Archive - March 2012

The View from Loud City: Westbrook off the market?

Sorry ladies. It looks as if Russell Westbrook has a girlfriend.  From what Mediatakeout.com is reporting. Her name is Nina, she’s a studying medicine right now. I mean, it was just a matter of time before someone snatched him up. He’s a young, successful man. I guess he got bored, and found himself a girlfriend.

Here’s what the site is reporting:

Most NBA ballers are quick to WIFE UP a dancer, or a skripper, or an “actress” . . . but not NBA superstar Russell Westbrook. You see RUSSELL has some SENSE . . . he got himself a COLLEGE GIRL, who is studying MEDICINE.

Nina was out on Spring Break, so she was able to go on the road with RUSS for the last couple of weeks . . . and they sent out pics.

We like Russell a LITTLE BIT MORE after learning THIS about him .

Here are pictures of the couple.

 

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Meltdown: Laker’s style

Courtesy of FLCelticFan, here are the Laker fan’s comments from last night games. It starts out so bright for them, but with a thunderous crash, Westbrook shut them up.. well kinda.. Here it is..

Lakers fans are so lame.  They start out so blustery and puffed up and bragging on all their players and in the end are ready to amnesty them all and throw every one under the bus.   Oh, and I haven’t seen a fanbase complain so much about the refs but yet gets so many calls other than the Heat.  Enjoy 

I really think LA will show up with a purpose in this game, and look to take it to OKC. And Harden was definitely trash talking Kobe last time. I think Kobe will come at aggressive.

I doubt Kobe will even shoot good this game despite what Harden was doing last game… Just seems like it’s impossible for him to have a good game anymore.

Our bigs will dance all over theirs. They got nothing inside but over rated porkins and ibaka. We’ll rule the boards and the paint.

Kobe is going to show everyone who the big dog is and who the puppies are. Watch out, Beard Boy because the Barber Man is coming…

I hope he crushes the Thunder but then again he’s old

This is a blowout win.

Bynum with the game winning three.

This should be a win if the team decides to play on defense. Kobe’s gonna get his payback on Harden. (I hope he brings a razor to shave that stupid beard).

In before Harden owns Kobe again.

Fisher is in OKC as a double agent to sabotage them. Just like how Odom is a double agent to Sabotage the Mavs…. Now… If only Kapono was on the Spurs

This is gonna be a very emotional game, I just hope Pau doesn’t break down at mid court when he sees Fish.

Anyway, biggest game of the year, we are at home facing the top dog in the West with our new young PG Sessions. This will be a definite measure stick to where we stand at this point and how good we can be.

I think we can (and will) win this. This is a statement game.

This is a blowout waiting to happen. With a shaky chemistry and even more shaky coach, this game doesn’t bode well for the Lakers.

Bite ya tongue my boy!!!! Not gonna happen.. Kobe remmy Harden’s trash talk…. Fisher going there? We gonna CRUSH em!!!

Yup, if it’s a blowout, I think it’d be the Lakers blowing out OKC

I want Kobe to destroy Harden..

GaSTRONG looking good tonight!!! They have no answer for Pau

How can you reject Peace?!?! Perkins wants War.

Perkins a laker in 2013

So… Apparently, same old story… Westbrook blowing by our PG

Yes, we call that a top 5 PG. They are unique creatures.

Artest getting away with a lot of contact, good for us

WE ARE GETTING JOBBED by this ref crew

This [expletive] Ibaka is beating everything

Yo Bynum Talking Mad [expletive] to Perkins………….I Like That!

Ibaka is a beast.

We need to get Ibaka

Fisher seeing first hand what Sessions is all about

I hate Perkins ..

We look elite tonight

Is there any call Pau won’t argue?

We punkin those punks lol

Who’s ‘old’ now OKC? Huh????

Wow….did fisher really just blow by us????? Fisher never made layups for us

See if Ibaka can hit that shot why can’t Pau? Last week or so since the Dallas game hes’ been getting that wide open 15 footer and hes been bricking it

Fish > Lakers Bench

Pau has been garbage

Blake just sucks soooo badly! I want fisher back!

We should have traded Blake and kept fish

Id Trade Steve Blake for Athletes foot right now.. Str8 up

PAU IS SOFT AS (bleep)!

Harden was fouled by Metta…we got away with one.

Durant is too good.

I’m so sick of the Thunder. I don’t like their players. I don’t like their state. I don’t like their backstabbing owners. I don’t like their uniforms. I don’t like their fans. I just don’t like them!!

Pau’s inconsistent jumper is really annoying. Thunder are daring him to shoot it too. His missed jumpers were all wide open. He’s scared to take it inside

Kobe pisses me off so much lately. He can’t shoot. He can’t drive. His D is awful.

So now that we’re behind, can we be allowed to play, and can they get called for their fouls?

Murphy is garbage

Perkins straight up dogging us

Wow, how long does Bynum have to get hacked and pushed to get a foul? Nope. Travel

OKC is gonna run us out of the building they are THAT good

OKC can’t play with us even up. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they apparently aren’t going to have to…

The refs killed this game for us with 3 quick fouls on Pau.

Seriously amnesty Kobe. (bleep) pissing me off.

Man, OKC is really too good.

