Thunder let the Hawks fly by

The mini-road trip for the Oklahoma City Thunder (11-7) began with a thud as the Thunder dropped a 106-100 game to the Atlanta Hawks (12-8) Monday night.  The road trip continues tomorrow tonight with a game against the Miami Heat in American Airlines Arena.

Expect the Thunder to continue with the small lineup of Durant, Ibaka, Anthony Morrow, Dion Waiters and Russell Westbrook that has proven more successful thus far this season.

You can welcome the Thunder back home as they return home to take on the Sacramento Kings this Sunday.  Get your tickets today and help cheer on your Oklahoma City Thunder!

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Thunder have backs against the wall; remain confident

Everyone in the NBA has heard it before.  All NBA fans have heard it. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the NBA Championship. But tell the scoring champion that it cannot be done and he will try to prove you wrong.  Ask Derek Fisher and he will tell you that the heart of a champion will never allow  you to quit.

“It’s all about keep competing until that last buzzer sounds and that’s what  we’re going to do,” Fisher said. “That’s the type of city we play for, a city that never gives  up. That’s the type of team we are.”

They have a point.  Oklahoma find themselves in this quandry because of mistakes they themselves commited.  When Durant picked up his 4th foul with under six minutes, the Thunder lead by six points and he was taken out of the game.   Westbrook was taken out nearly a minute later and replaced by Fisher who completed a 4 point play.

Then it all fell apart.

Brooks left Westbrook on the bench,  the Thunder fouled on two  three-point shots and had their own freethrow whoas shooting/making 6-11 from the charity stripe.  We all know how that ended.

In order for the Thunder to have a chance, Durant cannot collect five fouls again.  He has to play smarter yet still be aggressive against LeBron James and the team has to play within themselves.

“We didn’t get here just to make it here and say we made it to the finals. We  want to come in here and we want to try to get a title,” Kevin Durant said  Wednesday.

Game 5 is tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

Thunder fold under pressure despite 43 from Westbrook

It began with such great expectations.  Russell Westbrook seemed to be on the same page as his team and even hoisted the team upon his shoulders for the first quarter.  He made better shooting decisions and got his teammates involved.  But down the stretch, Westbrook  again tuned out and made bad decisions.

“Get this straight,” Westbrook said post game. “What you guys say doesn’t make me  happy, make me sad, doesn’t do anything. It’s all about my team and us  winning a game. I don’t have a personal challenge against you [the press] guys, and it’s not me against the world. It’s not the world against me.    It’s me and my teammates trying to win.”

With under a minute to go, Mario Chalmers collected a jump ball and was promptly fouled by Westbrook which, was the wrong thing to do.  Chalmers went to the free throw line and calmly sank both for a 103-98 lead.  You have to know that fouling was discussed in the huddle and when reporters asked Brooks about it he replied:

“It was a tough play … Could have been a communication thing.”

And Westbrook’s answer was nearly identical.

 “It was a miscommunication on my part. Nothing I can do       about it now.”

So now, the Thunder have adjustments to make before a possible series deciding game 5 in Miami on Thursday June 21, 2012.



Westbrook fades away in the final minutes

Much beleaguered guard Russell Westbrook cannot be blamed for the loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals but, he can be blamed for not paying attention.

Westbrook seemed to still be harboring ill feelings towards his coach after Brooks benched him to try and settle him down after making two ill advised plays. When asked about it, Westbrook said the following:

“Nah, man. I mean, coach’s decision,” Westbrook said. “Got to live with it.”

In the second to the last inbounds play of the game for the Thunder, Head Coach Scott Brooks had his team in a huddle and was designing the inbounds play. Well almost the entire team.  Down at the end was Guard Russell Westbrook looking off into the stands, the scoreboard, the opponents…everywhere but at his coaches clipboard.

When the whistle sounded for the game to resume, the Thunder began rotating and the inbounds pass went to Westbrook who was heading in the opposite direction for the game sealing turnover.  While Westbrook did end up with 19 points, it should be noted that it took him 18 shots to get them.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals will take place in Miami on Tuesday, 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.


