Sunday, March 31, 2013

Doing more by doing less?

I'm hard-pressed to figure out what's different about Kevin Durant in the past few months...

It is sort of driving me mad...

Really mad when we lose, and maddening when we win.

Back to stats to see what Eastern Mysticism we can dream up with some stats about the current state of the Thunder:

(Discounting last nights game, we glance into the Crystal Stat-Ball covering the Thunder's last 5 wins, over a week or two, and the last 5 losses, over a month.)

When the Thunder win:

- KD makes at least 2 three pointers, while averaging 3.6 attempts from dowtown p/game.

- KD turns the ball over an average of 4 times p/game.

- KD averages 25.2 points, on 50% shooting from inside the arc, and has 2.8 assists p/game.

- KD averages 8.4 total rebounds with 2 steals and 1 block p/game.

- KD averages 36 minutes.

When the Thunder lose:  (watch this closely now)

- KD makes 1 three pointer, while averaging 3.6 attempts from downtown p/game.

- KD turns the ball over an average of 5 times p/game.

- KD averages 30.6 points, on 50% shooting from inside the arc, and has 3.8 assists p/game. 

- KD averages 8.4 total rebounds with 1 steal and 2 blocks p/game.

- KD averages 42 minutes. the mist emerges and a solid conclusion forms...

He's pretty much doing the same things statistically, with very minor differences in both wins and losses.  If anything he's pretty much a model of consistency for doing the same things day in and day out.

So, if we wanted a not-so-solid-why-the-hell-are-you-showing-us-this type of conclusion, I'll be absolutely forced to tell you what I think:

The Thunder do not, yet, have the system down that San Antonio has...regarding sharing the ball, in efficient and dominating fashion amongst the greater population of the team, such that Scott Brooks gets any credit for Sam Presti trading James Harden, and yet having a better statistically performing team...(see here).

However, these stats pretty much tell you that it ain't KD doing this winning and losing by himself.

Remember, this post is about whether KD is himself being himself, or himself being his new, not nice self...which is funny, because his new not nice self, is actually nicer with the ball than his old self...shooting less, but just as efficiently, passing the ball more, increasing assists, increasing rebounds, and unfortunately increasing turnovers a bit as well...from last year.  

Perhaps, he's just not singularly dominating games by scoring like he was last year, but is having just as big an impact on the game, or even greater impact by being a better all-around player.

And...just to let us "KD ain't right" thinkers have a solitary smidgen of credibility...

I have noticed that the 3 point ball remains a key.  Not just for the points, but the offensive system itself.  My observations are as follows, take what you will from it...

Kevin needs to make that second 3 point shot...every game.  He's not jacking 3's like he did last year, but shooting at a higher make percentage in 2013.  He's driving more, and dishing more.  I think he's a bit easier to guard on his drives, because he's not throwing daggers in as often from downtown.  He appears, (no fact yet to back this up, I need time to research this part), he's not catching and shooting from behind the arc as he did last year.  He needs to do this more...  when he catches and shoots from 3, he forces the defense to be up on him all the time.  When he catches and drives, the defense tends to lay off him a bit more... and his turnovers increase.  This will get better, I'm sure, as will the offense, but look at how this played out last night...

Scott Brooks calls a timeout with 8 1/2 minutes left as the Thunder went down by 5.

In a move that Royce Young ( tweeted about, and I agree completely with...the Thunder came out of that timeout and absolutely destroyed the Bucks in less than 3 minutes.  It took less than a minute for the Thunder to regain the lead, starting a 12-0 run.  Something that (according to Royce), the Spurs' Pops would have been given Coach of the Year for, on the spot.   But not Scotty...he's an inept coach with a lot of talent, if you listen to people talk in the media much.

What I just said:  The Thunder ran the pick and roll all throughout the second half, with different personnel...scoring effectively the entire time.  Ibaka had 10 points in the 3rd, Nick Collision had his share...all coming off of a direct pick and roll, or some derivation thereof.