Finally a T on these primadonnas

OKC should really shut up, they’ve been getting away with murder all night long, hacking, shoving, pushing, moving screens.

Refs trying to help us, we need it.

No, the refs are just being wildly inconsistent

What is concerning is the Lakers came into this game ready to play.

Westbrook is the best PG in the NBA and I know of Derek Rose and Chris “Floppy” Paul

Westbrook on fire damn…thought this guy can’t shoot?

We’re giving Perkins anything he wants.

When Perkins is making midrange shots you know your gonna lose

Westbrook Gonna get shanked tonight Ala Paulina pierce

How come Perkins has 12 pts?

Too bad Westbrook couldn’t have gotten his wish and became a Laker

You aren’t kidding. He is the best PG right now in the league and I am aware of Rose, Williams, Paul and Rondo.

Thunder can thank the officials for this quarter. Those three fouls in 2 minutes on gasol were a game changer.

Seriously, Kobe is a joke. I’d honestly give Mike Brown a standing O if he benches this bum.

You sneeze on Westbrook and a whistle is blown

Thunder are some young cocky little (bleep) god I hate em

Westbrook needs to get kicked in the face to get that smug look off. The list is short of players with faces that I hate more than Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook just beat the Lakers in one quarter. He had like 15 in the third. He is very very good. And very very cocky.

They’re killing us on the boards….just killing us.

We should have traded Pau when we had the chance.

This is Westbrook’s stage. We’re all just witnesses. 14 point game.

The Thunders are like a diesel machine.

Way to come out and make a statement tonight! Too bad that statement was we are a bunch of overpaid head cases who will be out of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion once again.

MIKE BROWN CAN NOT COACH! HE NEEDS TO BENCH HIMSELF@!!

Lakers as a team look headed into retirement trying to keep up with these Thunder.

Let’s amnesty MWP right now. Utterly worthless.

Blow up this team. But first fire that moron Mike Brown.

Now we are just getting embarrassed

This game is so fix. Dmn zebras letting lakers back in, then they’ll kill it.

Too bad we have Mr. Potato Head for our head coach…

These refs are a (bleep) DISGRACE

Hope Westbrook gets tired and slows himself down

Thug and physical play from the Thunder. Every time an announcer said, “Perkins/Sefalosha/Collison came over to help — I thought, “Don’t you mean came over to hurt?

I’m starting to hate the OKC Thunder as much as I used to hate the Kings. We have a new conference rival. They’re going down in the playoffs.

Stern is laughing at you. His boys are playing Miami in the finals. Book it.

There is no way these prairie dogs are beating us in the playoffs. Not in a 7 game series. We’re taking them out It’s getting to the point where whoever wins the West wins the championship again. I want OKC spitting blood!

Let’s not start being delusional. Okc is the better team. Kobe is near his end. He can’t dominate for ever. Its OKC’s time right now accept it and move on.

No they’re not. They’re frauds. They’re not tough. That is a VERY beatable team.

OKC showed tonight and against Miami they’re not messing around. Hopefully they can steal that Championship from Miami!

SA could knock out OKC, but I don’t see SA knocking out Miami. I can actually see OKC knocking out Miami..

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Thunder run Lakers out of the building

Oklahoma City found its self in a hole. Their MVP candidate was struggling from the floor, Lakers were scoring at will and nothing else seemed to be going right for Oklahoma City. However, after all was said and done, Oklahoma City ran the Lakers out of their own building using a second half surge that ended with a 102-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Oklahoma City improved to 39-12 on the season, including 17-8 on the road.

Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum came out and were ready to play some basketball as they pushed an early first half lead from as low as a single point, to as many as 12 points at the end of the first quarter at 30-18. Then, Oklahoma City slowly started back in the game. A quick 6-0, then a nice 10-2 run, next thing you know, Oklahoma City is right there at the end of the half. Which was capped off by a Serge Ibaka jumper at the buzzer that gave Oklahoma City just a five point deficit at halftime at 44-49.

The Thunder continued what they started at the end of the first half. They sprinted out to a 52-49 lead, which spotted a 15-0 run for Oklahoma City. The Thunder didn’t stop there, they lead 57-50 early in the third quarter before the Lakers tried to make a run. Russell Westbrook would have none of it. He really just took over the second half.

The Russell Westbrook show started in the third quarter. Westbrook scored 13 of the final 17 points in the third quarter as Oklahoma expanded the lead from three to 10 points.  He finished with 29 in the second half. Westbrook had 19 points in the third quarter. The best part about the stat is that, the Lakers also had 19 points in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was just more of the same. Westbrook attributed 10 points in the fourth quarter and Durant had a monstorious dunk all over Pau Gasol. Oklahoma City led by as many 18 points in the fourth as Oklahoma City was able to really relax towards the end. Oklahoma City would walk off with the 102-93 win.

The win puts Oklahoma City within three games of clinching the Northwest Division. At this pace, Oklahoma City could possibly clinch the division Monday vs. Memphis.

Post Game Grades

Make Threes: A-
Oklahoma City didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet from three-point range. However, OKC did shoot 5-12 from three-point. That’s 41%. Which is very solid. James Harden was 2-3 from deep and boy were they both daggers.

Points off Turnovers: A
There wasn’t a lot of turnovers here. OKC just forced 13 turnovers. However, they turned those 13 turnovers into 13 points. Unlike their counterparts, who didn’t do much with the Thunder 10 turnovers. Very good job on the recovery and enforcement of this.

