4 min read

Tuesday Bolts – 5.15.12

Tuesday Bolts – 5.15.12

Chris Mannix of SI.com: “Kevin Durant’s third quarter three-pointer wasn’t even through the net when Russell Westbrook started sprinting toward the Thunder bench, neck arched, a primal scream cutting through the deafening crowd. Timeout, Lakers, and there was no coming back. Two years ago, Westbrook walked off this same floor, against this same team, a loser. He played well in that series, but that Thunder group was too raw, too green to go up against an experienced Lakers team that ultimately went on to win the NBA title. This time around the hunted has become the hunter, and this Oklahoma City team isn’t just out to beat the Lakers; they want to destroy them.”

Kelly Dwyer of BDL: “For the Thunder to come out this sharp after over a week off is quite the accomplishment. The rust vs. rest argument is a tired one, it really does come down to the individual situation, but it was remarkable to see the Thunder peeling out from the beginning. Twenty points and 14 rebounds for Andrew Bynum, and it didn’t matter. Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes think defense-first, and it didn’t matter. Nobody really has to guard Kendrick Perkins or Nazr Mohammed after they set screens for their mates on the perimeter, and it didn’t matter. Overreacting? Perhaps. But the Thunder looked scary. Playing at a fever pitch, after eight days off. Not a lot of playoff precedent for that.”

Matt Moore for PBT: “The Thunder ran them out the building, and no one responded. There was no fight, no charge, no big move or surge. They didn’t even trim the lead in half to make a point going into Game 2. They just wilted. The Lakers are supposed to be a better defensive team, but they were crushed by the Thunder’s three-headed monster. Everything went wrong at once for the Lakers, and they do not appear to be aware that they are facing a team that finished with more wins, including two over them in dominant fashion this season. They do not appear to recognize that the Thunder are not kids who they can take lightly. This team is dangerous and has matchup advantages over the Lakers.”

Me at CBSSports.com.

Berry Tramel: “Brown said both Boomers got in a rhythm on a normally tough shot — pulling up in front of defenders for a jumper, knowing another defender was coming from behind. The Lakers tried everything — including extended use of a zone defense — and nothing worked. And now LA has precious little time to fix things. Or rest up. There are only two off days before Game 4.”

A Q&A with the new PA guy.

Darnell Mayberry: “As expected, there were no handshakes between James Harden and World Peace. Hopefully now we can all move on. That was the most overblown story line of the playoffs so far. Should World Peace have sought out Harden before the game and apologized? Perhaps. But should he have made a point to do it in the middle of the game? Not at all. Even if you think he should have, you have to keep in mind two things: 1) We’re talking about Ron Artest, and 2) he already has apologized, numerous times. Let’s move on.”

Now people are already asking if the Lakers will win a game.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA: “The Los Angeles Lakers were outplayed, outhustled and outclassed by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, and the funny thing about it is, the Thunder would never be this good if it wasn’t for the Lakers pushing them to this point. Just like Dr. Frankenstein paid his price for tinkering in the lab, the Lakers are partly responsible for creating this monster Thunder team by ousting them from the playoffs in 2010 after a hard-fought six-game series in the first round.”

J.A. Adande of ESPN.com: “Should they go to their last resort and put Bryant on Westbrook? They already went there. Quite early actually. And Westbrook either got by Bryant himself or had a teammate take care of him with a screen … with no Laker defender stepping up. Just to mix things up, one time Westbrook ran Bryant into a backscreen, then soared for an alley-oop pass from Durant with no one on the frontcourt coming over to help. It had Bryant issuing what sounded like a call for Mike Brown to … Do Something!”

TBJ reviewing last night.

Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times: “Is this first punch a knockout punch? How on earth can the Lakers peel themselves off the floor to win four of the next six games against an Oklahoma City team that just beat them by 29 points, two dozen sprints, a dozen floor burns, six dunks, five tongue-wagging celebrations, and one glaring Derek Fisher? Is it over?”

Get drunk off the Thunder.

Beckley Mason of HoopSpeak with an open letter to OKC: “That Clay Bennett could move a team to a city that would never be able to support a team like Seattle only made it much, much worse. There are more than twice as many people in Washington as in Oklahoma. Seattle’s TV Market, the metric that will increasingly determine how much money an NBA team can make, is two and half times bigger than Oklahoma City’s. By definition, whatever joy was created in Oklahoma was less widespread and widely felt than the pain in Seattle. And because it made no objective business sense in the long term, the move was (correctly) interpreted as Bennett, Aubrey McClendon and others simply taking because they could.”

Darren Rovell of CNBC on Aubrey McClendon: “Oklahoma City has surprisingly turned into one of the hottest tickets in the league even though it isn’t exactly a hotbed for big money. One of those reasons is that Chesapeake, one of two Fortune 500 companies based there, has bought up a significant amount of tickets. So is it possible that Chesapeake has inflated the marketplace for Thunder tickets, now well known as one of the best margin mark-ups on the secondary market in the NBA? The company disclosed in its proxy statement filed last week that it bought $1.4 million in playoff tickets last year and $3.2 million worth of regular season tickets this year. That’s roughly the equivalent of 500 season tickets in prime locations throughout the arena or 2.8 percent of the arena’s capacity.”