OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

Final Thoughts in 2010

Greetings and tidings to you, faithful readers, to whom I am most endebted. The year has come to a close, and for me, a fun first two months or so of blogging about the Thunder.  I came into this project not knowing what to expect; I reside in it now with excitement as to how it shall end.  For all of my analysis and criticism on a daily basis, remember that the Thunder are a good team and it’s good to enjoy them.  For the Thunder faithful tonight, take them home with cheers as we close out the year.  Be safe, be merry, and I’ll see you on the flip-side.

Game 34 Preview: Hawks at Thunder

Tipoff: 8:00PM EST

Game Preview

Key players

Joe Johnson – 17.2 ppg, 5.6 apg
Al Horford – 16.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg

Key injuries

Marvin Williams – DTD
Al Horford – DTD
Jamal Crawford – DTD
Russell Westbrook – DTD

Tonight’s game is against a future playoff team.  Let’s start there.

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Thunder Insider, Episode 11

If you have a few minutes on this gloriously lethargic day before the evening’s shenanigans begin, give this week’s Thunder Insider a look.  This week, Kelly Crull is joined by Thunder broadcasters Brian Davis and Grant Long.  They talk a little bit about Durant’s post-game emergence, the upcoming challenges, and also a good look at the way the Thunder work when off the court.  Bonus points for Insider Mike Steeley appealing to Thunder Girls manager Carmen Butler’s nicer side.

Thunder Insider Episode 11

The TNT Guys Evaluate the Thunder

Darnell Mayberry at the Oklahoman was up late watching the NBA TNT crew of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Chris Webber, and Ernie Johnson, and they spent a few minutes talking about how the Thunder are doing.  Mayberry did all the heavy lifting, so I refer you to his site to see a transcript:

TNT Crew Weighs in on Thunder

If you want to watch the video footage, you can find it here.

Let’s take a look at the assertions they made:

  1. They don’t have a big guy.
  2. They don’t have a veteran.
  3. They don’t play defense or rebound.
  4. They’re not ready to make the jump from being surprising to being elite.
  5. They are “equipped.”
  6. They’re not going to be a 3-seed.
  7. They’re not better than Utah.

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12/31 Daily Links

New Year’s Eve.  You know what that means.  Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, and the Thunder drop tonight.

What the pros are saying:

2011 All-Star Update

The latest (2nd) round of All-Star Game voting has been released by the NBA:

Bryant Leads All Players in Second All-Star Returns

If you scroll to the bottom, you can see that Kevin Durant is currently leading all forwards in vote-getting with 735,521 votes.  While that number is impressive and highlights Durant’s national attractiveness, it is still dwarfed by Kobe’s count of over 1 million, and LeBron’s total of over 900,000.

The Thunder’s other hopeful, Westbrook, is seventh in votes behind Kobe and a bevy of other guards.  2011 is probably not going to be Westbrook’s year, but as guys like Nash and Kidd wind down their careers, I do believe Westbrook will become a yearly staple at the weekend festivities.

Ranking the Top Point Guards in the NBA

Bleacher Report gives its opinion on how all 30 point guards stack up.  Here are the top 5. Well, let’s make it the top 6.

  1. Chris Paul
  2. Derrick Rose
  3. Deron Williams
  4. Rajon Rondo
  5. Steve Nash
  6. Russell Westbrook

I’ve got no problem with Westbrook sitting where he is on that list.  If I had to build a team that would exist for one year, I’d probably take all five of those guys over him.

However, if we’re talking about THIS year, I don’t think Paul sits at the top.  He still looks hurt, and after the Hornets’ torrid start, they have struggled as of late.  I think that Deron Williams is currently the best PG playing right now, as he combines the proper balance between facilitating his team and generating his own offense when needed.  I’d probably take Rondo as my #2 guy, since he is the engine that has led the Celtics to their hot start.  #3 for me would be Paul, because while he isn’t at his best this year, his play is still superior to the next three.  Westbrook is most similar in his game to Derrick Rose; if you swapped those two, I doubt you’d see much drop-off from either team.

All that said, Jason Kidd at #24?  Seriously???

12/30 Daily Links

Strong win last night; let’s hope they make it two in a row tomorrow.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • Shoals makes an astute observation about the place that Durant finds himself within.  Westbrook has and will carry the load at times; that’s what we’ve learned about him this year.  He can elevate his offense when it is needed.  What we have also learned is that there have only been two point men in the last 10 years that can be the center of an offense and see it thrive: pre-injury Chris Paul, and Jason Kidd.  For everyone else, it becomes a game of tug of war – the PG’s offense at the expense of others.
  • I enjoyed the piece on Harden, and I like that he’s generating some notice around the league on something other than his Leonidas beard.  It seems trivial now, but I think that The Dunk signaled a change in him.  It was kind of like the first time Paul Millsap figured out that he was good at 3-pointers, or when Joey Chestnut realized he was awesome at eating things.  Harden figured out he liked it, and wanted some more of that sweet, sweet action.  Combine that with a now very solid starter-reserve rotation, where guys are getting used to other guys, and it seems like Harden now understands what his team needs from him.

Game 33 Results: Breathe…Relief

Final Score: Thunder 114, Nets 93

Record: 22-11

Record after a loss: 10-1

Stat Leaders

Points: Durant with 27, Harris, Lopez with 19

Rebounds: Sefolosha with 8, Kris Humphries with 7

Assists: Westbrook, Maynor with 7, Uzoh with 5

You know what is always a sweet sight to see? Thunder starters sitting on the bench in the 4th quarter with smiles on their faces.

I left this blowout game with three distinct impressions:

  1. The spread of talent.
  2. The passing.
  3. The “tip-test.”

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Game 33 Preview: Nets at Thunder

Tipoff: 8:00PM EST

Game Preview

Previous Game Results

Key Players

Devin Harris – 17.1 ppg, 6.8 apg
Brook Lopez – 19.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg

Key Injuries

Westbrook – DTD

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