The Dagger came when Westbrook ran the pick and roll, top of the key...and Serge took off at a dead sprint as Russ passed him.  Russ's defender was picked and trailed Russell, usually predicting a teleportation move to the, Ibaka's defender has to split the difference between surging Serge, and rocketing Russell.  Same thing we'd done all night...except, for one tiny little thing called coaching.

Durant had been purposefully moved to the right side of the court, after a cross-court cut opened up the wing (courtesy of Derek Fisher, moving without the ball, getting no credit on the deal whatsoever).  

Durant, on the right wing, sits low...and outside...where a few minutes before, he'd taken two guys baseline for a dunkish-type-layup thingie.  His defender is wary...very wary.

Back to rocketing Russell and surging Serge (I know this is long, but you've pulled up the mental replay by now, so hang with me).

Durant's defender has to move on Ibaka or he'll be hanging from the rim....AGAIN!

So, KD, the NBA's reigning 3 time scoring champion, is left on the right wing, with nobody around him but Milwaukee fans that suddenly feel ill and don't know why...they think the Buck's D is about shut down Ibaka.

Russ hits KD, instead of time travelling or passing to Ibaka...who catches, and shoots.  No thinking, no dribbling, and no air in the building... it is a commercial coming true in real life...We indeed ALL KNOW WHERE THIS IS GOING...boom.  

Milwaukee gives up.

Scott Brooks moved his chess pieces, controlled his uncontrollable point guard, distracted the defensive world with Harden's exchange player, and Air that Kevin Durant could tie his shoe, download DoodleJump, and nail a shot to kill the Bucks.

(On a side note:  that gave Russ his first triple double in 2 years...interesting...and in other news, Uncle Skip had sudden explosive diarrhea for no apparent reason.) 

So, shoot more, shoot less...dribble more dribble less...or let the coach move the guys around a bit and keep putting it all the right time...

You decide.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Better Than Last Year? (Stats Edition)

I do my best not to listen to Skip Bayless, but just like Jim Traber, just can't avoid him.

I wish I could quit you...

I recently heard Skip and Stephen A. Smith discussing the Thunder.  Skip's mouth was flowing like a fire hydrant, and I couldn't help but think the following:

Disclaimer:  Philosophical soapbox coming...

In day to day speak, we use our opinions to discuss things we enjoy.  Those opinions are sometimes loosely based on facts, and sometimes very based on facts...depends on who you are and what liberties you take with reality.  However, in the end, journalism isn't supposed to be two friends forming their opinions based on information extracted from their rectal areas...that would be irresponsible journalism.  I had an intuitive feeling that Skip was doing this very thing...letting his emotions overshadow the facts.  Words mean things, and journalists are supposed to be the leaders of our media world with the best use of information, real information, put together with meaningful words to represent a meaningful opinion.

If you know Skip, then you know he can't stand Russell Westbrook, and believes that Sam Presti should be committed for trading Harden, and that Scott Brooks's goal in life is to keep Maurice Cheeks from shining.

So, I thought to myself..."Self, why don't we look at the statistics of this clearly inferior Thunder team without James Harden, to see why Skip-Bo thinks they suck so bad and should be dismantled managerially from the top down." is what I found...  

Disclaimer:  statistics taken from, and stats don't lie, but they don't always tell a clear story either.

Through 67 games this season, as compared to the 66 game season last year:

Thunder - scoring 3.6 more points per game (103.1 to 106.7), while allowing only a .3 increase in opponents scoring (96.9 to 97.2)...Margin of victory is 9.5.

So, the Thunder appear to have expanded offensive capabilities, while still defending very well, but at a slightly less effective level...I mean .3 more points per game is not really a mountain to overcome.

However, we have Uncle Skippy to deal with on the Devil (Russell Westbrook) and the Jail-break (Harden vs Martin), let's see how the Thunder are accomplishing this increased offensive effort.

