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Monday Bolts – 1.30.12

Monday Bolts – 1.30.12

The Thunder will get a injured player exception amounting to about $800,000 to use in a trade or to sign a player because of the Eric Maynor injury. It’s doubtful the Thunder use it, but they at least have the option to browse the market with a little extra flexibility.

A scout’s take on the Thunder: “The biggest thing that stands out for me is their defense. I was totally impressed, especially with [Russell] Westbrook. In the past, without trying to be cruel, I’ve seen him defend more with his athleticism than his brain. He was just using his instincts. But it seemed like defensively OKC really knew what was coming last time I saw them. I don’t think they’ve paid as much attention to the scouting report in the past, but that urgency was there [from Westbrook]. I still don’t like a lot of what he does offensively. I know we’re all looking at these guys with a magnifying glass, but I did see some frustration. Westbrook wanted the ball at the end of the game. [Kevin] Durant wanted the ball at the end of the game. But the guy I noticed the most was Westbrook. His defensive awareness is the biggest improvement I see.”

Cole Aldrich tweet: “Guy asked me if I was Dolph Lundgren.. Geez do I really look like a 50 year old?”

Darnell Mayberry says to chill about the future: ‘The ink hardly had dried on Russell Westbrook’s contract extension before some Thunder fans began fretting about the next two in line. A signing that should have been celebrated as a deal that secured the long-term future of two of the league’s top players — Westbrook and Kevin Durant — somehow became a cause for concern. Locally, the lingering question has been, will the Thunder now be able to keep James Harden and Serge Ibaka? It’s the NBA’s version of borrowing trouble. Someday, Oklahoma City surely will be forced to bid adieu to someone in its talented young core. But now is not the time to worry over how imminent that day might be.”

Contenders and pretenders.

John Rohde of the Oklahoman on OKC’s off days in LA: “The Thunder stays in Santa Monica whenever it plays the Clippers or Lakers. Temperatures reached 80 on Saturday and Sunday, and beach area traffic has been significant. OKC players were given Saturday off and had only a 45-minute session on Sunday morning at nearby Santa Monica High School. That was followed by roughly 20 minutes of stretching exercises, during which players laughed throughout. “Look at those guys,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said with a smile, looking at his team across the court and stopping mid-sentence during an interview. “Thunder U at its finest today.”

NBA VP Stu Jackson talking about free throws and the rip move: “It’s funny, when we were looking at the interpretation, we went back and looked at games from before, and guys didn’t do that, like back in Bob Lanier’s day. They didn’t go out and seek contact with a defender’s arm and try to manufacture a shooting motion. The competition committee said it’s a play that looks bad. They said, “Look, this is a fool-the-referee type play. It’s not good for the game. It defies the spirit of the game, and oh, by the way, it really looks bad” — for us and for fans.”