Second Unit: C
The Thunder won the second unit contest (20-16). James Harden wasn’t exactly himself. However, they had a lot more of an impact than the Lakers second unit.

Thunder Thoughts

  • I cannot begin to put into human words how great Russell Westbrook was tonight. I think he’s the best point guard in the league right now. He had 29 second half points and just one turnover, and he was called for a travel that one time. The cross over and buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter just really capped off what was already turning into a great night for the Honey badger.
  • Westbrook struggled to shoot well in the first half. However, he really kept his composure and kept grinding and putting the ball on the floor. I have one real qualm about Westbrook tonight. He complained way too much. Couple of times Sessions got up the floor and the Lakers had a fast break scoring.
  • Durant really struggled from the floor for most of the game. He finished 10-22 from the floor. However, he did SO much that wasn’t about scoring tonight. Defense, rebounding, etc. He was just all over the place. When his shot wasn’t falling, he got involved. You know, what MVP’s do.
  • Kevin Durant had zero free throw attempts in this game. I can’t remember the last time that this happened. It’s happened, I’m sure.
  • The seven points by Derek Fisher in the second quarter were huge. Oklahoma City was really struggling to keep with the Lakers. The seven points helped OKC spur off a 9-6 run to end the half.
  • Also, Fisher’s tribute video before the game was fantastic. Nothing but class from the Laker organization on that move.
  • Thabo Sefolosha’s defense is just so awesome. He held Kobe to just 7-25 today. He finished 2-14 in the second half.
  • Perkins, Perkins, Perkins… the “Yung Hawg” got his 12th technical of the season. He’s 1 away from being suspended. I believe this one MAY be rescidned, but don’t be surprised if it’s not.
  • Speaking of technical fouls – KD got a tech. What kind of karma will that official get for T’ng up KD?
  • Nick Collison beat Pau Gasol like he did something wrong and he made him like it. Gasol played a horrible game, finishing with just 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting and six rebounds.
  • Do the Lakers forget they have two 7-footers on the interior? They forget to go to them in late game situations. Bynum really played well, but the Lakers went away from him. I’m sure some of that is on Kobe, but I don’t know what else you could put it on, really.
  • I will say the Thunder really just ran the Lakers out of the buildings. Figuratively and literally. OKC outscored the Lakers 25-8 in fast break points.
  • I tweeted midway through the first quarter: Elite teams must win big road games. You can win the games at home, that’s great, but championship teams win the big road games (see: Dallas last year). and this team did just that. They kept it close, even though the first half was bad, and then really pounced on them in the second half.
  • Oklahoma City is three games away from clinching their second straight Northwest Division title. In all honesty, both Utah and Denver have two games by the next time Oklahoma City plays, but OKC can clinch the division by Monday if Utah and Denver lose both of their games. Could be a huge sweat off OKC’s back if they could clinch that going into the Miami game.
  • As awesome as this is, I still don’t think Oklahoma City is the best team in the league. I’m going to leave that for the San Antonio Spurs. You may disagree with me. However, I think OKC is #2, and they can’t beat the Spurs when they’re healthy, so Spurs are #1
  • Overall, just a really impressive win. I wonder if Oklahoma City has ever had a June parade? If not, they really need to start planning it. It might be the single most unproductive day in the history of Oklahoma City.

Next up: vs. Chicago

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Game Day #51: Thunder at Lakers

Oklahoma City Thunder (38-12, 16-8 road) at Los Angeles Lakers (31-19, 20-4 home)

 vs.  

Where: The Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
When: 9:30 p.m.
TV:
 TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the EnemyHere.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Lakers
PG Russell Westbrook Ramon Sessions
SG Thabo Sefolosha Kobe Bryant
SF Kevin Durant Metta World Peace
PF Serge Ibaka Pau Gasol
C Kendrick Perkins Andrew Bynum
6th Man James Harden Matt Barnes

Last time: Oklahoma City ran the Lakers out of town on national television 100-85 during a 5 game winning streak for the Thunder right before the All-Star break.

The Los Angles Lakers are a team that’s really hard to figure out. They have a lot of internal turmoil going on right now. I want to say it started Sunday in the loss to the Grizzlies. Coach Mike Brown benched Kobe Bryant for a stint in the fourth quarter. Kobe was not happy with this, and assaulted a chair near by. Then Tuesday night, Bynum and Brown also had issues. Bynum said he wouldn’t stop shooting threes, and planned to shoot them tonight against the Thunder.

The Lakers acquired point guard Ramon Sessions at the trade deadline, however, the Lake show is just 4-3 since getting him. They are, however, 3-1 in their last four games. Maybe they’re learning to play together.

This is also the first game for the Lakers against Derek Fisher since the Lakers traded him at the deadline. Fisher didn’t field any questions from the LA media. However, he did issue this statement:

“First and foremost, I’m excited to be back in the city, excited to see my friends and brothers that I consider teammates from when I was here. I’m excited to see those guys. I’m excited to see my extended type of friends sitting courtside, ticket holders, people I grew close to over the years when I was here. It’s only been a couple weeks, but it seems like so much longer, so I’m excited to get back and see everyone.

