The Thunder started the week off in promising fashion, building on their win streak with wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, and Sacramento Kings by an average margin of victory of 18 points. Unfortunately, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson ended the Thunder’s five-game win streak virtually by themselves, as they shot 14-27 from beyond the arc, and the Golden State Warriors walloped the Thunder into oblivion by 16 points (and it was much worse than that).
SIX THINGS FROM THE WEEK
Whoa my Russ. Okay, so a part of this is good fortune, but I still watched this in amazement approximately 200 times.
Victor Ola-THREE-po. Remember that time I referred to Alex Abrines as Ah-three-nes due to his scorching three-point shooting one week? Well, Oladipo has given me yet another opportunity to create a wildly imaginative pun. Since his return from injury, Oladipo has been shooting a red-hot 63% from three. He’s been an absolute critical part of the Thunder’s recent success, averaging 18 points per game on 50% shooting.
Semaj “Lebron” Christon. That chase down block was something else, wasn’t it? And good on Doug McDermott for capping it with a transition three the other way.
Furious and bewildered. On Sunday night, ESPN published a bizarre article by Chris Haynes, in which Haynes reported that the Golden State Warriors organization was “furious and bewildered” by the Thunder’s “inactivity” leading up to Kevin Durant’s first trip to Oklahoma City as a member of the Golden State Warriors. Look, there were obvious reasons why the Thunder didn’t hold a press conference before the game to plead with fans to be nice to Durant (it alienates players who, uh, didn’t leave; the team already made several statements complimentary of Durant; and it would be super weird). And despite Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry denying the claim, the sad fact remains that the Warriors have created this perception, based on several reports now, that Durant’s feelings are so delicate that he can’t handle something that happens in sports all the time—an opposing fan base ridiculing an opponent. Durant clearly thinks his tenure in Oklahoma City should make him immune from any vitriol over his departure to Golden State–and certainly he did a lot of good here, for which he absolute deserves credit–but he ignores the fact that Oklahoma City did a lot for him as well. Not only did the organization pay him as much as possible, the team literally dictated their roster decisions to give Durant free reign to play as he pleased (including pushing Westbrook to play second fiddle). Not only that, but the fans supported Durant as few fan bases support a single player. Many Thunder fans even spent real money to sit through Thunderstruck in a movie theater. So, sure, maybe Durant wanted a press conference or a video tribute or a nice pre-game word about his time in Oklahoma City, but let’s not forget that this guy only gave the Thunder and its fans boilerplate thanks in his awful Player’s Tribune article, and aside from a few random cordial comments, Durant has never taken the time to pay tribute to the team and the fans that supported him for his entire career. But go ahead, Durant and Golden State, be bewildered.
Andre Roberson is not a very good free-throw shooter. I guess this makes sense.
Triple double watch. With twelve games left, Westbrook needs 87 rebounds (7.3 per game) and 99 assists (8.3 per game) to average a triple double on the season (he already has enough points). He also needs a triple double in 8 of the final 12 games to pass Oscar Robertson’s single-season record of 41 triple doubles.
AND ONE MORE MAKES SEVEN
Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. The Stache Bros., as they are affectionately called, took the internet by storm with two beautifully produced videos promoting Westbrook for MVP (click here and here). It’s refreshing that amid all the hullabaloo about Westbrook chasing individual stats, many of his teammates have openly campaigned for him to win MVP, with these clever videos the most powerful statements of any.
If you haven’t seen the videos, you should watch them. More than once, probably. There are many Easter eggs or funny bits, including, among others:
- Tom Selleck pictures in the background
- Adams and Kanter love “The Notebook” movie
- The photo of a clean-shaven rookie-year Adams
- Referencing Kanter as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and Andre Roberson as an All-Defensive Team candidate.
- A reference to snakes
- Roberson covering his mouth the entire video, trying to keep from laughing
- The Stache Bros. drink Juicy Juice
- Nick Collison