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Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

Tag Archives: Ibaka

Game 32 Results: Dirkless Daggers

A perfect metaphor

Final Score: Mavs 103, Thunder 93

Record: 21-11

Stat Leaders

Points: Durant with 28, Butler with 21

Rebounds: Tyson Chandler with 10, Ibaka with 9

Assists: Kidd with 10, Westbrook with 7

You could probably subtitle this post with this image:

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12/10 Daily Links

Rematch tonight against the New Orleans Hornets.  Get ready for tonight’s game by perusing today’s links.

What the pros are saying:

Game 18 Results: Rebound

Final Score: Thunder 95, Hornets 89

Record: 12-6

Game Stats

En lieu of the normal stat highlights, here is the key statistical breakdown of the game:

Rebounds

Sefolosha – 5
Westbrook – 5
Durant – 11
Green – 7
Krstic – 7
Harden -5
Ibaka –  11

Team total: 56
Offensive: 16

Rebounding wins games.

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11/27 Daily Links

Let’s hope that Jeff Green didn’t suffer too badly in his fall late in the game (still knocked down two critical FT’s).  Rest up, heading to Houston.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • A few things that Mayberry caught that I did not, and are worth repeating:
    • Byron Mullens came in when the Thunder were down 14 and he was charged with dealing with Roy Hibbert.  For some odd reason Hibbert looked like the second coming of Olajuwon while matched up against Ibaka and Green.  Mullens got the job done, shutting Hibbert off while the Thunder began their comeback.
    • Ibaka is a natural power forward and was terribly out of place going up against Hibbert.  Any negatives that would appear from his stat line should be mitigated by this fact.
    • Sefolosha continues to make key plays that fly under the radar.  Another 10 boards from the shooting guard spot, plus timely offense.  I really like the way he’s finding his niche in this offense.  Good teams need guys like him.
  • Excellent point from Daily Thunder regarding OKC’s ability to not give in to runs while they were playing from behind.  It seemed like there were a few moments where they were vulnerable to the Pacers running away with the game, and each time they kept in it through solid possessions and good rebounding.  They kept chipping and chipping, showing excellent patience throughout the 4th quarter.

Notable indeed.

11/24 Daily Links

Huge game tonight against the surging Mavericks (cue Top Gun music)

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • I liked the comparison between where the Thunder were a few years ago and where the Timberwolves are right now.  I was anticipating a little bit easier win against the Wolves, but was impressed by their surprising level of talent.  The combination of Beasley, Love, and the reborn Darko is a very potent front line.  Offensively, it seems like their 3-headed PG hydra is not yet adept enough at taking advantage though.  Ridnour finished with a decent stat line against the Thunder, but it was in the early going, before Darko and Love warmed up, that their offensive play really put them in a hole.  The Wolves’ PG situation regarding Ricky Rubio is well documented, although I don’t really know if he would have been a star in the NBA or not.  What does matter the most is, the current edition of the NBA is placing a premium on high quality PG play, and the Wolves aren’t getting it.  But there is something there; the team isn’t the hopeless void that it has been in years past.  There is reason for hope.
  • I’m ecstatic that other people are starting to notice that Ibaka is more important this year than people realized going in.  This is my strongest assertion – the Thunder cannot beat the Lakers and Spurs with Green playing at the 4.  The Spurs are too smart and the Lakers are too talented.  The Lakers proved last year that, if your goal is to just try to run with them and outscore them, they will eventually figure out a way to beat you at your own game (See: Phoenix Suns).  Ibaka’s success at the PF spot is going to be a year-long thermometer as to how well the Thunder are going to play in the regular season as well as the playoffs.

Game 14 Results: Thunder Win, Defense Fails

Final Score: Thunder 117, Timberwolves 107

Record: 10-4

Division: 4-1

Stat leaders

Points: Durant with 28, Green with 24, Kevin Love with 24

Rebounds: Love with 17, Sefolosha with 11

Assists: Westbrook with 14, Luke Ridnour with 7, Durant with 5

Back at full Strength, the Thunder once again looked like an offensive juggernaut.  They had three guys score over 20, tallied 29 assists for the game, and shot 54.8%.

So why did I kind of hate the end result?

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Game 14 Preview: Timberwolves at Thunder

Tipoff at 8:00PM EST

ESPN Preview.

Tonight the long-suffering Wolves come to OKC to try to rebound from their bad loss to the Lakers.   They too have been struggling from the defensive end, giving up more PPG than the Thunder have been.  Their two strengths right now come in the form of young players Michael Beasley and Kevin Love.  Beasley’s offensive skillset is finally being showcased, and Love is the author of one of the sickest statlines of the year (31 points, 31 rebounds in win against Knicks).