          “Like I said last week, the place that this city and these fans and everyone I grew close to over the years, they and this place will always, always hold a very special place in my heart. That will never change, but due to a number of different circumstances, I’m in Oklahoma City now and I’m extremely happy to be (in OKC). This is a very special situation, just a great group of players, a great group of guys, the staff, the community, just the right fit at the right time coming off what took place and I’m just as happy as I can be in Oklahoma City and everything that’s gone on. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing some basketball tonight in front of what used to be the home crowd. Coming in individually, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun. There’s a lot on the line in terms of the two teams, but it’s just exciting.

“I’m thankful to you guys for the support you showed me over the years, even in good words and sometimes critical words. It was always with respect and appreciation for what I brought to my teams as best I could. I will always be thankful for the support in the media as we spend time at the court just like this over the years. So I’ll see you all tonight when I get a chance to speak in a little bit more detail. I’m trying to get back (on the court) and get some shots, and make a few later on tonight.”

The Thunder is riding a four game win streak since Fisher has arrived in OKC. They’re winning by an average 15.5 points per game. So, to say, OKC are blowing teams out since he arrived. This is just another big game in line of a bunch of big games for Oklahoma City. The Thunder are showing why they’re one of the elite teams in the league.

Injuries: None for the Lakers and Cook is out for the Thunder

Keys to the game

Make threes
The Thunder are shooting just 33% on the road from behind the arc. They need to hit some key threes if they’re going to battle against this tough home Laker team. OKC actually struggled from three-point range last time these two met.

Points off turnovers
The Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league at turning the ball over at home. (27 of 30). OKC needs to force turnovers, and turn those turnovers into points.

Second Unit
With Derek Fisher running a lot of the second offense, or supposed to be, I’m curious on how they’ll keep the Laker second team in check. Last time the Thunder dominated the second team battle (26-11). 

 

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OKC Big 3 goes for 78 in big win over Blazers, 109-95.

Oklahoma City trailed for a split second in the first quarter, but never looked back as Oklahoma City led by as many as 21 points in the first half. Portland made a run of it in the third quarter, cutting it to five points, but Russell Westbrook said no more and helped Oklahoma City push it to 18 points on mulitple occasions. Oklahoma City Oklahoma City came out on fire and never let up.

Portland led 3-2 in the first quarter, but Oklahoma City came out, pushed it to an 8-3 lead early on, and never was remotely close in the first half. Kevin Durant grabbed two early fouls in the first quarter and was sent to the bench midway through. So, Westbrook stepped up and had 8 points, 4 assists in the first quarter as Oklahoma City dominated and led 32-18 after one.

The second quarter saw a Durant explosion. Kevin Durant finished the second quarter 5-5 and finished the first half with 15 first half points. Oklahoma City used a flurry of turnovers and bad shot selections by Portland to extend an already 14 point first quarter lead to a 21 point lead late in the quarter. Oklahoma City led 65-44 late in the second quarter. The Thunder would go on to hold a 65-47 lead at the break.

Portland wouldn’t go down without a fight though. After Oklahoma City pushed it to a 20 point lead early on, the Blazers would slowly chip away at the lead. Then they took it down to five points with 4:43 to go in the third quarter at 71-66. Then Westbrook took over. Westbrook would score the next six points for the Thunder as they extended the lead to 77-68. Both teams traded buckets to end the quarter with the Thunder up 84-75 after three quarters.

Then Westbrook took it over. He had 10 fourth quarter points. Oklahoma City never really were threatened again by the Blazers as they pushed the lead to 109-91, and the Blazers did score the game final five points of the game. Oklahoma City improved to 38-12 and 16-8 on the road. They moved to within five game of clinching the divisional title for the second straight year.

Post Game Grades

Limit Turnovers: B
Oklahoma City only had 14 turnovers. They did a really good job at limiting turnovers until the second half. Oklahoma City had 11 going into the fourth quarter, but second and third team caused some in the final couple of minutes.

Russell Westbrook: A+
The Honey Badger had 32 points, 8 assists in 35 game minutes. Only real flack I have to say about Westbrook is he went 0-3 from the free throw line.  No one on the Trail Blazers could cover him at all. He was just on fire int he second half. He had 20 points in the second half. He had 12 points and 7 assists in the first half.

Control the Noise: A
Oklahoma City jumped on the Blazers early and never let up. Portland made a run, but the Thunder did a really good job of putting this team away in the third and fourth quarters to really stomp out any chance of getting the crowd involved. This is what elite teams do.

No Thunder Thoughts due to the late tip-off, sorry. Will be back for the Laker’s game.

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Game Day #50: Thunder at Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder (37-12, 15-8 road) at Portland Trail Blazers (23-26, 16-8 home)

 at 

Where: The Rose Garden – Portland, OR
When
: 9:00 p.m. CST
TV
:  FS Oklahoma (679 Directv, 37 Cox, 754 AT&T U-Verse, 416 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Spurs
PG Russell Westbrook Nolan Smith
SG Thabo Sefolosha Wesley Matthews
SF Kevin Durant Nicolas Batum
PF Serge Ibaka Lamarcus Aldridge
C Kendrick Perkins Joe Pryzbilla
6th Man James Harden Jamal Crawford

Last time:  Oklahoma City thumped the newly remodeled Blazers at the ‘Peake in fine fashion, 111-95.

