Friday Bolts – 5.26.11
Russell Westbrook on the airport greeting: “Oh, man, how great this city is, regardless of what’s going on, they always lift you up. That’s the best thing about Oklahoma. The people definitely showed that last night when we got back. We were down (emotionally), and they were screaming and clapping for us. It definitely shows the commitment they have for us.”
Mike Prada of SBN on Thunder fans: “This three-minute video, recorded at approximately 1 a.m. local time, shows tons and tons of Thunder fans waiting at the gate outside the very hanger the Thunder team plane landed. It’s a tradition that has gone on throughout the playoffs, but it was even more special knowing so many fans of the team were there to support the players and coaches after what had to be the most crushing loss of their NBA careers.”
Holly MacKenzie of TBJ on the airport scene: “While many members of this this team filled to the brim with basketball talent only know of this kind of support, Brooks knows this isn’t how most seasons end. Not in the NBA. Not where wins and losses are what matters. The Thunder didn’t get the win that they needed to keep their season going, but they did get another reminder that they’ve got something special brewing in Oklahoma City. Pretty phenomenal.”
A UCLA fan on the Westbrook criticism: “For him to then so quickly be cast as anathema to team chemistry gives me whiplash like a car crash. I recognize that players’ personalities can change when they get their ego stroked enough, but if there was ever a time to cut a young guy some slack, this is it. Being a great floor general is an incredibly valuable skill precisely because it is so difficult and so rarely achieved. Westbrook’s been cast in the point guard role in OKC that he only had in small doses at UCLA, you can’t expect him to figure it all out overnight.”
Zach Lowe of SI: “That said, the Thunder can win the title next season, they have needs and they could perhaps persuade a veteran to come on a one- or two-year deal that would fit within their cap space. Their most obvious need might be a legitimate small forward to play behind Durant, who has no real backup. It’d be ideal if that guy can shoot threes. Shane Battier would be the most obvious suggestion, but Tayshaun Prince could fit, too, depending on his salary demands and how comfortable he would be shifting to a reserve role. There will be plenty of cheaper options, too, and the Thunder could just stick with who they have and try during the season to use the combination of cap space, Nate Robinson’s expiring contract and one of their young bigs (Mullens and Cole Aldrich) to trade for a player who fits.”
Dirk spoiled Inglorious Basterds for everyone.
Jenni Carlson is mad at bloggers: “But this blog-based brouhaha about Westbrook’s postgame activities goes too far. Most of it isn’t fair, and worse, some of it isn’t true. Let’s start with what’s not fair. After Wednesday night’s game, several basketball bloggers wrote about Westbrook storming off the court without shaking hands with the Mavs. I don’t remember seeing any of them actually there at the American Airlines Center, so as near as I can tell, they based their analysis off ESPN’s broadcast.”
You see, this is just getting ridiculous. Some moron asks “Should OKC trade Russell Westbrook?” and then one of his suggested deals involves Jose Calderon. People are stupid.
Michael Lee of the Washington Post on KD and family: “Thunder games, especially those in Oklahoma City, have always been a family affair, with Durant’s brother living with him throughout the season, his mother a regular seated across from the Thunder bench, and his father visiting whenever he could get time away from his job as a federal police officer. Wanda Pratt calls Oklahoma City her home away from home and said the community, with its friendly and welcoming residents, has been the perfect fit for her son.”
J.A. Adande on growing up: “Ultimately, that’s what these playoffs have been about for them. Getting more experience in these situations, learning the amount the intensity increases as April turns to May. They must be doing something right already for Shane Battier to send out this tweet Wednesday night: “Of all the young guys, I respect @KDthunderup [Durant] and D.Rose the most. The[y] respect the game and those who play it.” These playoffs shouldn’t be viewed as strictly losses for them. As you can tell by Battier’s tweet, they gained something along the way.”