Meanwhile, the Thunder are coming off of two huge wins where they were missing Durant and Green.  Role players have emerged and the team is beginning to focus defensively.

The Thunder have won five in a row against the Wolves. Here are some keys for #6.

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11/22 Daily Links

There is seldom rest for the weary.  After two mettle-testing wins against the Celtics and Bucks, where the Thunder held them to 89 and 81 (12 and 17 points below the Thunder’s “points allowed” average) they get what hopes to be an easier test tonight against the Timberwolves.  Here is the weekend roundup of links:

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • Mayberry puts a lot of emphasis on Harden’s uncertainty in shooting the basketball.  I think that observation has a lot of merit, but speaks to the deeper issue of Harden not really knowing where he fits into the Thunder’s offensive scheme.  Most bench players have specific roles – Maynor distributes the ball, White comes in for rebounds and post play, etc.  But Harden doesn’t really fit into that mold.  He’s not a great ball handler or pure shooter, so he can’t come in to play the point or shoot spot-up shots, all though he can offer those things in limited quantities.When he was thrust into the starting spot due to Durant’s injury, he didn’t seem to want to believe that he could be a primary scoring option, which probably ended up costing him at least four to six more shot attempts.   He is humble and deferential, and those are good things.  However, Coach Brooks can only tell him so many times to attack the basket before it stops being lack of mandate and more of a confidence issue.Harden has a quirky offensive  game, kind of like Monte Ellis of the Warriors.  Unlike Ellis though, he doesn’t have the inherent self-confidence.  I was hoping that the starting role would begin to infuse that, and it seems to have begun to take effect.  The next step is for his teammates to show confidence and deference to his abilities.  I think the team wants him to be a primary scoring threat for the 2nd team; these early steps will hopefully get him there.
  • Nice little note on Westbrook’s post-up game in the last two games.  He is good at keeping the defender on his hip and then pivoting into the lane, where he can use his vertical explosiveness.  This ability is definitely something to keep in his back pocket, because it could pay huge dividends in the playoffs, especially when facing smaller PG’s.
    • Now, if only Durant would take the hint on how to play that way…
  • Re: the free throw disparity between Rose and Westbrook; a few possible differences in their games.
    • Rose attempts six more FG’s per game than Westbrook – 20 to 14.
    • Rose attempts almost four 3-pointers per game, versus Westbrook’s slightly more than one per.
    • Westbrook averages almost two more rebounds per game.
      Conclusion?  Inconclusive.  But if I had to take a stab at it, I’d conjecture that it might have to do with the fact that Westbrook is more comfortable playing inside the paint and is less likely to settle for long distance shots.  Incrementally, Rose has to spend a lot more energy than the super-efficient Westbrook to generate just slightly more point production.  Or it could just be that Westbrook knows how to draw fouls.

Good News for Durant, Green

It looks like Durant and Green will be back in action for tonight’s game against Minnesota.

Greent, Durant to Return Tonight

 

They will both move back into the starting lineup for tonight’s tipoff.  This return also means that Serge Ibaka and James Harden will return to the bench.  Keep a close eye on how they look in the 1st quarter.

Game 12 Results: Thunder Persevere, Shock Celtics

Final Score: Thunder 89, Celtics 84

Record: 8-4

Stat Leaders

Points: Westbrook with 31; Kevin Garnett with 16

Rebounds: Ibaka, Sefolosha with 7; O’Neal, Pierce with 6

Assists: Westbrook with 7, Rondo with 7

“I knew going into the game that we would have to play just an ugly game”-Scott Brooks

I can’t say that I saw that one coming.  Kevin Durant was hurt.  Green was still hurt.  Westbrook had a terrible game the last time they faced off.  I could boast that I saw certain elements that could have unfolded, but that isn’t much of a prediction at all, merely supposition.  As I watched the second half unfold, I felt like I was watching a college basketball game.  Neither side was playing particularly well and the defenses were playing better than the offenses.  The Thunder slowed the game down, making each possession increase in value.  One guy was carrying the load on offense (Westbrook) and the underdogs were shocking the big guys for three quarters.  The more the game dragged on, the more the underdogs believed they could pull off the upset.  Suddenly guys who weren’t normally contributing were finding ways to get a put-back or a lose ball.   Suddenly it’s midway through the fourth quarter and people are starting to believe.

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