3 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 5.16.12

Wednesday Bolts – 5.16.12

George Karl: “I think all season long everybody in basketball thought Oklahoma City was the best team in the west, but were they mature enough to show that? I think last night, I think everybody right now, I think it’s going to be a San Antonio-Oklahoma City thing. San Antonio is playing with so much flow and rhythm and rhythmatic offense and their defense is not great but it is solid. It’s still a pretty good defensive team. Their offense is so in flow right now I love watching San Antonio play. And this is the time of year where there’s a separation and I’m not ready to sign the contract but I’m pretty sure Oklahoma City is a higher degree than everybody else right now, along with, probably, San Antonio. … I’m very prejudiced toward the west. I’ll be honest with you, I think there’s four or five teams in the West that can beat Miami.”

Brian Kamenetzky of ESPN LA on adjustments: “Cohesion for the pick and roll defense. Too often Russell Westbrook was able to turn the corner and step into a mid-range jumper without being bothered. Same with Kevin Durant. The Lakers have to apply more pressure higher on the floor, and more importantly need to make sure everyone is on the same page in his coverages. Clearly that wasn’t the case Monday night. Westbrook, Durant, and particularly James Harden are all elite level scorers handling the ball on the pick and roll, and will require elite level defense in response. It’s not simply a question of playing the Kobe Bryant-on-Westbrook card. They tried that in Game 1, and it wasn’t effective because the overall coverages weren’t good.”

Kobe says he doesn’t take charges: “I learned from my predecessors,” Bryant said. “(Scottie) Pippen had a (messed) up back taking charges. (Larry) Bird had a (messed) up back taking charges. I said, ‘I’m not taking charges.’ I figured that … out at an early age.”

Trey Kerby of TBJ on OKC being gym rats: “But now since Scott Brooks put it in my head, I’m having a hard time imagining the Thunder doing normal person stuff in their downtime. Like, I can’t picture Serge Ibaka going to the store and buying soup or Thabo Sefolosha popping in to a Barnes and Noble to look at some magazines. That kind of stuff has to happen, I’m sure, but it’s really weird to think of the Thunder doing it instead of playing basketball. For now, I’m just going to assume Derek Fisher runs all their errands like the dad that he is. That makes the most sense to me, so I’m running with it.”

President Obama likes the Thunder as a title contender.

Something I stumbled across today: Most random Thunder player in their short history: Chucky Atkins.

Berry Tramel on Westbrook: “I don’t know if Westbrook’s look is fashion statement or faux pas. But I do know this. It’s a disguise. Camouflage. A mask designed to make us think Superman really is mild-mannered Clark Kent. Or maybe to offer a clue that Westbrook, a dragonslayer of a ballplayer, really does have an alter ego. A clue that there’s a little bit of Urkel in him.”

Metta World Peace wanted Scott Brooks as his coach.

Trey Kerby of TBJ on Westbrook’s fashion: “Not to mention, you have to appreciate a guy who confidently picks out a shirt he likes, buttons it all the way up to his neck and then just nonchalantly tosses off an “I’ve been knowing how to dress for a while” like he’s not wearing a shirt our moms would buy for us when we were six. That’s bold. This is the pull-up jumper with 20 seconds left on the shot clock and Kevin Durant wide-open of explaining clothing decisions. It’s like he thinks he’s Kanye West or something.”

Mark Medina of the L.A. Times on defending Westbrook: “The Lakers’ hope that Westbrook would miss his shots backfired. From the beginning they allowed Westbrook to get in a rhythm by granting him open looks. That only bolstered his confidence and, more important, made it more difficult for the Lakers to absorb all the other problems that plagued them.”

David Roth of the Wall Street Journal: “The Lakers have won a lot of playoff games, and Kobe Bryant in the playoffs is, well, Kobe Bryant in the playoffs. But with Bryant himself acknowledging Oklahoma City’s athletic superiority in his post-game comments—and with that 29-point thumping still fresh in the memory—it’s easy to believe that this series could mark a turning point for the Thunder. For all the narrative catharsis and revenge related to that endlessly replayed elbow, the Thunder sure seemed to be serving notice on Monday that the real thumping will involve basketball, and is just getting started.”