Tayshaun Prince Posterizer!
Thunder star forward Kevin Durant was ejected late in the 4th quarter of Oklahoma City’s blowout loss to the Brooklyn Nets late on Thursday after arguing an illegal screen call on team mate Kendrick Perkins. OKC were down 104-90 at home late in the game when a frustrated Perkins committed the charging screen on Nets’ Gerald Wallace. Durant, clearly unhappy with his team’s performance and the ensuing call, gave the official a verbal spray and bought himself a double technical. Durant was clearly unhappy with the way the Thunder had played throughout the game, especially in the case of guard Russell Westbrook who jacked up 19 shots and had 6 turnovers. Durant has a great reputation in the league, and this ejection is the first of his NBA career.
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Howdy folks! We’re back today with the latest team season preview taking a look at Western Conference favorites the Oklahoma City Thunder, Perennial dark horses the Philadelphia 76ers (or will they be?) and southern giant killers the San Antonio Spurs. Enjoy!
Oklahoma City Thunder
How Will They Do?
Oklahoma City are the NBA’s darlings, rising out of the ashes of the Seattle Sonics. Last year they fulfilled what most predicted – making it to the NBA Finals before being steamrolled by the Heat juggernaut. This season brings another series of high expectations and even more challenges. As the Lakers rebuilt and retooled for another assault on the title the Thunder took stock and made very few changes. Last season was an important moment for this franchise as it gave them the irrational confidence that they can now reach the highest heights. The biggest story line coming out of this camp this season will be can they re-sign James Harden? Currently the team is cash strapped. They hold the contracts of Durant, Westbrook, Perkins and Ibaka in their hands. Harden is the icing on this cake, coming off the bench with confidence, fearless determination and one of the best ball handlers in the league. Harden’s presence cements this team atop the Western Conference, without him there is an air of uncertainty. We really like how the Thunder have built upon their roster and given themselves depth at most positions. Collison & Jones backing up Ibaka & Durant as newest Thunder recruit Thabeet brings size off the bench. Harden, Maynor and Cook act as dynamite off the bench lifting the tempo of the team whenever they are on-court. Sure it’s not the deepest team in the league but it’s one of the most reliable, you know what you will get from your bench. Very similar to Moneyball it’s about working your way to a win any way you can. Coach Brooks knows this, has assembled a squad capable of challenging every team in the league. This team is one of the most explosive and dynamic in the league, a League Pass must every night. There is no doubting they have the talent, if they can just sprinkle in a dash of experience (gained from the 2011/12 Finals & Olympics) this team could destroy the Western Conference. Look for them to pick up 55-65 wins this year.
Welcome to another edition of NBA Nations Australia’s Roundtable Discussion
Our Roundtable Knights Are:
Nick Caro: @NickoToGo
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Leigh Ellis: @LeighEllis
This week we are joined by the 6th man for the Basketball Jones and The Score, Leigh Ellis. Leigh has been working closely with journalists in all areas of the NBA for a number of years and his podcast with JE Skeets and Tas Melas as part of the Basketball Jones are amongst the World’s most popular. Thanks again for coming along, Leigh.
Imagine this scenario for a moment, if you will. There’s two minutes to play. You’re up by 7 points. Game two of a playoff series in a game away from home against one of the league’s youngest, fittest and most athletics teams. You know that this game is a must win to regain home court advantage and gain a minor edge in the series. You have the momentum, the desire and the will to win. The game is as good as done, and all that is required is that you maintain the same level of intensity that you have for the last 46 minutes. It’s your opposition’s ball, and they utilize it well, driving to the bucket and cutting the lead to 5 and drawing the foul. They sink the free throw. The lead is cut to 4. You regroup and discuss the next play, but to no avail. Another lost ball, this time at the hands of your most trusted player, results in a turnover and a fast break dunk at the other end. Your lead is now 2.
2012 NBA Semi Finals Preview
Los Angeles Lakers (3) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (2) – Western Conference Semi Finals Continue reading
Rick Carlisle not happy with the calls his boys were getting.