2012 Harden vs 2013 Martin (NBA Death Match)

- Martin has played 111 less minutes than Harden last year.
- Martin has 10 less makes with 40 more shots, and a shooting percentage of 45% to Harden's 49%.
- Martin has 23 more 3 pt makes over 32 more attempts than Harden, Martin's 3pt shooting is at 42%, whereas Harden's was 39%.
- Assists and points make up the largest margin of difference.  Martin has 141 less assists than Harden did a year ago, and has scored 117 less points than the Beard dropped in last year.
- Harden pulled down more rebounds (103 in fact), and had more blocks, but also had more turnovers (48 more) than Martin.  Martin also has 3 more steals, while committing 34 less fouls.
- Harden has 120 more made FT's than KMart has this year.

Overall, a couple of factors need to be blended in here...KMart isn't running the point for the B team, like James did...Reggie takes care of that now.  Also, KMart's role is more a defined 2 guard, rather than the "save our ass" jack-of-all trades  role that Harden played.  And, if these two represented the entirety of the difference between last year and this year, we could end up with an efficiency rating based on points per minute that might tell us something (actually, no...KMART = .5 and HARDEN = .53)...

[Paul Harvey enters the conversation, a true journalist, back from the grave and the vault]

What about the Rest of the Story?

Kevin Durant (2012 vs 2013 to date)
  • 30 more minutes played
  • 25 less made FG's on 7 less shots
  • 13 less 3pt's made on 52 less 3pt attempts
  • 139 more FT's made on 127 more attempts than last year, with a 4% higher 90% FT's percentage.
  • 4 more rebounds p/g
  • 72 more assists
  • 12 more steals
  • 46 more total points
The Devil (Russell Westbrook)
  • 45 more minutes played
  • 21 more 3pt attempts at 33% (+2% from last year)
  • 38 more FT's made on 58 more attempts
  • 49 more rebounds
  • 147 more assists
  • 9 more steals
Air Congo (Serge Ibaka)
  • 272 more minutes played
  • 107 more FG's made at 57% shooting
  • 16 more 3pt makes at 36%
  • 47 more FT's made at 75% (+9% from last year)
  • 26 more Def Rebs and +16 Total Rebounds
  • 10 more assists
  • 277 more points
The Game Chose Me (Thabo)
  • 975 more minutes played
  • 120 more FG's (48% @ +6 from 2012)
  • 54 more 3pt makes at 41%
  • 29 more offensive boards
  • 104 more defensive boards
  • 59 more assists
  • 51 more steals
  • 22 more blocks
  • 300 more points
(Note: Thabo was hurt a bit last year, but this is ridiculous)

Big Perk
  • 80 less minutes
  • 24 more assists
  • 12 steals
  • 26 less TO's
Nick Collision
  • 26 less minutes
  • 29 more FG's at 60% shooting
  • 5 more FT's, but at 79% (up 8% from last year)
  • 17 more Def Rebs
  • 17 more assists
  • 9 more steals
  • 63  more points
Reggie Jackson
  • 191  more minutes played
  • 50 more FG's at 46% (+14% from last year)
  • 63 more Tot Rebs
  • 19 more assists
  • 116 more points
The Thunder have have committed only 4 more fouls through 67 games than in the 66 games they played last more game...4 the math.

Opponents fouls are 1415 up from 1322 last year.

The Thunder are shooting better FT% this year (82% vs 80%).

So, what am I trying to say to Uncle Skip and friends...


When the Thunder traded James Harden, it wasn't only about a contract negotiation for a high profile / allstar player.  

It was about the maturity process of a team.  

Last year, many fans, including myself were upset because our 4th quarter offense consisted of James, Russell, or Kevin setting up an isolation or catching a pass and taking on the entire defense.  It's ok, you can admit it...that feeling of your blood pressure rising when one of those three just dribbled out front for 10 seconds, letting the shot clock drip away, then taking the entire basket of eggs into the lane, or pulling up for a shot.  We wanted change.  We wanted to see the Spurs wearing Thunder faces and uniforms...Making Hickory's patented 5 passes before a shot went up.

Well, this year, the scoring load, and offensive load has changed dramatically.  On the surface, you may not feel as though we look like the Spurs, or dance as pretty as the Heat...but, statistically, we are outperforming last year's Thunder.  Sure, Offensive rebounding is down, but so are turnovers (52 less TO's for the players listed above).

