Friday, December 19, 2008

Well how do you like that - OKC shocks the world and beats Toronto

Thank you Nick Collison. What an awesome, gutsy hustle play to give Oklahoma City its first win at home in 47 days. That play really summed up why the Thunder came out 91-83 winners over a fast imploding Toronto squad.

For 48 minutes, the Thunder simply outworked the Raptors. Loose balls, charges, steals, everything - were going OKC's way. The effort was obvious from the tip and part of that reason was a shakeup in the starting five. Finally, Scott Brooks got Damien Wilkins out of the first five. Playing with him out there for the first eight minutes of a game was like having a dead body being drug around. I was actually planning on doing some research to find out if Wilkins was maybe the most unproductive starter in league history. Also, maybe the Johan Petro experiment is wrapping up. Collison finally got the start at the five and while the group was small, they were also quick, much more energetic and way better defensively.

You look at the box and its got all the symptoms for another Thunder loss. Eleven missed free throws, 18 turnovers, 3-13 from downtown and just 44 percent from the field. But the biggest thing is the Raptors shot a miserable 36 percent from the floor and OKC outrebounded them 54-48. Chris Bosh was held to a 6-18 night and Russell Westbrook played excellent defense on Jose Calderon. Coming in, both teams were giving up over 100 a game, but tonight either both teams played good defense or both teams played bad offense. I think it was a bit of a combination. The Thunder rotated extremely well, the intensity was very high and OKC doubled Bosh some, but Collison and Wilcox really did a nice job one-on-one.

Oh and look out world, because Russell Westbrook's jumper is coming along. He's getting more and more confident pulling up and he's not forcing it to the rim all the time. He went for 19 on 7-12 shooting with eight assists. At times, he really looks unguardable. Kevin Durant didn't shoot the ball all that well, but still managed 24 and eight boards, but nailed a monster trey with about three minutes left (How about his posterization of Jermaine O'Neal; that was awesome). And Desmond Mason was huge - seven points and 10 rebounds, but his energy and intensity really carried the team tonight. Really, it was just a total team effort - Joe Smith was great, Jeff Green played well even though he was saddled with foul trouble and Wilcox had good minutes.

Rumor has it Bosh refused to speak with the media after the game and got into a small tussle with a PR guy. I guess that kind of stuff happens when you lose to a 2-24 team. But I think the Raps are about one more bad loss away from totally blowing up. They were 8-9 under Sam Mitchell and since he was burned, they're 2-7, including a loss to the Thunder. And more than anything, they lost because it just looked like they had given up and got out-hustled. Ouch.

Look, I know OKC is 3-24. It's not good. At all. No matter how you try and mix it. But that's sure better than 2-25 - one game better in fact. And with the way the Ford Center responded after the win, that little 91-83 win meant quite a bit. My wife, who has no interest in the team whatsoever except for cringing every time she hears "Thunder" because the name bothers her so much, was on her feet urging the team on late. She was joined by 19,000 other people that were begging this team to finally win one in front of them. There's a reason OKC got tagged for having such great fans. Tonight was a good example of it.

While some of it was half joking, half relief and all happiness, fans were high-fiving, yelling in the streets and honking car horns around the Ford. I know that sounds pretty stupid, but this city is dying, and I mean dying, to embrace this team and make them its own. And tonight was a step towards that. One guy behind me was talking to his friend and said, "You would have thought we just won the NBA title or something. But hey, I'll take it. This feels good - just don't remind me of our record." This group has played better under Scott Brooks and has been in every game except one with him at the helm. Tonight, instead of the traditional folding down the stretch, the Thunder rose up and got it done.

When the Raps cut the 10 point lead to to three for most of the fourth and then finally tied it, everybody in the building had the "Here we go again" feeling. But instead of locking up and kicking the ball away and failing to get rebounds and giving up easy buckets and missing bunnies in the lane and giving away possessions, the Thunder actually did all of the above. It started with Durant hitting that huge three to break a 76 -76 tie. But it was highlighted by Nick Collison's hustle play - going to the floor against Bosh and wrestling the ball away. But instead of getting a jump ball, Collison kept working and kicked it out. The ball swung around to Westbrook who drove and banked in a jumper to put OKC up by four, 85-81, and basically put win No. 3 in the bag for the Thunder. This may be a little ridiculous to say, but when you've only won three games, big moments are few and far between, but Collison's play is probably the play of the season so far for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City gets a day off before King James and the Cavs come to town Sunday night. Last time the two squads matched up, Cleveland walloped the Thunder by 35.

35 comments:

Steve H is a D-Bag said...

F*ck the Thunder. Your happiness makes me suicidal.

Joe said...

That's the idea...how can we help?

AD said...

good game tonight Royce...
Ford Center was alive...
Bricktown was booming after the game...

Anonymous said...

Shut the f*ck up about Bricktown. Do you realize what a retarded name that is for a basketball city???

Anonymous said...

"Shut the f*ck up about Bricktown. Do you realize what a retarded name that is for a basketball city???"

Nothing like intelligent and well thought out responses! Go Supersonics!

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for pointing out the irony in the fact that a 3-24 team (congrats on the big win tonight) plays in a city called "Bricktown."

Anonymous said...

joe, you're a shameless self-promoter. move to OKC if you love it so much. you should really spend more time with your kids than dedicate your life to a team you have even less in common with now than you did when you lived in seattle. or have royce and his wife babysit. next time i see those dirt/feces-caked feral bastards sleeping in my shed, i'm going to teach them to read. then everyone except royce wins because shortly thereafter they will post as anonymous. i hate all of you.

