Friday, November 14, 2008

Thunder vs. New York Knicks: Pre-game primer

vs.
Oklahoma City Thunder (1-7) vs. New York Basketball Knicks (5-3)
Friday, November 14
Madison Square Garden
New York, New York
6:30 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)

First, love this question from Bill Simmons' mail bag today: "Perhaps the biggest story in the NBA that nobody is talking about is the sheer size of PJ Carlesimo's glasses. It looks like he took the windshield out of a '68 Catalina, chopped it in half and attached some industrial strength frames. This is perhaps the most unfortunate eyewear selection since George Costanza chose his new look from the Gloria Vanderbilt collection." Spot on. I can't believe I've let eight games go by never commented on those goggles. I've thought about it numerous times as I watched Peej stroll the sidelines with his arms crossed and those massive windows on his face. But I never thought to say anything about it. Nor could I have articulated it as perfectly as that. All P.J.needs now is that little chain around his neck so he can wear 'em while he's playing Canasta.
Oh yeah, tonight's game. The Running D'Antoni's are off to a nice start and people in New York are ecstatic about the change. The team is playing fast and loose and Knicks fans are actually clapping and cheering rather than booing and chanting fire someone.
With the Knicks tossing up a season best 132 in regulation against the Grizz this week, and OKC allowing 71 in a half against Orlando, is it possible New York could touch triple-digits in the first half? Oh yeah, yeah, the defense is improved. But it better be really improved if you want to slow down the Bockers. New York hit 19 threes against Memphis and just ran the Grizzlies right out of the building.
Honestly, this is a decent matchup for the Thunder. Kevin Durant is a game-time decision and if he doesn't play, it will likely be another attempt to just keep it within 20. But if he's playing, I think OKC can play with them. Through eight games, the Thunder has played best when playing loose and fast. They've played worst when trying to run terribly simple half-court sets. Most experts would say not to fall into D'Antoni's game and try and run with them. I say do it. Especially if the KD isn't playing. Try to score with them. Throw Russell Westbrook in there and see how fast he can run from one end to the other. It may not work and OKC may still lose, but that's better than running some painful, 20 second halfcourt set that ends up with a Desmond Mason fadeaway clanking off the rim hitting a running Jamal Crawford in stride and the Knicks scoring .006 seconds later, right?
Right now, OKC is 28th in the league averaging 88.5 points per game. The Knicks average 103.4 a game. Unless the Thunder intend to play out of their minds defensively tonight, they are going to have to score with the Knicks. And like I said, from what I've seen through eight games, a lot of times they score the best when pushing the tempo. That doesn't mean looking at the shot clock and seeing it's at 18 and thinking, "Oh crap. I gotta shoot!" It means, not walking the ball up the court and trying to run some lame motion set that goes nowhere. Press the pace but still take wise shots. That's how OKC dug itself out of holes against Utah and Orlando. That's how it built a 15 point lead in Indiana. Play loose. Play fast. But play smart. Because like I said, I just don't know if there's hope to beat the Knicks tonight by scoring 85 and holding them to 84. Unless they come out cold, which is a possibility.

What to watch for:
I'm actually pretty excited for this game because I'm anxious to see how Jeff Green responds after one of the best games of his career. He threw up 25 and 10 and was very aggressive but still played within himself. Obviously, if there's no Durant, he'll have to do more of that, but honestly, if there is Durant, he needs to do more of that. He's that second scorer the Thunder's dying for right now. I realize 25 and 10 isn't reasonable on a night-in, night-out basis, but 18 and 8 is.
It's the same thing every preview, so I'm just going to put it briefly: OKC needs to play four complete quarters. No slow start. No drag in the second quarter. No lackluster close of the fourth. A complete game. If you're going to play your tails off, don't do it trying to make up a 25 point deficit. Do it trying to build a 25 point lead.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Maybe we should have waited three more years and made a play for the Hornets."


You wonder why people hate you guys ....... this is why.

Make a play for the hornets?

