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Tag Archives: Durant

Game 32 Preview: Mavs at Thunder

Tipoff Time: 8:00PM EST

Game Preview

Previous Game Analysis

When we last visited the Mavericks, they were actually a struggling team.  The outstanding question was whether they had become too old and stodgy to compete in the highly competitive Western Conference.  They had struggled to beat the likes of the Pistons and Hawks.  It really wasn’t until they faced the Thunder and looking into the eye of defeat again that they suddenly woke up and  erupted to play dominant basketball for the past month.  It was that 4th quarter against the Thunder where Nowitzki and the gang transformed into the current winning juggernaut.

So, you know, from all of us in Thunder-land to the Mavs, you’re welcome.

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Game 31 Results: Christmas Presents Tied Up in Bright Yellow Bows

Final Score: Thunder 114, Nuggets 106

Record: 21-10

Division: 6-1

Stat Leaders

Points: Durant with 44, Billups with 30

Rebounds: Nene with 12, Krstic with 8

Assists:  Green with 6, Ty Lawson with 5

Here is the question – at what point did you begin to realize that it was a Kevin Durant Christmas night?  Was it the eight point mini-burst at the end of the 2nd quarter when he began to get in a grove?  Was it mid-way through the 3rd, on his way to a 21 point quarter outburst to allow the Thunder to pull ahead?  Was it in the 4th, when Durant wasn’t even looking to shoot, but instead facilitated the offense in a way that the best small forwards can do?

The answer is, of course, yes.

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The Scout’s Take

An excerpt from Marc Stein’s Weekend Dime.  The excerpt includes comments from NBA scouts around the league.

The Scouts’ Quarterly Report

———————–

Eastern Conference scout on Kevin Durant’s shooting struggles (42.4 percent from the floor and 27.7 percent on 3-pointers) and his tag-team partnership with Russell Westbrook:

“I have to believe it’s a blip. Obviously everyone is focusing a huge amount of attention on him [defensively]. Maybe it’s his knee being a little hurt or maybe he’s a little tired [from Team USA duty in the summer]. He hasn’t really been hurt before. But he’s just too good a player not to find a rhythm here soon.

“He’s also a guy who can do other things now. Get to the line, rebound. I’m sure after Turkey that everyone thought he was just going to overpower the whole league, but I’m sure he’s gonna get better as the season goes along.

“Their team’s pretty well-defined around Durant and [Westbrook]. That team’s been built around those two guys and not a lot of other guys who need the ball. If Westbrook was playing with a Ray Allen-type, it would be a problem because he’s not going to distribute the ball very well. If they added another scorer in there, he’d probably get frozen out.

“But Westbrook is such a great talent. How do you reel him in? He’s similar to LeBron in some ways. In the open floor, when he puts his head down, he’s as explosive a player as there is in this league. If you’re the other team you have to hope he’s not having a good shooting night.”

 

Gorgeous

Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie got a tip about the new House of Hoops artwork, created by artist Alberto Russo. Kevin Durant joins LeBron, Wade, and Kobe for the grand opening of House of Hoops.

Alberto Russo at Behance Network

 

(c) Alberto Russo, Behance Network

Game 23 Results: Hi KD, I Didn’t See You Come In

Final score: Thunder 111, Timberwolves 103

Record: 15-8

Division: 5-1

Stat Leaders

Points: Durant with 30, Beasley with 26

Rebounds: Kevin Love with 21, Durant with 11

Assists: Luke Ridnour with 9, Westbrook with 8, Durant with 6

Wow, I think I’m going to need some antacid medicine after that one.

For the first time this year (I think) I was actively getting angry at this team that I am devoting myself to.  It was a strange feeling, because I have not felt an emotional connection to an NBA team for a long time (with the exception of the Lakers; still hate them through and through).  Through two and a half quarters, I felt like I was subtly but openly despising what I was watching.  One of these teams has a record of 5-16?  You’d be forgiven if you guessed it was the team in blue.

How did I get there?

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Durant Out Against Raptors

John Rohde reports that Kevin Durant will miss his second straight game with a sprained left knee.

OKC Thunder’s Kevin Durant to Miss Second Straight Game Tonight

Once again, best to play it safe now and get him some more rest for the long haul.

12/3 Daily Links

Hopefully the Thunder kids are staying warm in Toronto today.  They try to stay perfect this season against the Eastern Conference on the road (6-1 record against East total).

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • The Thunder have endured more injuries this year than all of last year.  And yet, without Durant, they are 3-0.
  • The road is an interesting place to be for teams, and it effects the dynamic in a myriad of ways.  It seems to me that thus far this season, away games have helped the Thunder because it has forced them to build camaraderie and focus at a higher level than when they’re at home.  They’ve had bigger wins (Portland, Boston), played better defense, and had fewer turnovers when they are in the opponents’ gyms.
  • A few choice quotes from the above articles:

“He’s a very talented kid, but he works like he doesn’t have talent” – Coach Brooks on Westbrook

 

“I swear, 12th grade, he couldn’t dunk … he was barely dunking. He wasn’t doing nothing he’s doing now.” – DeMar DeRozen on Westbrook

 

 

Top 50 NBA Players

The folks at Sporting News revealed their top 50 players in the league, as determined by 76 “NBA types.”

Top 50 NBA Players

Kobe topped the list, while Lebron came in at #2, and Lebron’s teammate Dwyane Wade ranked #3.  As for #4? I wonder if these “NBA types” have been watching any games this year so far, because methinks #30 is a tad bit too low for their choice.

I don’t mind admitting that Kobe is #1, because it gives an excuse to repost this.

Tweets of the Day

An interesting little exchange between Kevin Durant and a few Thunder fans via Twitter. (Great catch by Royce at DailyThunder, and right on cue he takes the analysis much deeper)

To which Durant replied:

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Kevin Durant May Not Play Tonight

John Rodhe reports that Durant is nursing a sore left knee and is a game-time decision.

Durant May Not Play Tonight.

If this is his state, we fortunately have evidence that the team can persevere.  Regardless, the team’s strategy should remain consistent.