Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pre-Season Game 5 Recap: Clippers 90, Oklahoma City 88

Dr. Strangesmell or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Stench
Yahoo! Boxscore
The Thunderworld Recap

Tonight was a night of bad jerseys, bad play, and badass dancing.

When I went to the Ford Center around 5:45, there were more people there than expected. That was good, but what was not good was the fact that there was absolutely nothing to do. It was completely and totally boring. They had the typical food from the World-Famous Slap Shots, and they had the typical lottery stuff, but aside from that everything seemed kind of lame and last minute. There were no activities or anything. There were no signs in the stadium, very little overall theme, and the floor simply read "Ford Center". Still, it's the Pre-Season, so I expect them to have everything in order in time for the Season Opener.

Almost every activity that they had was a copy of what happened when the Hornets were here. T-Shirt throwing, kids slam dunk contest, free throw contest, running around the bat and trying to make a layup, seat upgrades, and the dance cam all made returns. You name it, and it'll probably be copied by the Thunder. Speaking of the dance cam, if you saw a particularly sexy guy in a blue shirt and blue headband doing the "Apache" dance and getting more than 30 seconds of full-fledged camera time, you guessed it, it was me. (Yes, I looked like a total dork.) Oh, and every single time they asked, "Whose ball is it?", I would automatically say, "Hornets ball!!!!". I guess I'm a creature of habit.

One last side note....2 of the worst NBA uniforms were out there tonight. The Clippers uniforms have always totally sucked. The red, white, and blue looks really cheesy and bland. Honestly, I'd rather them just rock the light blue Buffalo Braves uniforms all year. As for the Thunder uniforms, we've already been over that.

Anyway, on to the game itself. The crowd seemed pretty apathetic towards the pre-game lineups, and the first quarter. The first was full of high energy low post manuvers by both teams. Then, in the second quarter, the Clippers bought in all of their subs minus Ricky Davis, and it was a sludgefest through the third quarter. The Thunder had their starters out, but they played like total crap. It wasn't a defensively-minded game, like you would see in a Spurs matchup. Rather, it was just total crappiness and sloppiness on both ends.

Well, every time except this time....

Most of the time, the Thunder would have to rely on Durant or Westbrook pretending that there was a brick wall in front of them and getting "fouled" while having no intention of hitting the shot. I mean, is that even satisfying? Other players I've seen, like Baron Davis and Chris Paul, do it a lot, but they at least make it fun because they actually try. Westbrook, Durant, and more famously Dwayne Wade hardly even try to shoot, and just act like they got an electric shock. I know it's kind of a soapbox here, but it makes the game boring and makes them look horrible on the stat sheet (Durant went 6-18, Westbrook went 3-11). Comeon guys, at least try.

Well, eventually after a total sludgefest, about 1/8th the arena filed out at the end of the 3rd, with half of the remaining people seriously considering putting on their coat. Than, suddenly, the energy increased and the game got intense. Durant was hitting his shots, and everybody else on the floor was contributing well. On the other side of the coin, Mike Taylor played absolutely insane. Who is Mike Taylor? I don't know, but he was incredibly intense. He had a clutch 3 and he got a key steal for a dunk within the last 2 minutes.

Is it the shoes?

Anyway, long story short, we were pretty close going into the final two minutes. Then, Johan Petro got two freethrows and missed them both. On top of that, Mike Wilks got a steal for a dunk. All said and done, we ended up down by 3 with about 13 seconds to go. Durant had a "shades of Atlanta" 3 point shot, but it rimmed out and Houston got the rebound. Ricky Davis sank 2 freethrows, and Russell Westbrook sank an irrelevant 3 at the buzzer. The whole arena was kind of bummed, but they clapped for the team anyway, and it gave me hope that we can cope with losing for a couple of seasons.

Now, for tonights....

Thunder Wonder and Blunder: Johan Petro
12 Points, 6-9 Shooting, 14 Rebounds, 3 Blocks, 1 Turnover, 1 Steal

Johan Petro had a super game tonight. I mean, nobody could have predicted this at all. He got some good momentum early with an extreme dunk, and just kept producing all game. Hell, he even hit a 12 footer! I mean, he didn't out step his place, and did what he needed to to help the team. Probably a career Pre-Season game. So then, why is he also the Blunder? Well, he missed a couple of clutch freethrows down the stretch, and that was really the turning point that put us back behind the Clippers.

Thunder Down Under (Honourable Mention): Nick Collison
10 Points, 4-8 Shooting, 8 Rebounds, 1 Steal, 1 Block, 2 Fouls
Not particularly impressive on its own, but considering that he only played 15 minutes, he was extremely productive. Everybody elses play seems far too sloppy to include. 13 team assists?! I mean, comeon!

Thunder Plunderer: Al Thornton
23 Points, 8-13 Shooting, 6 Rebounds, 5 Turnovers, 1 Steal

His turnovers were a bit high, but Al was an absolute scoring beast tonight. He hit a whole lost of midrange jumpers and simply couldn't be stopped, even during the extremely lame-duck quarters.

Thunder Plunderer Down Under: Mike Taylor
14 Points, 5-9 Shooting, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 2 Turnovers, 3 Steals

I don't normally do this, but I gotta give props to this guy. His stats are only good at first glance, but he played with extreme intensity on the defensive end. He very nearly forced a whole lot of turnovers, and the ones that he did force were crucial. He forced the Thunder to be constantly on their toes bringing the ball up, and he even hit a clutch 3 late in the game along with a crucial jam in the final minute. Somebody give this guy a roster spot!

That's it for tonight....stay tuned for the last two Thunder Pre-Season games, Thursday Oct. 24th at the Phoenix Suns, and Friday Oct. 25th at the Los Angeles Lakers!

Bonus!
Fashion Notes:

P.J. made an excellent choice of tie tonight.

Along with that, Mike Dunleavy Sr. is the last guy on the planet besides Mike Morgan to have a fake handkerchief in the right pocket of his suit simply for style. Rock on, man.

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