Do you have any idea how incredibly disrespectful that is to the people in New Orleans? Do you even care? You certainly pretend too, yet we (meaning fans across the country) can see through it.

So good luck with the ex-Sonics and understand that at least 2 cities, more than likely another 5 or 6 looking to profit off of your upcoming failure to support the ex-Sonics, are watching every empty seat and just can't wait to watch you guys eat crow.

You guys did it to Seattle and New Orleans. What makes OKC so special as to not get the same treatment?

Anonymous said...

"Maybe we should have waited three more years and made a play for the Hornets."

Where is this quote? Did the author delete it??

Royce said...

I just don't get why OKC isn't allowed to try and have a professional sports franchise. So many cities "have made a play" to bring pro sports to their city. So many cities have moved. Are you still outraged about the Browns moving to Baltimore? Does that still fire you up? Are you on Raven's blogs standing on your soapbox screaming about the injustice?

Right now, Las Vegas is scouring the league trying to find a team to move there. Should people be parading down the Strip to tell them to stop? Kansas City is looking for a team to fill its new arena.

If a team is going to move, then they are going to move. It's simple. Many teams before have moved cities and many more will.

It is not a certainty that basketball can survive in NOLA. It was no secret that they did well in OKC. So if George Shinn was going to move his team again, why not OKC?

So when Seattle is trying to pull the Nets from New Jersey or the Grizz from Memphis, I expect people to be protesting in Seattle to prevent it from happening.

Anonymous said...

The "Author" posted it at the okc thunder message board.

Anonymous said...

Royce, the difference is that those fans are not actively seeking out other team's message boards and insulting them like you did to Seattle and New Orleans (in the days following Katrina no less).

All I can say is that you will see exactly how it feels in the years to follow. Certainly KC, LV, Norfolk, and other cities will be circling OKC just waiting for you guys to fail. It doesn't feel good, and OKC fans have brought all of this on themselves.

If you are going to dish it out then be prepared to take. If not, then don't act surprised when fans take joy in seeing empty seats in the Ford Center that OKC practically sold it's soul to fill with someone else's team.

Royce, I tried to post at the okie site a couple of years ago to end this crap. You guys were not interested in coming to some kind of settlement, I was told to "swim back to the nazi board". Instead you took in CLT fans, that did the same thing to New Orleans that Seattle fans are doing to you. Okies have brought this on themselves and it's going to take a long time to live that down.

Anonymous said...

You ask "I just don't get why OKC isn't allowed to try and have a professional sports franchise."

Because you never extended that same courtesy to New Orleans or Seattle fans. Instead of handling Katrina or the Sonics relo with some sort of dignity the okies decided to rub those things in our faces. Now we are all supposed to get over it and let the okies enjoy "their" franchise.

Sorry, but that is not going to happen. Every non-sell out is going to be mentioned and held up as an example of your poor support. Every loss is going to be blamed on the fans for not "supporting" the team well enough. Get the idea? Ever heard of What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander?

It's just a shame that the very vocal bad fans in OKC have to screw it up for the entire fan base because I'm sure there are good fans in OKC. But even you don't get it, in your post you wondered why you guys didn't just wait 3 years and go after the Hornets. Why not just wait 3 years and have Clay go after an expansion team, your own real team?

Steve H said...

One of the delicious ironies of the "seattle troll" phenomenon is that these losers won't be getting a replacement team for another 10 to 20 YEARS. The two owners before Bennett both complained that Key Arena was inadequate- and were ignored. Until they build a bigger, modern arena, there is no way in hell the NBA will be putting another franchise in Seattle. And there is no way in hell the taxpayers of Seattle are going to build a new arena anytime soon- in the HOPE that the NBA will give them a franchise, when the know for a FACT they could have kept the Sonics if had just acted earlier. It would amount to admitting they were wrong and asking for another chance. I admire Royce for always trying to take the highroad with the trolls, but if you are less high minded than our host, the site "Supersonicsoul" is a fun place to make fun of these guys in their natural environment.

Anonymous said...

