny Granger's big 4th quarter Friday night sealed the fate of the Thunder. Donahue writes that Granger's improvement has been due in part to something that we've noticed in Westbrook as well - when they make the game simpler, they make it easier on themselves to excel.
The Lamar Odom experiment in Dallas has apparently officially failed. If the Thunder end up drawing the Mavericks in round 1, this could have a material effect on the outcome, since Odom has always hurt the Thunder with his stretch game and rebounding.
Avery Bradley, the 2nd year Celtics guard, is the perfect example for what a young unheralded player needs to do to earn his keep in the NBA.
Blott has a good take on the recent Nike Hoop Summit. These are the future potential NBA stars, so it is good to start tracking on them early.
This is basically a TV daytime drama that should have been canceled years ago.
Even so, this is pretty great. Dwight Howard makes SVG look like a hobbit.