The key point in looking at this year's team, from last year, isn't to look at KMart vs Harden...rather it is to look at Harden vs KMart, Thabo, Serge, Perk, Nick and Reggie.  We already know, intuitively and through observation that Russell and KD have taken on added responsibilities, but the burden of success has come on the shoulders of the rest of the team...starters and bench players combined.

The Thunder have 348 more assists this year than they had a year ago (for the players listed above...again need to qualify).  Three Hundred Forty Eight...3-4-8...that's 348 made baskets that were not coming off a pass last year.  That's moving the effing franking ball around!  

So, Skipper, how did we replace Harden?
  • The Devil passes the ball a lot more.
  • KD passes the ball a lot more.
  • Serge makes more shots, from everywhere.
  • Perkins passes the ball effectively with less TO's.
  • Thabo has increased every positive stat category across the board, with only more fouls as a negative.
  • Nick, passing the ball.
  • Reggie, passing the ball.
  • KMart passing and scoring efficiently.
I know Uncle Skip, you need to have an argument, I honestly understand that...but, try as I might, I just couldn't create a Hasheem Thabeet'esque blog entry in ALL you could make it an argument...

Because...there's not one.  This team is better than last year's, the stats show it.

Now, in the midst of your emotional breakdown...please don't let facts and statistics stand in your way...I'm sure Russell is indeed the a blue dress anyway.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Watching the Magic slowly eat a way a 27 point lead, became exciting.  More exciting than many of us truly wanted.  When a game gets set on cruise control, with your team up big...the last thing you want is a creeping uneasy feeling of becoming "that team".  There are many ways to make SportsCenter, but dropping a 27 point lead, not in anyone's top 50.

Personally, I wasn't truly bothered until we put the starters back in, and still the lead cut to inside 5.  I never felt like we were in danger of losing the game, but I knew it was a possibility...the NBA is funny like that.  

Many times, in our own sports careers, or work, for that matter, we are faced with such daunting tasks that seem completely overwhelming, and you'd rather just concede the situation and move on.  Sometimes the NBA plays out like that...other times, it becomes a thing of inspiration.

To say it another way, the Magic figured out a way to inch back into a game that was gone...get on the flight home gone.  They had their a**e* whooped by everyone who stepped on the court in the first half.  Leading to a new Thunder record for points scored in the first half.

But, in the NBA, and sometimes in other sports, the game plays out like this:

- team gets up big, or half big (15-30 points) early.  
- other team either folds, or goes on life support.
- other team searches for some way to stop the bleeding, and start to crawl back in game.
- time outs are called...which can literally kill the crawling back process.
- other team gets on a roll and makes a run in the mid 3rd quarter to 4th quarter.
- team either puts down the run, as lead gets cut to reasonable striking distance, or allows it to slowly eat the lead.

End result:  many NBA teams show tremendous maturity and resilience when down by a lot.  A combination of coaching, basketball IQ, falling shots, and energy tend to blend together in some sort of function for comeback victories.  

I'm not talking, really, about the Thunder /  Magic game, but about the NBA in general.

The tough part is...with this being a trend we've all seen...spawning the moniker, "I only need to watch the last two minutes", it becomes difficult to figure out if this the law of historical averages, or due to a flaw in your team's performance.

The Thunder put down the rally, taking longer than we'd have liked, and won the game.  Extending our insane home court record...much to our pleasure...and setting us up for an OU football-type letdown sometime next year, or the next, when we drop 3-4 straight at home...I'll just call it now.

Other Things of Note:

- PJIII:  Got some great minutes, and improved his stock in his performance.  The athleticism and NBA IQ is coming along just fine...he knew where to be, where to cut, and hit the boards...along with making the shots given to him.

- Collision:  Great job moving off ball, dishing and scoring...nice to see the Collison grit applied on offense and pay off with some points for the Dirt Worker.

- Everybody else:  Simply showed up and did their job...even proud of Perk getting the accidental technical and moving on.

