We're introducing a new feature today called the Full-Court Report , which will be a weekend feature that helps us catch up on all the major stories surrounding the Thunder and the NBA from the previous week.
It's been a crazy week for Loud City, media wise. After dropping game four to the Rockets and not being able to sweep the series, hatred and speculation started coming through on several big named analysts and even players. After game five, the criticism starting flowing through the Internet, starting with TrueHoopTV's David Thorpe. Thorpe stunned the not only the host, but the viewing population this week when he made remarks involving the series, saying that the Rockets will win.
Before Thorpe dissed the Thunder, host Henry Abbott asked him, "The Thunder with how they're playing right now would lose to the Grizzlies too, which seems crazy now. What do you think?" Thorpe responded with, "I'm not sure they'll get past Houston to be real honest with you." He then kept going with saying, "I think Houston can win tonight, I think they can definitely come back home and win, and now in a game seven it's anyone's game, and the way Houston plays when they're down with the care-free style and lots of threes, yeah I think they can win the series."
Thunder Nation didn't take this softly, criticizing David Thorpe in the comments. I understand why Thorpe said that, but in the span of three games without Westbrook, the Thunder are going to figure out how to succeed without his presence. After the Thunder won the series, Thorpe did not say anything about the team on Twitter or TrueHoop.
On Thursday, after the Thunder lost game five to the Rockets, rookie Royce White (of the Rockets) took to Twitter:
And... that's why you play the games. That @okcthunder team just looked shook. "They're looking shaky baby."#RedNation— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 2, 2013
The first round pick got the attention he's wanted his whole life, but it wasn't with a game-winning shot or a crazy dunk. It was the typical athlete talking smack because they can't let their play do the talking.
Kevin Durant responded flawlessly the next day, asking the stationed reporters:
"Who's he?" Durant continued, "He hasn't played against us so I'm not worried about [a guy] that's not even in our series."
A picture perfect response. A D-Leaguer talking smack about the Thunder? He's a spectator, a spectator that the media has to pay attention to. Why was this even blown up? The world may never know.
Later in the week, Center Kendrick Perkins started receiving hate for not being part of the offense and slacking on defense. In a great article wrote by Zach Lowe of Grantland, he talked about the offensive strategies of the Thunder:
"The breakdown is obvious: Durant assumes the two defenders in the play will switch, and so he abandons Parsons to guard Asik rolling into the paint. The problem: Perkins doesn't seem to be in on the strategy."
Lowe was correct, Perkins increasingly got disgusted with both the game and referees that fouls became a problem. In game five it got so bad he got benched for over ten minutes at one point. Then, in game six, Perkins got a technical in the first quarter and started pumping pushups at mid-court.
Kendrick Perkins has not used his presence usefully as of late and that's why the Thunder have been playing Nick Collison more often. I think Collison is a great veteran player and deserves the playing time, but Kendrick Perkins was acquired for the reason of a post presence that the team desperately needed. Perkins has shown about half of what Coach Scott Brooks hoped for, with Nick Collison showing the other half.
Perkins has gotten frustrated with his play, as well as close to all of Thunder Nation. Would Sam Presti have signed the extension with Perkins in 2011 if he was producing so poorly like this? I doubt it, but hopefully Perkins picks it up and finds his role in the offense better as Round 2 is now underway.
The media has been doubting the Thunder big time when It comes to the newly arrived series against the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies. ESPN in particular was brutal; only two of their sixteen experts picked the Thunder to win the series, both in seven games.
However, the Thunder pulled the series their way after a 93-91 victory. Kevin Durant lead the team with 35 points, including a go-ahead game winner with 11.1 seconds left.
Durant's second game-winner in the two series this Playoffs is impressing everybody aware of the situation. He's practically carrying the team on his back, with court general Westbrook watching from a box. The things he's done since Westbrook's injury are incredible. I've never seen things like this done, 32.5 points per game, including a 41 and a 38 point game, with two game-winners. He's proving he IS one of the best players in the league.
Hello all! I'm a brand new writer for WTLC. My name is Alex Strouf. I'm a huge Thunder fan from Wisconsin. You can find me on Twitter @LetsGoAlex and on Spreecast every Wednesday night!