Thursday Bolts – 3.13.14
Ben Golliver of SI.com: “The 50/40/90 talk was soooo 2013. Try this on for size: the 30/30 club. Durant is on track to become just the fifth player to average at least 30 points per game while maintaining a PER of 30 or higher, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Tracy McGrady and Wade. As if we needed any further evidence that Durant already belongs among the greatest scorers to ever play the game.”
David Thorpe of ESPN Insider on how fit matters: “First we will begin with some stars. The simplest example we have is that of James Harden. Had Harden stayed in OKC as some wanted him to, he’d still be the “third wheel” behind Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Note that he would still be on a great team, but he wouldn’t be among the league’s scoring leaders and he’d never be in the conversation for MVP. His jump to Houston last season, to a team devoid of stars and in a system that required an open floor, fast pace and one middle ball screen after another, meant he entered the perfect environment for a former sixth man to explode. Had Harden joined another team — such as Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago or even Atlanta — he wouldn’t have been nearly as good a fit as he’s been with Houston. The dynamics are just not the same.”
Part of KD’s SportsCenter interview.
Lil B in an interview with SB Nation: “The real respect though, Kevin Durant should have never opened his mouth about me. If you say something about Lil B, you’ve got to be able to see me on the court. Kevin Durant isn’t a good rapper, you know what I’m saying? So let’s do this on the court. Kevin Durant, play ball and go donate and help people and be a good Samaritan like you’ve been doing. But once you open your mouth and try to talk about rap, Kevin, stop. All this is for this interview. To make sure he hears this. So it’s like Kevin, you can pay your money for good producers and good studios, people don’t respect that. Money doesn’t matter. The people made me. They’re making me to this day. So like I said, Kevin, see me on that court. I’m better than you. We can go at it. He was blessed with that height. I was blessed with a gift too, so it’s like, let’s play. I’m not worried about Kevin.”
KD’s “Strong and Kind” movement.
Ian Levy for USA Today on playoff X-factors: “It has to be Westbrook. Even without him the Thunder were one of the best teams in the league and a clear championship contender. When healthy, Westbrook is one of the best players in the league and any argument that Thunder are better off without him is a thin one. But figuring out how to get the most out of him, Durant and the rest of their pieces, all at the same time, has been a yearly challenge for Scott Brooks. Having missed so much of the season this year, it’s on Westbrook to make some adjustments and work on filling the cracks in what was working so well for the Thunder while he was out.”
Anthony Slater: “But beyond coach-player trust, this latest closing five is a group that fits together quite nicely on the court, particularly against smaller teams. Ibaka has proven to be a capable small-ball center. Durant is a matchup nightmare at the power forward. Fisher is shooting nearly 50 percent from three the past couple months. Westbrook is Westbrook. And Butler has proven to be a consistent enough outside shooter since his arrival. Two of the world’s best attackers, two veteran floor spacers and one of the NBA’s best pick and pop, pick and roll big men. Say hello to the Thunder’s newest closing five.”