We meet once again. Glad you came back. I missed you. I truly did. A lot of things have happened since we last met so lets get right to it.
Photo bomb Award - Hasheem Thabeet
Not only is Thabeet seeing an increase in playing time with the injury to Kendrick Perkins, he is also winning at life.
Brain Fart Award - Dwight Howard
I can only assume that once Howard got under the basket he saw a white guy wearing red and figured it had to be Chandler Parsons or Donatas Motiejunas. I see no flaw in that logic. Howard's reaction after is pretty good as awell.
Why You Mad Bro? - Patrick Beverley
If you had the first timeout of the game square on your "Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley get into it" board then please come forward and collect your prize.
As much as everyone tried to downplay this match up, we all knew something was like that was going to happen whenever Westbrook came up the court looking to call a timeout. Westbrook had to know that was going to happen because that is what Beverley does. Just ask Damian Lillard, Udonis Haslem, or any player on any team that has played against Beverley this season.
Incredible Hulk Award - Russell Westbrook
Beverley should feel lucky that Westbrook only dropped 24-4-7 on him because it could have been way worse. Just ask Ken Bazemore.
That dunk and the next two possessions were the epitome of Russell Westbrook and why he is so polarizing. He had that monster dunk (if you already forgot what it looked like, feel free to go watch it a few more times) then on defensive end he dove on the ground after a loose ball and helped the Thunder get the possession back. So what did he do after those two great plays? He took a three early in the shot clock and air balled it. I truly love some many things about Westbrook and that sequence made me love him even more. Never change Russ. Never. Speaking of dunks...
Sprite Slam Dunk Award - Serge Ibaka
I don't if you remember the old Grant Hill Sprite commercial from back in the day but I do. if not here it is for your viewing pleasure
Any and every single time I see someone brick a dunk I think of that commercial. Oddly enough I never ever drink Sprite. So...naturally it came to mind during the Lakers game on Serge Ibaka's attempt:
Serge Ibaka came up juuuuuuuust a little short http://t.co/bkX70whioY— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) March 9, 2014
Air Congo was not cleared for take off.
That 80's Look - Kevin Durant
WTLC's own Sarah Rogers was able to tweet out a picture of the Slim Reaper's post game attire.
KD talking to the media after the win over the Rockets. pic.twitter.com/7ZBKAjzzBS— Sarah Dewberry (@Mz_ESPN) March 12, 2014
I love that KD has a very understated wow factor to his outfits. It is the perfect Yin to Westbrook's Yang. Rev Run would be very proud of Durant's latest effort. By the way...after seeing this photo there is no way KD is shedding the Slim Reaper nickname. I mean that outfit totally screams someone who would have a nickname with the word 'Reaper' in it.
Ice Skates Award - Tony Wroten
RIP Ray McCallum
Danger Zone - Kevin Durant
If you don't believe me, just ask the Rockets. If you don't have the time or the means to ask them here is some visual proof.
Walter White Empire Scale - 6 (Previous 4)
The Thunder have has their fair of issues since the All-Star break losing 5 of 8, but for my money they are issues that have tangible goals. For some reason they keep letting leads slip away and the transition defense leaves so much to be desired. That being said, there are some things they are doing that I love, one of which is Russell Westbrook is returning to form. The win/loss record since his return isn't there yet but the last few games have shown that he has regained his athleticism is still there. Another thing I love is having Perry Jones start for the injured Thabo Sefolosha. He has a chance to be a big factor for the Thunder in the post season. It took some time but in his second season he has begun to find his place on the team and he gives the Thunder another super long player to make their defense that much better. Also, if PJIII can continue to develop that corner three he could become a similar threat from that spot that we see with many players in the Spurs system.
The Thunder are still a really good team but they are not the dominate team we saw in December and January. A lot criticism towards the Thunder comes off as nitpicking because that is exactly what it is. I nitpick at the Thunder because that is what happens when you are as good as the Thunder and great things are expected of you. To quote philosopher and Fox and Hound enthusiast Marty Hart, "A man's game charges a man's price." The Thunder are playing a man's game now and this is the price of the game.
Follow me on twitter @craig_a_brenner