A couple posts ago I discredited the Thunder for its lack of post scoring and dependence on the outside shot. Though I am unwavering in this contention, I’ve noticed a major positive that may help them through the Western Conference playoffs – poise on the road.
Case in point – Feb 1. Thunder @ Mavs. OKC held the lead all game, but Dallas mounted a furious rally to tie with two minutes left. The first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter saw the Thunder turn the ball over, force long distance shots late in the clock and allow Dirk and Jason Terry to assume control on offence.
Timeout OKC. Next five possessions –
1) Westbrook sticks open two. 87-85 OKC.
3) Durant posts up and nails a 15 footer. 89-85.
5) Westbrook drills three. 92-85. 1 minute left.
This week OKC won close games on a back-to-back at Portland then Golden State and lost a tight one at Sacramento last night.
It’s encouraging to see the mental toughness of a burgeoning young team. In a horrendous schedule every team has thrown away road games either in favour of conserving energy or because it couldn’t fight through the mental fatigue from facing a rabid away crowd. The Thunder are showing us they can handle themselves in any environment, which bodes well for the post-season.
Shaquille O’neal is the runaway leader for most atrocious announcer, but Reggie Miller isn’t far behind. He is an arrogant, condescending, non-inciteful jerk. Commentating last week’s Bulls-Knicks game, he had this gem after Derrick Rose went for a steal and found himself out of position after failing to come up with the swipe:
“You’re Derrick Rose,” Great start. “If you gamble for a steal again you gotta be sure you’re gonna come up with it.”
Last I checked gambles weren’t sure things.
This was disgusting. Everyone’s hailing this as the dunk of the year. One problem – this isn’t a dunk. Just like this isn’t a dunk. A real jam must involve the hand(s) clutching the rim. That little hang on the rim caps one of the most fierce and artistic plays in sports. Though Blake Griffin may have produced the highlight of the year, he is not on the list for best slam.