Steve H, if not for the fact that you live in OKC and thus are likely insolvent, I would be willing to bet $1,000 that Seattle wins its second NBA title before OKC gets its first. You probably haven't been reading any newspapers other than the Oklahoman, but if you had been, you would know that the City of Seattle is currently working on a Key Arena remodel that seems to have the support of virtually all politically important parties. It will be presented to the Legislature well in advance of the upcoming session, unlike Clay's hastily compiled and presented "proposal." Once we get the arena funded, we will have an exorbitantly wealthy owner waiting with open arms to take an unloved, recently relocated franchise (Memphis? NO? Charlotte? OKC???) and transform it into the Sonics v2.0.

Meanwhile, you'll have a Durant-less, Green-less, starless team losing night after night in an empty building.

Anonymous said...

Also, I should point out that I'm a different Anonymous than the other guy who made all the anti-OKC posts in this thread.

Also, OKC is down 22 to New York with 2 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter. I bet you guys are wishing you could give the Sonics back.

Steve H said...

A remodel? That's what you are pinning your hopes on? Are they going to add a couple thousand seats as part of this remodel? Keep dreaming dude. If a remodel was all the place needed, you would still have a franchise- hell, Starbucks never would have sold to Bennett in the first place. PLUS I suspect the city's scortched earth legal strategy left a bad taste in the mouth of the existing league owners- I KNOW that Stern isn't a fan. Nope, you guys have a long assed wait until your next home game. Get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Steve H, it is people like you who make the internet a vast wasteland of unsubstantiated claims and epithets. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, so you either make things up or resort to personal attacks. Here are two facts that completely rebut everything you just said (again, try branching out beyond the Daily Oklahoman and maybe you won't come off as so ignorant):

1) As part of Seattle's settlement with Clay, the city got Stern to go on record and say that a remodeled Key Arena would be a viable NBA venue.

2) Just three weeks ago, the Associated Press ran the following story: "NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday 'positive' talks have gone on between the league and a potential ownership group headed by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who led an ill-fated plan to save the Sonics earlier this year."

So YES, a remodel will be fine. And NO, the league does not have a bad taste in its mouth - I think it has a guilty conscience and wants to get a team in Seattle ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Clay used the excuse that a remodel wouldn't be adequate so he wouldn't have to stay, per his "good faith agreement".

A remodel would've worked for the previous owner, it would work for Ballmer. The NBA said it would work.

Clay's a liar. Sad thing is you still believe him.

Steve H said...

Well I guess that's my bad- looks like you guys are just days away from your big return. Positive talks AND a ringing endorsement as "viable". So tell us again- why did they approve the move in the first place? And why would Seattle be ahead of Las Vegas and Kansas City- both of whom have recently completed shiny new arenas? Oh yeah, corporate guilt, I forgot.

Steve H said...

And another thing- you guys need to choose between rightous indignation at having your franchise stolen- and plotting to steal a franchise away from some under performing burg, though I am impressed that you can espouse both positions without having your heads explode.

Anonymous said...

They approved the move in the first place because Stern will get down on his knees and cater to the whims of his owners. If Clay says a remodeled Key isn't viable, then Stern adopts that stance. If Ballmer says it is, Stern will back him up.

As to why Seattle would get a team over LV/KC, are you really that dense? My entire argument is predicated on the assumption that Key Arena will be remodeled. So the fact that LV/KC have shiny new arenas is moot. If we don't remodel the Key, I'll admit we have no chance at landing a team. Now, ceterus paribus on the arena front, the NBA would clearly prefer to have a team in Seattle than KC/LV. The Sonics have established franchise value and name recognition, as well as a 41 year history of support. Not to mention the fact that Seattle dwarfs both of those cities in size, affluence, and proximity to China.

Look, I know you are just being a d*ck for the sake of riling people up. But you need to step back and realize that the Sonics were a really, really big part of many people's lives in Seattle. What you are doing is analogous to making fun of someone because their mother died.

Anonymous said...

