Time for another starting five, coming off of a huge blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 122-105. 1. Before their clash with the Thunder last night, a few Lakers players pointed out that Oklahoma City was the toughest arena to play in. Period. The Thunder extended their home winning streak against the Lakers to 6 straight (including the playoffs), and continually bring the thunder on nights when the big market teams come calling. Last night was no different. This is a pretty cool article.
Undivided attention and intensity. No distractions. No celebs in 8-inch stilettos. No band-wagon fans. No Jack Nicholson. No championship banners. No chance of the perfectly polished wooden basketball floor flipping from Lakers to Clippers in just a couple hours time. Pure attention – the trigger to the “Loud City” creation, in which even opponents, like Dwight Howard find it fun to be a part of.(full story)
2. My whole Starting Five yesterday was devoted to articles on the Serge Ibaka “karate chop” on Blake Griffin, and the league finally spoke up yesterday afternoon and made a ruling. A $25,000 fine for Serge. What’s most interesting about this is that the league said it should’ve been a flagrant-2 foul, meaning the league not only called out the referees for what they deem a bad call, but they’re also leaving the door open for speculation that the call changed the game (remember Serge stayed in and converted an and-one opportunity).
NBA executive vice president for basketball operations Stu Jackson announced the fine Tuesday. The league also upgraded the flagrant foul 1 Ibaka’s was given for hitting Griffin as the two battled for position in the paint to a Flagrant Foul 2, meaning Ibaka should have been ejected from the game.(full story)
3. The NBA has been trying to make a mass appeal world-wide for several years, and has had success with the addition of big name foreign players such as Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, and Ricky Rubio. They’re expanding upon that with next year’s preseason, by tossing some teams, including the Oklahoma City Thunder, across the pond to play in Europe next October.
Oct. 5: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, Ulker Sports Arena, Istanbul, Turkey… Oct. 8: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Manchester Arena, Manchester, England(full story)
4. Here’s a really compelling article coming out of SB Nation’s Cleveland Cavaliers affiliate “Fear the Sword.” Centered around the young hot shot Kyrie Irving, and trying to get Tyler Zeller to bloom as quickly as possible, the Cavs are basing their success off of Oklahoma City’s rise to the top. I’m more than happy to see the Thunder serve as a benchmark team. Just reading this article brought back the pain of 2008-2009, the utter joy of the first taste of playoff basketball, the good times with Jeff Green, and remembering just how amazing our climb out of basketball hell really was. True nostalgia.
The question, though, is if the Cavaliers can match the huge improvement in wins that the Thunder did for year three of Durant, when they made the playoffs in the tough Western Conference, going from 23 wins, to 50.(full story)
5. Finally, I’ll round this out with a rather special article, and if you’re a college or high school student, you can’t cite it for a paper. That’s right, it’s Wikipedia. So why put a wikipedia article up on the Starting Five? Record breaking effort last night, that’s why. For only the third time in NBA history, a team has posted an NBA low 2 team turnovers in a game. Oklahoma City now joins the Milwaukee Bucks from 2006, and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2009 (managed that one in OT) as the only teams to hold on to the ball with such efficiency. Beyond that, knowing NBA records is good trivia stuff.
Fewest turnovers in a game 2 by the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Indiana Pacers on April 1, 2006 2 by the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on March 19, 2009 (OT) 2 by the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2013 (full story)
In a colder, and more frozen realm of the sporting world, the Chicago Blackhawks have registered at least a point in every game they’ve played, at 20-0-3 (3 losses in OT or a shootout, for those of you who don’t follow hockey, which gives you a point, wins give you 2), and are out to a record breaking start in this lockout shortened NHL season. In honor of that, I give you their goal song, Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis. Do do do, do do do… Have a great humpday.
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