Oklahoma City is coming off a very big win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Now they must refocus against a team that looks to head into a rebuilding mode. However, players like Nicholas Batum haven’t forgetten about what happened last time these two met here in Portland.  Matt Calkins of the Columbian talked about how it was a turning point of the season for the Blazers.

“I don’t know if I think about that every day, but I think about it very often,” continued Batum, adding that he thought that was the most significant game of the season. “When all the trades happened, I thought ‘if I had made that shot, this would be totally different.’ ”

“That definitely was a landmark point of the season. That was a big moment. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t,” Blazers guard Jamal Crawford said of the goaltending game. “That was kind of the moment where things started getting a little funny.”

That said, this isn’t the same match up. Portland isn’t as intimidating as they were early in the season. It seems that the front office is ready to try and rebuild this thing all over again.

That said, Portland since the trade, has pulled off a couple of nice wins over Chicago IN Chicago and Beat Memphis last week. So, they aren’t a push over.

Keys to the game

Limit Turnovers
Oklahoma City has struggled in the past against turning it over versus this team. Even without Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby, the Blazers manage to force four more turnovers and help force it into 10 extra shots for the them.

Russell Westbrook
No one can stop this kid. Only one who could remotely defend him was Felton, and he’s out tonight for personal reasons. If Westbrook gets hot and on a roll, this Blazers team could be in for a very long evening.  However, if he struggles and allows this crowd to get into his head, might be a big ball game.

Control the noise
The Rose Garden is by far one of the best venues in sports. Fans know basketball. They love basketball. That said, it can be a very intimidating place to play. Oklahoma City really needs to come out and set the tone early. You cannot let this crowd into the game. We’ve seen in past games where this crowd has really effected how Oklahoma City plays.

 

 

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Thunder Links – March 26, 2012

Kevin Durant almost ended up at North Carolina, not Texas. Durant had decided on North Carolina, but at the last minute, (North Carolina coach Roy) Williams made a brain-numbing decision with his lone remaining ride,” Feinberg said. “He tabled Durant and chose Brandan Wright instead. Think Roy regrets that one? Durant landed on his feet, choosing wisely. One of the important reasons for Texas was its great strength and conditioning coach, Todd Wright. (Cont…)

Conflicting reports on Derek Fisher’s contract. According to HoopsWorld, Derek Fisher will make $395,417 from the Thunder after signing as an unrestricted free agent last Wednesday. However, during OKC’s 103-87 victory at home against the Miami Heat on Sunday night, ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted: “Tidbit to enhance your Heat-OKC viewing: Sources briefed on deal say Derek Fisher’s rest-of-season contract with Thunder is for $2.3 million.” (Cont…)

KD over Lebron for the MVP? NBA’s Sekou Smith discusses it. That shadow boxing routine LeBron James and Dwyane Wadedid before Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder might have been more appropriate had James and Kevin Durant done it. Well, Durant showed up and showed out — in what, for most of the night, was truly a head-to-head matchup James. The Heat star, on the other hand, continued the struggles that have plagued him the past week and a half. He finished with a pedestrian-by-his-standards 17 points, seven assists, four turnovers and three rebounds. One game does not a MVP make, but if you are trying to find ways to separate the two of them, head-to-head competition is a great place to start. And Durant dominated this matchup. (Cont…)

KD and company are the best in the West. In a game allegedly pitting two title contenders against each other, it looked like both teams had different goals in mind. The Thunder came out aggressive, assertive, not looking only to win and gain an advantage over the Heat in the standings, but dominate them all night long. The Miami Heat looked like a bunch of guys who can’t wait to get out of dodge and get this road trip. (Cont…)

Aggrey Sam evaluates the West Contenders. OKC is the best. Two-time reigning NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant’s ability to score one-on-one against any competition was certainly illuminated, as he took on LeBron James, regarded as one of the league’s top individual defenders and not only scored at will, but appeared to sap James’ energy on the other end of the floor. Meanwhile, All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook didn’t have one of his recent high-scoring games, but was a solid distributor, providing opportunities for defensive-oriented inside players Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, while sixth-man extraordinaire James Harden also picked up the slack. (Cont…)

OKC Bigs kick the Heat, and writers eat crow Let us be the first to snack on the sautéed crow that comes along with snap reactions of that sort. Thunder bigs Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka had spectacular performances in Sunday’s statement win over the Heat, dominating the paint on both ends of the floor as the Heat’s bigs struggled to match their effort, intensity and production. Ibaka scored 19 points and Perkins 16, shooting a combined 16-for-21 from the floor. Ibaka grabbed 10 rebounds, Perkins six as they imposed their will around the basket all game long. Chris Bosh,Udonis Haslem, Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony were simply no match for them on the big stage (or as big as the regular season stage can get). (Cont…)

If you forgot, Perkins kicked Wade in the face (on accident, I think). I mean, Kendrick Perkins’ right foot definitely hit the face of Dwyane Wade after this fourth-quarter dunk during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s convincing 103-87 primetime win over the visiting Miami Heat. On that score, we can certainly all agree. So if your definition of a kick is “when one person’s foot makes contact with another person’s body, especially in an adversarial situation/environment,” then sure, this could be characterized as a kick. Judging by his reaction to the play, it seems fair to say that Wade views it that way; as someone whose face thankfully (thus far) has remained untouched by Kendrick Perkins’ feet, it probably wouldn’t be fair for me to say that Dwyane’s feelings are invalid. (Cont…)