- Ronnie Brewer:  kept his sweats on the entire game...wife believes this is becoming a form of protest.  Up 27, you say...who else didn't get in the game...uhm...nobody.  (Liggins and Lamb had PikePasses for the evening)

I said it, as farfetched as it sounds, each game he gathers rust, is a game lending credibility to the most far-fetched conspiracy theory filled with absolute lunacy...he was traded to kill his career.  Maybe he shoved Presti's wife once, who least they could buy him some pom-poms and a recliner.

Next Up:  Dallas on Sunday @ 6:30pm

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Ok, so I'm learning in this basketball blogging thing...  If you take a day or so to try to pull together some sort of meaning to a loss, like San Antonio...well, they play again...and you really lose your point... blog post trashed, lesson learned.

We played the Jazz last night, and while we blew them out, it was sort of...well, weird. 

There's really no need to talk about numbers, because the Jazz looked like death warmed over.  Maybe they were still thinking about visiting the Memorial earlier in the day...that's sort of a buzzkill.  But, there were some things to point out:

- Wife & I discussing KD's 23 point double-double shooting over 50% from the floor and 50% from 3 zombie performance:  "He's not right..."
"wonder what's up?"

- Russ:  He shows up and does what it is, that he does...which is the same if we called him right now and said we were playing at 3pm today...he'd be there, ready to pitbull and cheetah his way through the game.  I've been working on watching his personal "go all Russell fastbreaks"...  Many of them start in traffic, or with a defender ahead of him, and simply wills himself past them, or "Russell's" his way ahead of them for a layup.  I'd say "hustle's", but I think it really becomes more teleportation than mere hustle.

- DFish:  yeah, he can shoot better this year, he's shown it multiple times already...question is, will he be a pop-up mole like KMart and disappear unexpectedly when we need him?  (See Durant's Zombie impersonation and K-Mart)

- Thabo:  like the new doo (shout out to the wife, now why she pays soooo much attention to Thabo with a sexy beast sitting next to her...)

- KMart:  moving without the ball, good...chemistry with Collison, great (creds to the wife on picking that up months ago).  Pre-playoff assignment:  do the same damn thing in every game, so we can know what to expect...15-20, or 6.  We just need to know...(see DFish)

-Serge:  was that your Stephen Biko (might have to look that one up) impersonation?  What the hell happened to your eye? and the explanation given on TV was vague and not enough...  

- Flagrant foul intermission:  Thabo, Russ, and Perk sitting on the scorer's table...nice.  There was a hint of "do no evil, see nothing I do as evil, and I'm all evil" in that picture.

- Flagrant foul intermission #2:  see next item...

- Scott Brooks lineups:  everybody wanted to know, and I mean everybody...where DFish's minutes were going to come from...Reggie, nope...Thabo, nope...KMart, Serge or Perk, nope.  Ronnie Brewer and Hash, bingo.  Weird that Hash's minutes have leaked away and we've seen this "go-small and awkward" lineup the past few games... but, you gotta play with the engine if you're gonna tune it up.  Maybe that's why Hash went all fullback on Hayward...he's pissed at DFish and Brooks.

- Ronnie Brewer:  Good grief, I think we need to just put him on suicide watch.  He goes from around 15 minutes / per gm to "mop up duty", in a trade that was hailed as OKC getting "another athletic and versatile defender".  Again...weird.  I'd be pissed, depressed, and playing with sharp's like the OKC trip was out to pasture.  I mean, we could have just brought back Nazr to warm the bench...right?  He liked it here and would have been an even cheaper body to run the clock out with...  Maybe, as I put it to my wife, both Brooks and Presti hate his guts so much and they brought him here to kill his career...just for revenge (for something...I don't know, anything).

Up next:  Orlando Friday night, 7pm at the 'Peake.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


So, when does a 5 point lead, or an 8 point lead feel like a 15 point lead?  Last night...

Sunday, the Clippers slowly climbed back into the game against the Thunder to eventually take the lead, for a moment.  The game had that slipping, tight feel to it, and fortunately enough, the Thunder rose to the occasion.  

Last night, however, (watching from the TV stands, mind you) Chesapeake Arena had an interesting feel to wasn't quite the electric playoff atmosphere it has been lately, or escalates to after the All-Star break anticipating the playoffs.

It was, sort of like the crowd was just enjoying, the inevitable.  

