The return of Kevin Durant from injury will be put to the test as they face the powerhouse San Antonio Spurs in the opening game of the season. This also marks the first regular season game for new head coach Billy Donovan.
Durant missed a large portion of last season due in part to a Jones fracture early on in the 2014-15 season. After spraining an ankle just 16 days after his return, Durant underwent surgery to relieve pain in his foot which turned into a season ending surgery.
While Durant was rehabbing in the off season, the Spurs were busy being very un-Spurs like in going after the NBA’s top free agent on the market, LaMarcus Aldridge, and ending up with not only Aldridge but savvy veteran David West as well.
If you are a basketball purist, then this game will be one that you should not miss. Plenty of great seats and affordable tickets are still available so be sure to get yours today and help cheer on your Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Memphis Grizzlies/Oklahoma Thunder series has proven to be a dream match up for the NBA as both teams, now tied at two games apiece, are well matched against each other. In game four, the Thunder overcame terrible shooting nights from both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and instead rode the young shoulders Reggie Jackson.
“Another leave-it-on-the-floor game, another overtime,” Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “Reggie played an outstanding basketball game and was able to attack the rim like he’s done all year.”
The Grizzlies were led by Marc Gasol, who turned in a 23 point, 11 rebound performance in the loss.
“When we can look back you think about a lot of plays that could have gone either way,” Gasol said.
Game Five is scheduled for Wednesday night. Great seats and cheap tickets are still available! Be sure to get yours now!!
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.
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.
The Oklahoma City Thunder made history last night en route to four straight victories over the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA’s Western Conference Title.
After trailing 63-48 at the half , the Thunder, behind Kevin Durant’s 34 points and 14 rebounds, outscored the Spurs 59-36 in the second half to move on to the NBA Finals.
“It just had everything to do with who we are as men, who we are as a team, the type of spirit that we want to show every time down the court,” Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. “It was all about that, about body language, about being a family. I thought our guys did that the first possession of that second half and they did not look back.”
The Thunder will now face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals. Game 6 is scheduled for tonight at 8 p.m.
Bryant puts loss on Gasol
The Los Angeles Lakers have been so up and down this season but right in the thick of the playoffs is not a place for a downswing as the Oklahoma City Thunder go back home for game six. Should the Thunder win, it will mark a new chapter for the team that was once known as the Supersonics.
“We know we have a big challenge ahead to close out a team. Nobody wants to go home early. We know the Lakers are a championship-level team,” Thunder Coach Scotty Brooks said. “They’re not just going to give us game four. We have to win game No. 4. We know it’s always tough to close out a team, especially a team with championship DNA. A guy with Kobe on their team is not going to give up.”
For the Lakers, winning two games in a row seems nearly impossible and Kobe has pretty much called out the entire team and specifically Pau Gasol who did not attempt one FG in the crucial 4th quarter and specifically with 33.9 seconds left in a tied game.
During a timeout, Gasol went to Bryant and set up a pick and roll play. Once the ball was inbound, Bryant swung the ball to Gasol who promptly tossed it to Kevin Durant.
“Pau’s got to be more assertive,” Bryant said. “He’s the guy out there that we need. When he’s getting the ball he’s looking to pass. He’s got to be aggressive. He’s got to shoot the ball. He’s got to drive the ball to the basket and he will in the next game.”
Bryant is right on that point, but it’s more than just Gasol, the whole Lakers team has to step up. While Gasol’s playoff best in points with the Lakers was in 2010 where he averaged 19.6 points a game (2012 playoff he’s averaging 12.4) the Lakers overall are only averaging 94.4 points a game. Hardly playoff basketball.
Meanwhile, the Thunder keep humming along averaging nearly 100 points a game (99.3ppg) and, more importantly keeping a calm, cool attitude that the Lakers were once known for.
The Teacher becomes the Student….this is the way of the NBA.
Durant hoping to lead team to first NBA Title.
Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder have just a few games left in order to win the Western Conference’s top seed. The San Antonio Spurs, playing steady Spurs ball are standing in the way and, with their win over the outmatched Lakers while the Thunder took a 92-77 thrashing at the hands of the surging LA Clippers leaving some to question whether the Thunder have enough firepower to get through the Western Conference much less the finals.
While everyone associated with pro ball know that both guard Russel Westbrook and Durant make for one of the most dynamic duo’s in basketball, they are still lacking a solid presence in the center that will keep them from getting too deep into the playoffs.
“There’s no time to panic right now,” Durant said. “We have to win the next game in order to get our momentum back.”
It’s ironic that the only one mentioning anything about panicking is Kevin Durant. Possibly because he is coming to the realization that his Western Conference foes such as the Spurs have not only three superstars but a bench as deep as the center of the Atlantic ocean. The Thunder are 2nd when they score over a hundered points, the Spurs are first and while the Thunder currently have the sixth best defense, the whole of the NBA knows that when Popovich wants to clamp down on you, you most likely will not score a bunch. As an example, when Kobe emerged from the locker room last night, the Spurs went on 18-0 run that extended the lead to 57-41.
Durant is watching but there may not be much he will be able to do once the playoffs begin.