Steve H, you make a good point. That is why I will only support Memphis, New Orleans, or an expansion team. The Grizzlies were stolen from the Northwest in the first place, and haven't exactly developed a rich history in Memphis. The Hornets have only been in NO for like six years, and NO has twice failed to support the NBA.

If the Kings, Hawks, Bucks or some other similarly situated team were to relocate to Seattle, I would boycott the NBA.

Oklahoma City Thunder Attendance said...

I too find it annoying at how Royce acts like the way OKC was drooling over New Orleans' franchise was fair game.

It was far worse than going after the Sonics. Circling over one of New Orleans' prize possessions after the worst natural disaster in recent American history was just disgraceful. And OKCers have the gall to play it off like they were being good Samaritans. Puh-leeze.

Anonymous said...

Royce is wetting his pants right now at the number of comments his blog is getting. That's the only negative to this one-sided bashfest.

Anonymous said...

I meant wetting his pants in a good way.

Oklahoma City Thunder Attendance said...

The yokels at the OKC Plunder site were telling Royce to block all hostile comments. Right. He'd have about 2 comments per thread if he did that.

C'mon Royce - You have an interesting blog with a lot of back and forth! If you take away this forum it will quickly become dull and boring and have the same 5 people posting over and over and over, contributing nothing interesting or new. Kinda like OKCNBAFANS.com!

Steve H said...

I have to say, I prefer angry trolls like "attendance" to the whiny, "you're so mean", "it's like our mom died" trolls that make up the anonymous contingent. You are all TROLLS for christ sakes- you go to a site where you hate the content to attack and belittle the host and all of the genuine users- PLEASE don't whine about how you are being abused you mewling, pitiful, pussies- If you are going to troll, TROLL LIKE A MAN!

Anonymous said...

New Orleans supported the Jazz, the relocation had nothing to do with "support". The Hornets are being supported very well now, when they were winning 18 games a season the arena was empty and rightfully so ........ just look at Indy, Philly, Charlotte, Sac, and several other cities right now.

The bottom line is that the NBA never should have left Seattle. If Stern was so desperate for the OKC market he would have granted Clay an expansion franchise.

My original point was that I find it ironic that OKC fans would be shocked at the bad press. They stole a 40 year old franchise from a city that has everything the NBA needs, all the while they bashed and trashed the fans of Seattle for not supporting their "team". I believe Seattle and New Orleans didn't deserve the treatment they received from okies in the past 4 years. They had this coming, poor support is just the icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

Seriously I can't get over this, blogs are WEIRD.

- A. English

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the bottom to fall out in OKC. The excuses have already started. Sorry you don't get that luxury. You are a disgrace to the league. Oklahoma City is the biggest joke in professional sports. People don't hate Las Vegas and Kansas City because they are real cities, with real people.

Margarita Prentiss said...

This is hilarious. The Seattle Sonics died of neglect. They starved to death. It was a slow, painful death. The team suffered through year after year of mounting financial losses with the owners pleading with Seattle to help save them but Seattle said, SCREW YOU, save yourself.....so the owners had no other choice but to sell the team and not one person in Seattle was willing to by the team with their "arena problem".

The trolls love to call Bennett a liar but the big picture says that he was painfully honest. "If there's not an arena solution within one year, the team is moving". Seattle said SCREW YOU and your "artificial deadline" and low and behold, there is no arena solution and the team is gone. Okc did everything they needed to, to attract an NBA team and Seattle did everything they needed to do, to lose one. They got what they deserved.

Anonymous said...

No rational person could actually see the facts that way. However, an OKC resident with an inferiority complex could conceivably spin the facts that way.

Margarita Prentiss said...

It's called denial....take a deep breath, son. You'll be alright.

Anonymous said...

Good comeback.

ArealCity said...

Have any of you ranch hands even seen the Key Arena? Even been on a plane? Or do you just believe what your high-school level journalist's write? Seattle will get another team in 4 years, and the "Thunder" (haha, stupid name) will remain at the bottom with all the other minor league cities (memphis, charlotte). But I guess its better than going to a rodeo.