The Thunder don't like the Lakers, and since being bounced from the playoffs in their first post-season appearance, as the Thunder, they have dominated the series:

Through 2010 Playoffs:  Thunder 3 -12 against the Lakers.

Since 2010 Playoffs:  Thunder 10 - 5 against the Lakers.

That's why I say "inevitable", I think you truly have a snapshot of the older guard giving way to the new guard in this series.  What a stark turn after the Thunder's first playoff appearance.  

So, the mood in the arena last night didn't get the chippy feel that I thought could happen, with all the flagrants (MettaWP and Ibaka), technicals, and the fact that the Lakers are on life support for playoffs this year.  It was more like the fans sat back and watched a monitored dismantling of the Lakers, and the score didn't seem to bother anyone when it was close.  

Don't get me wrong, I was a bit worried when the geriatric duo of Fisher and Nash were out there and Nash was dropping shots in left and right...but, I still felt like we calmy weathered the storm and waited.  

Put best by Royce Young from the, "Sometimes, it’s how you start and how you finish. The first six minutes tonight, the Lakers didn’t make a single basket. The last six minutes, the Lakers didn’t score a single point."

Start well, finish well, and what happened in between were a couple of silly technicals and Howard and Kobe feeling the bruises of their age.

I could draw more stats, but this win was a nice one, and it never really felt like the Lakers were in it, even when they were.

Other thoughts...

- Reggie:  I'm still harping on the antithesis of Fisher's presence bothering Reggie.  Reggie has been constantly improving, but with D-Fish on the floor, it's like he's channeling Russell from a couple of years ago...his confidence is just flowing.  It's like he watches Russell, and says, "I can blow by everyone just like that"...then he does.  He just seems a bit more aggressive of late, and honestly it might be a combination of Fisher's presence, and the fact that Westbrook told him he needs to attack more often.  (what else would Russ say?)

- Thabo:  Most of Kobe's points, from my naked eye and recollection came when Thabo was on the bench.  I think Kobe sees Thabo come on the floor and his inner child starts to cry.  Did you notice that after a toughly guarded possession (Thabo was picking him up at almost half court, staying glued to him)...Kobe generally took the next possession off, letting Nash run around and shoot.  Thabo had 1 reb, 1 assist, 2 stls, 5 fls and 5 pts...another one of those nice intangible games where he won't get ESPN props, but Kobe's in the trainers office today licking his wounds.

- Serge:  The block on Howard's dunk reverberated all the way back to L.A..."Howard will not get us where we need to go".  Then just to top it off, Serge went straight back up and said "Dwight, if you don't mind, I'll block this other shot too, because you just weren't that hard"...ouch.

- Perk:  At least you drew iron on most of the 5 shots you fired...and you made your freethrows.

- Russell:  You missed KD a couple of times, and he let you know about it, but you played friggin awesome.

- KD:  Catch and shoot gets you started off...and you need to go back to the Nowitzski school of awkward shooting because the fade-away hasn't been falling of late.  Catch and shoot is instinctive, as is a two dribble pull up...maybe Kev's overthinking his post up moves.

- D Fish:  18 Minutes, 75% from the floor (3-4), 100% from 3, 100% from the line...we'll take that.

-Thabeet:  7 Minutes, 3 Offensive rebounds, a nice pick-n-roll dunk, an assist, and 2 good, good fouls...we stole 7 minutes of Beet-walking last night.

- Nick:  Your life is more fulfilled when you take a charge.

- K-Mart:  I think chickens might be starting to work, you were 3-11 from 3, but at least you made 3.  You move so well without the ball, and look comfortable with it in your hands...just shoot your way out of it.

Next up:  Knicks on Thursday.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Did you see it?  It was subtle.

The Clipper game today, gave us many different Thunder games all in one.  

But, there was a tiny difference, and it was subtle...did you catch it?  You probably did.

After starting out well, and climbing on top to a 19 point lead in the second half, (The Thunder share the ball, all pistons firing, blowout game), the Clippers decided to climb back into the game, (The Thunder Alternate Jersey game), and then the Thunder clamped down on the defensive end when it really mattered, (The Defense wins Thunder games, game)...and then the closer (The Kevin and Russ show Thunder game), but then there was one more Thunder game...but we'll come back to that.

