1. This is the cool thing about sports. On paper it looks like a mundane Wednesday night game against a bad team in early December. Through three quarters it is entirely forgettable and appears to be a total throw away game. And then….. BOOM! Absolute must watch stuff. Take away everything else and the bottom line is that was fun as hell to watch. The fans in attendance in Brooklyn would seem to agree as it almost sounded like a Thunder home crowd. I couldn’t tell if they were actually CHEERING for the Thunder/George or if they were just audibly reacting to what was happening on the floor. It was cool because it was one of those moments where fandom almost gets suspended and everyone is sort of just in unison watching in awe. That was an all-time epic performance by PG. 25 points in a quarter is silly no matter what quarter in what situation. To do it with your team down 20 and under immense pressure to essentially make every shot is just crazy. My pre-season prediction was that PG would be a sneaky MVP candidate this year. So far I think that is holding up. He’s the best wing defender in the NBA and he is having an excellent year on the offensive end as well. Just a badass night all around. 

2. Much has been made over the years (under Brooks and Donovan) about final inbounds plays during close games. The result has often been a one on one isolation resulting in a less than stellar look. I’m sure many were expecting a dribble-shoot result from Russ tonight. Hopefully the way it went is a sign of further maturity and growth for the team and coaching staff. That was an excellent play. It wasn’t overly complicated, but it was clear they were GOING to get the ball to the guy that was on fire. Russ executed it perfectly. He was patient and drew the D a little bit away from PG before he made the pass. Then credit PG for more patience, allowing the defender to flash by leaving him with a wide open shot for the win. Of course the most impressive part is that he made it. Then, Russ made another excellent play on the defensive end to ice it. Just really beautiful to see the team close out a tight game with team ball on both ends and not simply relying on Russ heroics to get it done. Russ did take one really bad shot during the comeback, but otherwise he recognized the moment and made sure PG was the one with the ball. Russ was going all out on defense and hustling to the glass as well (like he always does). Very, very clear that this team is absolutely buying in and locked in emotionally. Very easy to pack it in down 20 and call it a night.

3. Early in the fourth quarter I decided what I’m about to type would be my #1 Thought for this game. I am really glad it got pushed to #3, but it still has merit. The Thunder took the bait again tonight. The Nets play a very similar style to the Kings. They aren’t as far along or talented as Sacramento, but their approach is the same. They are undersized and undermanned, but they are young and have a lot of energy. They try to offset their physical deficiencies by launching three’s at a crazy rate. If enough of them fall, they will hang around in most games. The only prayer they have to beat an athletically superior team like OKC is to get them to play their game. The Kings did it in both meetings this year leading to two losses for the Thunder. It happened again tonight. Thunder were far too content early in the game to play along with the Nets plan. They weren’t as dedicated to closing on shooters as they should have been and they weren’t attacking the paint as often as they should have been on the offensive end. Just sort of lulled into a shooting contest. The flow was too pretty. Thunder need it to be ugly. For the vast majority of this season the Thunder hate dictated the style of the game. Tonight they did not— until the fourth quarter at least. They got bailed out by an epic individual performance (and the D was awesome down the stretch). But they shouldn’t lose sight that there was a lesson to be learned tonight.

4. In an upcoming blog I want to delve into Chris Fisher, the new play by play voice this season. I wanted to give him awhile before I made any judgments or comparisons. I’ll get into that soon, but tonight I must admit that I thought about Brian Davis and how he would have been having multiple on-air orgasms in the fourth quarter. Gotta admit I would have loved to dial up what I’m sure would have been some memorable calls. I never felt BD was particularly great at his job, but he was definitely fun. And I always enjoyed some banter with friends regarding his calls and catch phrases. With that in mind, I’ll just say the Thunder most definitely created chicken salad out of chicken something else tonight.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.