Non-Thunder news to mention, worth it though. Lebron is becoming harder to dislike. But before you bring out the torches and pitchforks, you might want to hear this story about LeBron, a layover in Oklahoma City and a run-in with some servicemen. Refueling a massive airplane takes time, so according to an airport worker who witnessed the entire scene, the players got off the jet and went inside the general aviation terminal at Will Rogers World Airport. Some lounged in chairs. Others stretched their legs. Most stayed in their own little world. Not LeBron. He noticed a couple of uniformed military personnel approach the team’s security person. Unbeknown to him, about a dozen helicopters were stopped there for fuel as well. There were Blackhawks and Apaches and Chinooks, all on long-distance flights. Will Rogers happened to be their refueling stop. (Cont…)

Lebron & KD had intense workouts this summer. For five days last summer, the two NBA superstars came together for one of the most grueling workout routines they have experienced in their careers. With only a few weeks before the playoffs, James is crediting those grueling workouts for contributing to one of the best seasons of his career. “Monday through Friday, twice a day, and it was one of the toughest weeks that we’ve both had as far as workouts,” James said. “But it was some great work, and we got a lot out of it.”  (Cont…)

Mayberry says Collison will be huge in a Finals match up with Miami. With all the star power on both teams, and the highlight potential, it’s Collison’s ability to draw charges that could shape the complexion of a playoff series. With the Thunder having him as its last line of defense, Collison can erase mistakes out on the perimeter by stepping in and taking a charges on the Heat’s wing players. He showed it tonight. (Cont…)

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Thunder Cool Heat, win 103-87

The Oklahoma City Thunder trailed early in the second quarter to the Miami Heat. It lasted 18 seconds. James Harden hit three free throws and Oklahoma City grabbed the two point lead and never looked back. The Thunder used a near triple-double from MVP candidate Kevin Durant to run the Heat out of the building 103-87. The Thunder improved to 37-12 and 22-4 at home.

It was built as a potential NBA Finals match up between two elite teams. Both teams were tied for the second best winning percentage in the league. However, it was just one team that really was consistent all night.  Oklahoma City shot really well in the first quarter, even though the only held onto a one point game after the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was the Kevin Durant look-at-me-now show. Durant went off in the second quarter for 11 explosive points. One that was punctuated by a huge alley oop pass from Russell Westbrook.  Oklahoma City took their biggest lead of the first half off a Harden dunk that made the score 55-42 with 2:00 to go until half. Oklahoma City would go into halftime with a 60-49 lead.

The second half had a lot more defense than the first half. Oklahoma City really struggled to score in the third quarter. Credit a pretty decent Miami defense accompanied by bad shooting in the quarter. However, Oklahoma City never quit. They were able to push the lead to as many as 14 in the quarter. It was not to be there for long as Dwayne Wade hit a 65 foot buzzer beater to end the quarter at 80-69.

The fourth quarter was more great defense from the Thunder. However, it was the Kendrick Perkins explosion party that really just set the tone for the end of the game. Check out the clip to see what I’m talking about:

Oklahoma City would push their lead to as many as 16 multiple times before finally getting it to 16 at the very end. Some three point shooting really kept Miami in the ballpark for most of the game. There were a couple of times where Miami did get it to 9 points. Even once they got it to 8, but Oklahoma City would not allow them any closer.

Post Game Grades

Defense: A
Oklahoma City held the “vaunted” Heat to 87 points, while forcing 21 turnovers. I said if OKC could hold Miami under their season average (48%), they’d have a really good chance. They did. They held them to 46% shooting from the field. Not to mention, the turnovers were just as impressive. They turned 21 Miami turnovers into 28 points.

Rebounding: A
Oklahoma City won the rebounding battle by five boards. However, most importantly, they only allowed FOUR offensive rebounds. They held the Heat to just six second chance points. It was a very impressive game overall on the rebounding side of it.

James Harden: A
The Miami Heat did not have an answer for this guy. He was 6-7 from the floor and 6-7 from the free throw line for 19 points. He was a cool +10 from the floor in 32 game minutes. Only real negative from this all? Harden had 7 turnovers.