I agreed with the Flagrant 1 call on Serge.  You have to call that.  I personally believe he was trying to break the arm extension at Blake's elbow, to free his arm and pin Blake's arm against him in one move...something Perk's very good at.  Except, Serge sometimes a) doesn't realize his strength, and b) still has an issue with where his body is in time and Bam - Nut Check.  OUCH!  A little too far on the extension, and Blake will not forget that for a while.  And by forget, I mean, honestly, Blake was beating on everyone that covered him.  His awesome block on Nick came as his left hand had a complete fist full of Nick's jersey that he needed to use as leverage to get even higher.  I love Blake, but he gets away with that crap...he'll get over Serge's "Take a bow" move.  

I didn't agree with the double Technicals called on Butler and Perk.  Mainly because Butler's an ass (he's from Missouri you know...and while they've come along way, he was a part of one of the thuggiest teams I can remember from Mizzou).  He hasn't changed, what he can't defend he talks at...  Did you see him swagger away from the contact after they broke up the scuffle?  I told my son, "there's no thug swagger in the NBA".  You don't drop those hips and waddle away, he looked a bit cowardly to me.  He might have thought he wanted some, but his mind will clear soon enough.  

Oh, the OTHER game...I digress.

Tight game, Russ and Kevin show, a few missed jump shots...a timeout for the scuffle and flagrant foul.


Touches by Russ and Kevin to a pass to Serge in the lane...pump fake, foul, and one.

Touches by Russ, Kevin, K-Mart, Perk, and a dunk by Serge...

We moved the ball around, late in the game, during the Russ and Kevin show...and the Clippers totally wigged out!!

Blake fouled out.

Russ got a steal and a dunk.

Chris Paul fell down.

Then Serge fed Barnes his after game meal right there in the lane...OUCH, this time Serge, you can take the bow.

And suddenly, the game was over...The Thunder got out of a tight, late game rut, moved the ball, and somewhere in San Antonio, Miami, and LA...a shudder went through the NBA force.  Tony Parker dropped his drink...LeBron dropped his book...Kobe felt even older all of a sudden...and Pops said a four letter word.

If the Thunder move the ball like that under heavy pressure, in tight game situations...and get the scoring support...the season might have a very different ending.


- Please play Ronnie gets cold on the bench.

- Perkins can play defense on Blake Griffin like nobody else in the NBA...he kept him at a distance, and out of the lane.  Interesting enough, Blake's bull-rush moves just don't work on Perk like they do Nick and Serge...maybe, just maybe that's why we keep Perk.  Because he channels Bill Russell on defense.

- So just how long did it take Perk to wind up and dunk that ball in the 3rd quarter...I counted at least to 2, in traffic..."Hey wait guys, I got this [gather, squat, pause, think, jump, dunk]".

- Russell, great game.  When I played with other city league wanna-be's I played much like, that means I'm on your case on all the time, because now that I'm old, I see the things I miss.  My daily advice to Russ:  change nothing...but, when it is you and KD late, up top, and the entire population of many countries knows what you are doing...a quick two step drive right at KD's guy, will get him a wide open 3, or space to drive.  You rarely do this, you prefer a 4 step drive and kick.  In games where you've split the lane like Moses, two steps towards the lane will draw all the defense, the bench, and the D-league team of our opponents...Kevin takes a step back and away, and he's wide open.  2, not 4, right at him!

- Nick, somebody named Pete Rose Charlie Hustle, but he was a own that name, hands down.  You beat on people like Perk, but without the anger...which really pisses off the other team.

- K-Mart, I will start sacrificing chickens...keep shooting.  Please write down 500 times at home tonight "I am not Daequan"...just trust need it.

Tuesday Night, I might just not sleep until then...just remember Black Mambas come from the Congo.  Kobe's on a roll.  As are the Lakers.  I'd like to see their wheels come off with a blowout, but I'm afraid it might be a little chippy and tight.