Wade/Referees keep Thunder from Game 2 victory

The Miami Heat eeked out a 100-96 victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals over the Oklahoma City Thunder with a little help from the NBA Officiating crew.  More than a few blown calls went against the Thunder and, who could blame the NBA?  Would you rather have Miami, the NBA’s  6th largest market win the finals or OKC, the leagues 24th largest market?

The calls in question were many but most fans at Chesapeake Arena will remember LeBron James’ forearm in the gut of Kevin Durant as he went up to take a game winning shot.  No call ensued and the fans (along with Center Kendrick Perkins) went crazy.

Neither Durant or his coach Scott Brooks would feed into the idea…well kinda

“That’s one play,” Brooks said. “We have so many other plays that we could have done better to put us in a position to stay closer in the game.” He then added the following: “It was a play; he didn’t get the call.”

Durant also refused to call out the referees when asked about the shot and the no-call.

“I think I shot a good shot,” Durant said. “I just missed.”

“I really couldn’t tell you (If I missed the shot). I’ve got to watch the film, I guess.”

The series now moves to Miami for games 3, 4 & 5  with game 3 taking place Sunday night at 8 p.m. Eastern.


Miami folds under pressure, bow to the Thunder

Durant/Westbrook score 41 in the 2nd half to the Heat’s 40

The Miami Heat needed all hands on board when they entered the Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City and, it seemed for a while they were. But when the Thunder brought the score from double digits to within 7 by the end of the first half, the Heat swagger was replaced by a cold  shuffle.

Dwayne Wade looked much like he did in the first three series, somewhat lost and unwilling to attack the rim.  Wade ended up with 19 points but it took 19 shots to get them (7-19 from the field, 0-3 from the 3-point line) but he did manage to pass out 8 assists.  In the critical third quarter, Wade was 1-6 from the field.  Even Shane Battier looked spry next to Wade. Battier finished with 17 points on 6-9 shooting and 3-4 from the 3-point line

Both D. Wade and LeBron played down the loss.

“This was the feel out game,” James said. “We come here with a lot of energy, try to steal Game 1 and now we get an opportunity to go to the chalkboard, go to the film and have a better game plan for Game 2 since we’ve already seen what they’re capable of doing.”

When asked why he was not attacking the basket, Wade responded:

“I was attacking—getting my teammates shots, and I got shots for  myself,” Wade said. “Attacking  to me is just being aggressive. Some nights I have big nights scoring and some  nights I don’t. That’s been the season. That’s just the way that it’s designed  for me.  I’m just always staying aggressive, like I said, for myself and for my  teammates to make sure they get good looks, and also be aggressive for myself to  get shots. Some are going to go in, some are not.”.

For the Thunder, Kevin Durant finished with 34 points while Russel Westbrook finished with 27 points (12 in the pivotal 3rd quarter) 11 assists and 8 rebounds.

Head Coach Scot Brooks was pleased with his team but was quick to note that this was just one game.

“We showed a lot of toughness in the second half, but we’ve just won one game. K.D. (Durant) is a terrific player but he’s special because he defends. In our huddles it’s all about defense.”  Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks

Game Two of the NBA Finals is scheduled for Thursday June 14th.  Be sure to get your tickets to this most exciting finals match up.



Matchups to watch in the NBA Finals

The Oklahoma City Thunder have captivated their city and fans and are just four games away from making even more history. Forget the fact that the Thunder are the first team in the last decade plus not named the Lakers, Spurs or Mavericks to get to the promise land. This is the 4th Conference Championship for the franchise and the first since 1996.

But the excitement of this game will be the natural match-ups – LeBron against KD, Wade against Westbrook, Bosch against Ibaka…and you can count on veterans like Derek Fisher and Kendrick Perkins and even Nazr Mohmmad to provide a steady hand to the young guns on the Thunder squad.

“Once you get to the finals, it’s just about will and heart,” Thunder PF/C Kedrick Perkins said. “You could do all the scouting that you want to do and try to get ready for them, but at the end of the day, you done worked so hard to get here that it’s just coming from within. You’ve just got to dig deep…  By Game 4 or 5, you’ll see guys getting tired because of the season being long or whatever. It’s just digging deep and seeing who wants it more.”

Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals begins Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. on ABC Television.