Saturday, November 15, 2008
Game 9 Recap: New York 116, Oklahoma City 106
Royce and I had very conflicting opinions about tonight. While I was telling the team to control the ball, make half court sets, work around for a shot, and play defense, he was preaching, "Just run with 'em!" Well, it looks right he was the correct one.
At the very start of the game, they tried running the fast break, but Earl Watson kept missing shots, so they went to the slow style, and it didn't work. It was almost painful to watch as the Thunder couldn't get anything going and were forced into bad shots and turnovers. It's a common misconception that smallball teams play bad defense....they're usually actually quite good at it if you get them into half court sets. I don't know how many times I saw the guards of the Knicks leak out after a missed shot. One of the Knicks superb rebounders would grab it, and throw it up court for an easy lay in, while most of our guys would still be standing on their own end of the floor.
But, we were yet again witness to a second half comeback. I think I've nailed our games against the upper 20 teams of the NBA down to a 3 type of game science:
Type 1: Just get destroyed. (Example: the Magic game)
Type 2: Show some promise in the 1st and have a good lead, let it whittle down to a tie in the 2nd, and then just let the other team push their lead up to 20 by the time the game is done. (Example: the Celtics game)
Type 3: Come out really crappy, realize what you were doing wrong strategy wise, correct it, and come to within just enough of a margin to win, but then crap out in the last 5 minutes. (Example: todays game at the Knicks)
Tonights NBA flashback was Malik Rose. I mean, I had no idea that dude was still playing basketball! Much less in a run n' gun system under D'Antoni! I know there's no analysis here, but it's just kind of a wow moment.
I'm also finding myself really hating the FSN Oklahoma coverage. I'm really tired of Brian Davises voice, and Grant Longs insight is usually minimal at best. I was really psyched to watch the game tonight because I thought I could watch it on MSG with Walt Frazier, but DirectTV blocked me out (even though I have league pass) and forced me to watch Grant Long. If you think about their NBA careers, their broadcasting careers are about equivalent. And, I assure you, it's not because I'm sick of hearing the same guys. I really love the Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area guys, Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett. When I watch the Warriors, I love hearing Bobs voice, and Jims great old-school analysis, even if half the time he is reminding the team to trade the 2 for 1. Davis and Long just kind of have no personality for me. Maybe my opinion will change as the season progresses, but these guys are homers to the highest degree. "Did you just see Robert Swift pull down that rebound? Wow!" "We're within 15, looks like we have a good chance of winning!" Ugh, no way. Please get some new announcers!
As far as awards go, Kevin Durant had a typical Kevin Durant-y night. He scored a lot of points, which makes you think he did good, but then you look at his lack of other stats and his poor shooting and realize he had a crappy game. Who really exceled tonight was Russell Westbrook. He actually shot 50%....that's right, 50% from the floor tonight. He grabbed 10 rebounds, 5 of them offensive and tossed 6 assists, almost securing the all coveted triple double. Add on his 19 points, 6-12 shooting, and 1 steal, and you easily get the Thunder Wonder for tonight.
As far as the Thunder Down Under award goes, there are 3 who deserve consideration. Some might be tempted to go ith the black fingernailed Robert Swift and his 13 rebounds, but 4 points just won't cut it tonight. Some might be tempted to go with Jeff Green, who had 16 Points, 8 Rebounds, and 4 Assists, but his 7-17 shooting puts him out of contention. The real performer here is Nick Collison. 14 points, 7-8 Shooting, 6 Rebounds, and 1 Assist locks the award up for him. While his rebounds were kind of low, he still had an excellent and efficent scoring night.
Sadly, I have to give the Thunder Blunder award to Joe Smith. 4 Points, 2-3 Shooting, and 2 rebounds isn't totally bad in 16 minutes, but it was clear thst this was not his type of game. His 33 year old body simply can't handle such a fast game, and this was apparent for the large numbe ofr time he was standing around mid or quarter court watching a scoring play happen. He's much more comfortable in half court sets. Still, it wasn't that bad of a performance, as he din't really hurt the team all that much when he played, but nobody else on the roster really warrants it. I suppose one could just as well give the award to Johan Petro, but he was much more efficent with 6 Points, 3-6 Shooting, and 5 Rebounds in only 10 minutes. I really like Petro coming off of the bench, and I think that's where he should stay.
On the other side of the ball, David Lee gets the Thunder Plunderer award off of the bench. Since they were playing D'Antonis fast ball, everybody else has abysmal shooting percentages. With 18 Points, 7-8 Shooting, 6 Rebounds, and 1 Assist, David Lee definately earns the right to be the second Thunder Plunderer off of the bench.
Next Game: Saturday at the 76ers
If we go 1-9, I think I'll find that I have no mouth and I must scream. Our mater predicter had the right point differential, but he was 21 points behind on both scores. Still, that's somewhat good!