Wednesday Bolts – 10.17.12
Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell says OKC beat the Spurs because they copied their game and did it better: “And again, there are so many things that contribute to a loss and even more that have an effect on four losses in a row. We can’t simply say that Oklahoma City upped their assist rate and that’s why they won. It’s one piece in a very big puzzle, but when you’re talking about a series where the average margin of victory was 8.5 points, one or two baskets here and there have a huge effect on how each game plays out.”
Marc Stein of ESPN.com says a Harden extension is probable: “You still have to presume, for all the hints of pessimism dropped in recent weeks by Thunder GM Sam Presti, that the parties will find a way to come to terms, largely because Harden is the most accomplished player not named Blake Griffin in this draft class and because OKC is where he so badly wants to be. Presti-watchers haven’t forgotten that the Thunder traded away the last guy in Harden’s spot next to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on OKC’s three-man marquee, but let’s be clear here: Jeff Green wasn’t at Harden’s level when Presti shipped him out. Follow those cues until we tell you differently.”
Darnell Mayberry: “The Maynor-to-Jones connection was off the charts tonight and it’s one I wouldn’t mind seeing all season. Of course, that would mean PJIII would be in the rotation. And you know what? If he’s playing alongside Maynor, it would be a problem for the rookie, at least not offensively. Maynor would set up Jones for tons and tons of easy baskets. Defensively, Jones has his work cut out for him and will have to earn his minutes.”
Could Derek Fisher go back to the Lakers?
Daniel Orton: “Oh, I have a lot of things to work on,” Orton said. “One thing I learned in Orlando was defensive coverages, and I have to work on that, positioning and stuff like that. For the most part, just know where to be.”
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Chris Mannix of SI video previewin’.
The NBA is installing a 90-second rule for the time between pregame introductions and when players take the court. You could really call it the “Thunder Rule” because part of the reason was because of OKC’s elaborate pregame routine.
My new favorite thing: A post-apocalyptic pretend diary from Nick Collison. A choice sampling: “I miss Chesapeake, though. And oh how I will miss the playoffs. I had been intending on asking Jimmy Goldstein who his hat guy is this next year. This hat of leaves and rags will have to do. There is no plus-minus here. Not in this world. I cry over this. I call on my fundamentals to save me daily. I pray they continue to listen. I try to screen my thoughts. I try to block out my emotions. I roll towards the hope that is the ocean. I will rebound from this tragedy. The world is big, but so am I. And when the world charges at me, as I know that it must, I will take it.”
Why aren’t Thunder preseason games being televised?
M. Haubs of The Painted Area on PJIII: “Don’t think you’re wrong about PJ3 athleticism. I seriously think he might be freakiest NBA athlete since LeBron.”
Is chemistry a concern for OKC?
Eddie Maisonet of SB Nation KC worries about rising ticket prices: “Raising of ticket prices is inevitable when a team continues to succeed, but what made “Loud City” so special is that the fanbase looked like the Oklahoma I grew up with. From farm boys, college kids, soccer moms and members of the armed forces were all in The Peake going crazy for their team. I just fear a day where the suits are writing off their tickets and looking for an excuse to take their clients out to the game. I fear the day when chunks of seats in the lower bowl are empty because folks are running fashionably late. I fear the day when seats in the upper bowl cost as much as it does to fill my gas tank up here in California.”
Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney of SI.com with 67 reasons to watch the NBA this season: “Watching James Harden, known for his smooth drives to the hoop, and the Thunder, known for their uniform discretion, navigate the unavoidable stress and uncertainty that comes with max-ish contract-extension talks. General manager Sam Presti, to this point, has kept everyone important in the fold and satisfied. Why should we believe this will ultimately be any different?”
Tom Haberstroh for ESPN the Magazine on Harden: “Yet Harden is more than an internationally celebrated American eccentric. He is also a superstar waiting to happen and one who is as convention-challenged on the court as off it. He’s lefthanded, hates the midrange game, prefers coming off the bench and looks unathletic but has a higher vertical leap on the run than Blake Griffin does. And when he scores, he does so with unusual efficiency.”
Roger Bramley of Dime: “Basically: is Russell Westbrook marketable? The easy answer is yes. Everyone is. With enough money and a good corporate model, I could sell some shoes and make you laugh at my commercial. But will I elevate your brand? Of course not. To look at whether or not Russell Westbrook can mirror his growth on the court with the growth of both his and the Jordan Brand, we have to look at how players similar to him have been used in ad campaigns over the years. We’ll start with Derrick Rose, a player very similar to Westbrook in both game and demeanor, to go about finding an answer.”
Tom Ziller of SB Nation: “It’s a Rubik’s cube: how do you beat the Thunder? The Heat managed to do it because they had the best player in the world playing some of the best basketball of his life, two more All-Stars at the ready and Shane Battier shooting the lights out. Minus of that, the Thunder might be champs. So yes, things are good in Oklahoma City. This team remains all flavors of legit.”