Thunder Thoughts

  • How about the energy of the Thunder? They came out and really just exploded and it helped surge them through all Heat runs.
  • I was very impressed with how Oklahoma City handled Westbrook on the bench with three fouls in the first half. When he went out with his third foul, It was just a four point OKC lead. OKC Finished with an 11 point lead at halftime.
  • Kevin. Wayne. Durant. This cat was just impressive. He had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. He really just had Lebron’s James’ lunch all evening. What is even better about this is he was all over James defensively. James finished with 17 points on 18 shots. He also help force four LBJ turnovers.
  • If you would have told me before the game that Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins would have combined for 35 points on 16 of 21 shooting with 16 rebounds, I would have told you to turn off the video game.
  • Kendrick Perkins is averaging 11.3 points per game over his last three games. I don’t think I ever thought I’d see this from him in a Thunder uniform.
  • Russell Westbrook didn’t have the best offensive night. However, he was a huge headache defensively for the Heat. He had three steals and was very involved in forcing bad shot selections. I was really impressed with how he kept his composure even though he only made 4-of-16 shots
  • I knew three-point shooting was going to be key in this game. Both teams were top 11 in percentages. Had I had 4 keys to the game, It would have been number 4. That said, Oklahoma City forced the Heat to go 7-22 from the floor for 31.8% from behind the arc. While, the Thunder went 6-11 from three-point range.
  • Coincidence or not, Oklahoma City has improved to 3-0 since acquiring Derek Fisher. They’re winning by an average of 9 points a night.
  • The Thunder are now 18-3 when they have 20 or more assists. They had 26 tonight on 39 made baskets. Just so impressive.
  • Oklahoma City forced a lot of Miami turnovers tonight. Also, not allowing a lot of offensive rebounds, the Thunder were able to take a lot more shots than the Heat.  For most of the game, the Thunder had 8 shot advantage on the Heat until OKC started turning it over midway in the fourth quarter. OKC made 6 more shots on 3 extra chances than Miami.
  • Oklahoma City now has a magic number of seven games until they clinch the division and a playoff spot.

next up: at Portland – 9 pm tip-off

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Game Day #49: Heat at Thunder

Miami Heat (35-11, 15-9 road) at Oklahoma City Thunder (36-12, 21-4 home)

  vs. 

Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 7:00 p.m. CST
TV:
 ESPN (206 Directv, 28 Cox, 602 AT&T U-Verse, 140 Dish)
Online Stream: Here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Heat
PG Russell Westbrook Mario Chalmers
SG Thabo Sefolosha Dwayne Wade
SF Kevin Durant Lebron James
PF Serge Ibaka Chris Bosh
C Kendrick Perkins Joel Anthony
6th Man James Harden Martell Webster

Last time: The Thunder beat the Heat in Miami last season 96-85 on March 16, 2011.

Right in the middle of the NCAA tournament, a potential final match up will take place in Oklahoma City. The Miami Heat travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. Yeah, those Miami heat. Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and the King, Lebron James.

A lot of teams are intimidated by the names alone. However, the Heat haven’t beaten Oklahoma City since the Thunder acquired Kendrick Perkins from the Boston Celtics.  That’s just been one game though.

The Miami Heat are coming into tonight’s game on a four game winning streak. The most impressive thing is that all three of the big three led the Heat in scoring in the last four games. They’re not just the Wade and Lebron show. You still have to watch out for Bosh.

Both teams are the leading the league in field goal shooting, Miami is #1 and Oklahoma City is #2, respectively.  The Heat are also one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league. They can hit it down low, and if you leave them open, they’ll hit the deep ball.

Keys to the game

Defense
Oklahoma City hasn’t played great defense lately and as said before, Miami can really make the shots. Oklahoma City needs to really play some defense to have a shot in beating the Heat. If you can keep Miami under their season average, Oklahoma City will have a really good shot.

Rebounding
Oklahoma City and Miami are both in the bottom third of allowing offensive rebounds. Miami is middle of the road in the total rebounding category. So, keeping the Heat off the glass. No allowing second chance points. It’ll be key.

James Harden
James Harden is going to be tonight’s X-factor. I don’t think Miami has an answer for him. Harden needs to be aggressive for four quarters, not just in the first half or fourth quarter. I would love to see Harden take it to the next level based on the this competition.

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Kid Clutch out clutches Love, wins 149-140 in 2OT

Oklahoma City led by as many as 13 points in the first half, and it watched two three-point shots in the final 3.9 seconds of regulation. However, it took two overtimes, but Oklahoma City finally prevailed over the Minnesota Timberwolves 149-140. The Thunder won their second straight game for the first time since late february, improving to 36-12 on the season. OKC also improved to 21-4 at home.

Oklahoma City trailed early to the Timberwolves 17-10. However, from then until late in the fourth quarter, it was all Thunder. Oklahoma City came back and took a 30-29 lead at the end of the first quarter, led by James Harden who had 17 first half points. Oklahoma City pushed their lead to as much as 13 points at 49-36 midway through the second quarter.

It seemed like Oklahoma City would run away with the ball game, but back came Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves. They would hit 9-of-13 three-point shots in the first half, including one in the final 10 seconds of the half, to make it 63-61 at half.

It seemed like any time Oklahoma City would make a run in the second half, back came the T-Wolves.  The Thunder had pushed the lead to 88-79. However, the Wolves fought back, cutting the lead to 88-84 with about two minutes to go. Then Kevin Durant took over, scoring the final six points of the quarter, making it 94-88 after three quarters.

Oklahoma City pushed the lead up to as much as 98-91 in the fourth quarter. The Wolves would fight back, clawing back into it by finally hitting their threes in the second half. Love would have a big shot after another big shot for Minnesota. Including in the final seconds of the game.

Minnesota had just tied the game up at 113-113 with :27.3 seconds to go. Durant basically broke Anthony Tolliver’s ankles and hit the step by three-pointer from the top of the key with :03.9 remaining.  Kevin Love, the three-point champion, would not be outdone, as he hit a three-pointer from 25 feet out over Russell Westbrook with :1.0 to silence a roaring crowd and tied it up at 116 a piece.  Durant missed a chance in regulation to tie it up.

