Connect with us

NBA

OKC Thunder: The unsung heroes

Published

on

The Oklahoma City Thunder are an enigmatic bunch that leaves everyone, probably including themselves, perplex each time they take the court.

Based on the talent, and offensive firepower they throw on the court, one would expect them to be invincible. But, their offensive nuclear power can also drive them to the ground. They can kill you, or themselves as quickly, and ruthlessly as a shark to blood infested waters. The catch: nobody knows, on a nightly basis, if they are the predator or the prey.

How many teams in NBA history could go at the Roar-acle, home of the 73-9 Warriors, the greatest team of all-time, and pull off an upset despite watching their two best players struggling to shoot the basketball?

Kevin Durant shot a pedestrian 10-30 from the field, and finished 10 points below his scoring average against the Warriors this season.

Russell Westbrook shot 7-21, partly due to his awful first half, but managed to end the game with a respectable 27 points, and 12 assists.

So, while Westbrook and Durant will continue to dominate, and lead the Thunder in scoring, I want to take some time to reflect upon the unsung heroes that have contributed immensely to the Thunder’s success in these playoffs.

Steven Adams, and Enes Kanter are proving to be extremely valuable to this team, and their dominance on the boards is what is keeping the Thunder alive.

In Monday night’s win at Golden State, Adams dominated the Warriors’ frontcourt with a 16 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks effort that helped catapult the Thunder back into that game.

In the previous round, when everyone – including myself – thought the Spurs would laugh them off the building in four or five games, Kanter, and Adams became the mismatches that propelled the Thunder into the Conference Finals.

The two unheralded players established their rugged-and-rough style of play in their series against San Antonio, and thus far have kept it going against the Dubs.

Both Kanter, and Adams will never mistake anyone into believing they are key centerpieces to build a franchise around, but they play with as much heart, and fire as their indomitable point guard.

Adams was born, and raised in Rotorua, New Zealand. He is the youngest of 18 kids, and grew up in a rugby-mad country, and a city dominated by street gangs. In other words, toughness and attitude is his DNA.

Must Read:  2015 - 2016 NBA Preview - Eastern Conference

And, that is what he brings to the table on every play. A relentless warrior willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win the ball game. He is the guy who will trip Danny Green. A guy who will, fearlessly, push Tim Duncan over and stare him down without an ounce of care as to who ‘the Big Fundamental’ is.

Kanter, the Switzerland-native, Turkish basketball player from Kentucky, has yet to live to his 3rd overall draft pick status, but provides instant energy, heart, and hustle.

He and his Kiwi teammates have graciously accepted their roles as the ‘dirty job’ men. They patrol the paint forcing guards, and forwards to re-think their shot selections, and intimidate the opposition.

Against the Spurs, Adams averaged 3.5 offensive rebounds per game (21 total), and Kanter 3.3 (20 total), meaning that they gave their team an extra six to seven possessions each game of the hard-fought series.

And, when you think that three of those games were decided by four points or less, and two by fourteen, those extra possessions are where the Thunder won. An extra possession puts pressure on the defense, gives you more scoring chances, and with Kevin Durant, and Russ on the court, you will lose that battle.

Pat Riley famously said, “no rebounds, no rings,” and thus far the Thunder are outrebounding everybody.

In their first round series against the Mavericks, Adams recorded 38 rebounds in five games, a tad shy of eight boards per game. His partner in crime hauled in 35 in five games, meaning he averaged 7 rebounds per night.

As a team, the Thunder averaged 47.2 rebounds per game against Dallas who could only muster 35 rebounds per night. The biggest reason behind the Thunder whooping of the Mavericks was their dominance on the boards.

In their second round series against the Spurs, the Thunder hauled in 44.3 rebounds per game while the Spurs grabbed 38.8 boards a night. A much closer battle, which resulted in a much closer series, but in the end the result, was the same.

Monday night, the Thunder outrebounded Golden State 52 to 44, and this trend is likely to continue the rest of the series.

There is an old expression in French that goes “never twice without thrice!”

NBA

Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

Published

on

Usa Today 10601289.0
IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that he has been hobbled by injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

Must Read:  Steph Curry Caps Off Memorable 2016 Toronto NBA All-Star Weekend With Half-Court Shot

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship with the King of the land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

Continue Reading

NBA

Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles

Published

on

Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

Continue Reading

NBA

Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History

Published

on

Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History
The Gloves Are On For The Lakers.

From L.A. to South Bay the storied Lakers franchise has growing family ties rooted in their ever evolving modern history.

There’s the Walton. Son of Bill, former player and now coach Luuuuke. The Slam Dunk king he runs lay-up line plays for Larry Nance Jr. like his 80’s dunk champ dad. And even former player and D-League, South Bay coach Coby Karl, son of the legendary George Karl.

And then there’s the Glove story.

All trash talking, stop you from scoring, Seattle Supersonics NBA legend Gary Payton joined the Lakers with fellow golden era 90’s great post mailman, Karl Malone to try to get one more ring at the end of the Shaq and Kobe era. Payton ended up getting one with Shaq in the talented South Beach pool of Miami before the G retired. But now the gloves son and fellow Beaver, Gary Payton II (there’s a Tim Hardaway Jr. trend for NBA legend fathers to name their sons after themselves) is putting on the gold for the future of this franchises youth revolution.

After starting his unbelievably undrafted career with the young Milwaukee Bucks led by the alphabet Giannis Antetokounmpo, it wasn’t all A-B-C. But now he’s looking to put up numbers with the purple Lake Show off alphabet street like 1-2-3. Now number 23 (three more than his dad…but that isn’t the reason that number should p### the retire No. 20 off) is looking at a fresh start with Luke and Lonzo’s (not to mention Lavar’s) Lakers like no other.

The two-way guard has signed a two-way contract with both the Los Angeles Lakers and their NBDL team the South Bay Lakers (now more official than their former Los Angeles D-Fenders affiliate name, even if not in city). So now G.P. II will play for both Coach Walton and Coach Karl. How’s that for some family ties!?

Young Gary Payton the second had some impressive debuts off the bench for L.A. But now Payton mark II is assigned to South Bay like fellow two-way dunking Alex Caruso (he really does have a detective grade surname and a game that does not go with his frame) he’s ready to ball. Messing around in his debut and getting a triple double of 14, 11 and 12.

Must Read:  2015 - 2016 NBA Preview - Eastern Conference

Payton II could be a big part of the Lakers youth movement too like many of his current teammates going from South Bay to L.A. like Hollywood fans and script-writers can only hope LeBron will decide to this free agent offseason like he did South Beach all those last summers ago. Just like another rookie with a familiar surname in Thomas Bryant (no…Kobe isn’t THAT old) and of course Zupac.

Lead by the Ball family, the even better rookie and in no way number two Kyle Kuzma (who even goes one better in the Twitter troll back and forth with Ball brother LiMelo. “Fire your stylist”?! Oh yeah? “Fire your dentist”! Damn…can we smell a Shaq and Kobe beef cooking?!), three times a great rookie selection in the defensive Hart, big Brandon Ingram, of course Nance junior and the original future Julius Randle and his late round draft genius Jordan Clarkson (who’s not only balling like he’s the Sixth Man of the Year but like he should start too) this young Showtime, purp Laker legacy are making their own, unique legend in Mamba moment black.

This season it looked like the chance for an outside eight seed was thinner than the backlight on a retro Casio, but now the future is brighter than the South Bay sun from downtown L.A.

And with the Payton patent making Lakers history by becoming the first father and son duo to suit up for the franchise, it might just take a glove to hold this young core together.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
300 x 250 BB-Subscribe-Save

Buzzing