In the first overtime, it was basically all Timberwolves (See: Kevin Love) as they led for most of the overtime. With :46.3 seconds to go in overtime, the Timberwolves took a 129-124 on a JJ Barea punch out to Tolliver, who jammed it home. Oklahoma City looked dead on the spot.

However, it was Westbrook’s determination that scored quickly with :36 to go. Then it was Kevin Durant’s help side defense that forced Love to travel with :16.1 to go that gave Oklahoma City a chance. Then with :10.1 on the clock. Mr. Kid Clutch. K-Smooth. Durantula. Kevin Freakin’ Durant hit a three from the wing that tied it up at 129-129.

As the new saying goes: “If The ‘Peake is arockin’ don’t come a’knockin’.”

We headed to a second overtime where Oklahoma City grabbed the lead and never relinquished it.  Oklahoma City were up by four points numerous times. However, the Timberwolves made one final run at it, and cut the lead to 140-138 with 2:14 left. However, Durant and Westbrook battled and led this team on to victory. The win was capped off with Derek Fisher finally hitting a shot, making it 149-138 with :21 to go.

Post Game Grades

Points in the Paint: C
Well, it’s really hard to calculate this to a point. The Wolves had 56 points in the pain, in 56 minutes.  I would say, compared to the last game, they improved. It was really hard to stop Kevin Love to a point. The guy was just on it tonight.

Three-Point Shooting: B
I give this a B – on one condition. Derek Fisher STOP shooting threes. Fisher was 1-5 from three. You take that away. OKC is 9-22 and a pretty good percentage. I guess OKC was just set on getting him that basket…

Second Unit: C-
Okay, Originally wrote F.. then D.. but I stick with a C-. Yeah, they got severely outscored (44-61). However, credit the defense side. (I know what I just said) Collison’s defense at certain times on Love is why Serge Ibaka didn’t play much, if at all in overtime.

Thunder Thoughts

  • First thought is what you’re all thinking: What the hell Derek Fisher???!?!?!?! We didn’t bring this guy in to shoot shots. I want to honestly say he shot us into a double overtime game with a team that didn’t deserve to be in double-OT game with us. The 2-11 was really pathetic if you ask me. This guy was brought in to run the offense, and not shoot baskets. However, if he makes some baskets on the way, great.. that’s just the gravy on top. Dictate the second unit, but quit shooting up blanks.
  • Russell “Honey Badger” Westbrook was good westbrook tonight. Westbrook finished 17-28 from the floor and a cool 9-9 from the free throw line. His defense needed a lot of work. Which is disappointing coming off the game against Chris Paul. I guess we cannot come to expect that every time. He had a new career high of 45 points which was just so impressive. I wanted him to get 50.
  • I was really impressed with Kendrick Perkins for the most of the game. Minnesota really took him out of the game by going small. It happens. He was doing so well. He was 6-of-9 from the floor for 12 points and five rebounds. I wish we saw a lot more of the all around game we saw tonight from Perkins.
  • Man, how clutch is Durant? Seriously. Two HUGE threes. Had he missed them, OKC could have been going into the game with Miami as a loss.  He had just 10 points at halftime. He finished with 40. Just so outstanding. He was effiecent too. He was 15-26 from the floor and scored 40 points.  Durant also had 17 rebounds against the Wolves tonight. He just did it all.
  • The 149 points is a Thunder Franchise record. Previous record was 139 points April 6, 2010 at Utah. You know, the game where KD was mugged and there was a no call. Even the NBA said so.
  • Why didn’t James Harden get more opportunities? The Beard had a crisp 17 points at halftime, but finished with just 25. I hate the fact that I just said “just” 25 points. I don’t know if it was Fisher getting his shots, or what, but he just wasn’t getting the opportunities there.
  • Why wasn’t Thabo in there more? He was a +12 in 19 minutes. Yeah, he was 0-3 from the floor, but even coach Scott Brooks says he’s one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league, why not play him more? It makes no sense to me. He seems fine.
  • Oklahoma City was very exceptional at the line tonight. They finished 19-20 for 95%. That’s what we’ve come to expect from the league’s best free throw shooting team.
  • Oklahoma City won the rebounding category, and really just limited the extra chances for the Timberwolves. I think that was very key for the Thunder. They outrebounded by seven and didn’t allow more offensive rebounds than the Thunder had. Also, OKC only turned the ball over 12 times in 56 minutes. Might be a season best. OKC had 13 more shot attempts than Minnesota. It also led to 11 extra made baskets.
  • Now that said, looking at the stat book, there is NO reason why Oklahoma City goes to double overtime with this team. I honestly can’t think of something why this team goes to 2OT with this team. I want to blame Fisher. I want to put it on Love’s career and franchise night. I just can’t put a finger on it. Too many factors going into this game to why OKC didn’t win this walking way in double-digits.
  • Elias Bureau says Durant and Russell Westbrook first pair of teammates in NBA history to each score 40 points in same game twice  in season.
  • The Thunder are now just 9 games away from clinching the Northwest Division for the second straight year.
  • It’s the first time Oklahoma City has one back-to-back games in almost three weeks. Last time it happened was the wins over Dallas and Phoenix. Since then, they’ve alternated their last 9 games.

Next up: vs. Miami on Sunday – Big game.

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