Anonymous said...

Don't get discouraged Royce, whenever you feel down just remind yourself of how big of a douche bag you'd have to be to daily troll blog's of teams you don't cheer for to spew nonsensical idiotic hate.

For prime example of nonsensical idiotic hate read the post immediately above!

Anonymous said...

Don't let this get you down Royce. There are many douche bags out there just like you running pathetic blogs. It's just that you are an Okie and are a few notches below them. Other than that you are doing fine.

Anonymous said...

OKC has the best fans because only in OKC do you find fans that cheer after a win?

Royce, you and several of your okie friends need to get over yourselves. While you guys were going to rodeos and country music concerts fans all across the country were going to sporting events and cheering for their teams and celebrating victories.

Why do you think OKC invented it, perfected it, and made it your own?

Do you guys do anything with humility?

Anonymous said...

A better example of "There's a reason OKC got tagged for having such great fans. Tonight was a good example of it." that would be the several games in which the Thunder lost at home and the fans boo'ed the Boomers.

I guess you guys are too stuck up to accept the bad fan reactions, only the winning and cheering.

The Boomers will be in KC before 2020, that is something you can bet on. There are already rumors in KC that if the economy keeps going at this pace Clay and company will have no choice but to sell the team.

Anonymous said...

Feel free to keep living your lives based on "rumors" circulating (and made up on) SC.com. Cause the rumors they've reported have been so accurate in the past.

slade the gay blade said...

Seattlites still blaming everyone else for the Sonics going under. Still failing to take responsiblity for their own actions...

Clay Bennett is a great man. He was just named "Oklahoman of the Year".
It also looks like because of Washingtons 5 billion budget deficit mess that Bennett is going to be off the hook for the other 30 million dollars of the lease buyout agreement. Isn't that hilarious?


"The chairman of Oklahoma City Thunder has been named the 2008 Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today magazine.

"No one came close to Clay Bennett as we set about selecting this year’s Oklahoman of the Year,” said Louisa McCune-Elmore, Oklahoma Today editor-in-chief.

"His accomplishment presents an extraordinary moment in the life of Oklahoma, probably among the most important achievements in our capital city’s history,” said McCune-Elmore.

The magazine’s cover story features an in-depth profile of Bennett in "Thunder Roll,” written by Steffie Corcoran. The article chronicles Bennett’s life and the events that led up to the relocation of the team.

"The year 2008 was an eventful year in Oklahoma, but nothing seemed as potentially transformative as the birth of the Thunder franchise in Oklahoma City,” said Oklahoma Today publisher Joan Henderson.

Those who know him best describe Bennett as a man of action. “People respect Clay,” says former Oklahoma City mayor Ron Norick. “When Clay is involved, things are going to happen.” Bennett grew up in Oklahoma City, graduated from Casady School in 1978, and married his high-school sweetheart, Louise Gaylord, in 1981.

Bennett’s respect for hard work and his civic involvement have garnered this Oklahoman of the Year great regard from his peers, both locally and in the wider community of the NBA. “I feel confident about the good hands the [Thunder] is in,” says NBA commissioner David Stern, “because they’re in Clay’s hands and in the hands of his investor group.”

The NBA may be happy about the team’s move to Oklahoma, but no one is as thrilled as Oklahomans. The NBA is considered the largest global sports brand. “An NBA franchise is an obvious economic boom, but just as important is what it does for the momentum and morale of Oklahoma,” says Governor Brad Henry.

“What I like most about this article and accompanying photos is its thorough review of the Thunder relocation, but also its insights into Clay’s unwavering commitment to his hometown, state, and especially his family,” says Hardy Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “It’s a real portrait.”

Oklahoma Today publisher Joan Henderson says, “The year 2008 was an eventful year in Oklahoma, but nothing seemed as potentially transformative as the birth of the Thunder franchise in Oklahoma City.”

“Clay Bennett had the resourcefulness, tenacity, and acumen to make that dream a reality,” says Governor Henry."

Anonymous said...

You realize that the entire rest of the country thinks it is hilarious that Clay was your "Man of the Year" right? The guy is scum and everyone but you can see it. See: articles on SI, Deadspin, ESPN Page 2, etc.

Anonymous said...

Being Oklahoman of the year is kin to being retard of the year. The fact that you would even qualify for the award, much less win it, makes you a loser. Of course retard (Oklahoman) of the year is lauded by other retards (Oklahomans) while the rest of the world laughs at you. Thank you for illustrating that.

Anonymous said...

I think it's hilarious that okies honestly believe that having an NBA team makes them any more important than they were 10 years ago. OKC is a joke of a town. Notice I didn't type "city", because anyone that has been there will tell you OKC is no "city". They will tell you that "it's getting better", but better from what? They still have a failing educational system, meth/drug problems, and people are moving out to bigger and better places.

When the "most historic thing to happen in your state" is gaining a pro franchise then that alone speaks for itself. The okies know it, they understand what it means, and yet they are very careful not to mention it because it shows how incredibly sad their lives have become.

OKC beat Seattle and bought the Sonics, big freaking deal. Seattle is still Seattle and OKC is still a 3rd tier town in the middle of nowhere. People sitting around the world don't know anything about OKC, they don't think about OKC, and they are not planning on making a round the world trip to visit Bricktown. And that kills them, because that is a fact that will never ever change no matter how many pro teams they attempt to steal.

Anonymous said...

Clay is Jesus reborn. Mrs Gaylord told me so, and being an Oklahoman I only believe things told to me by the Gaylords.

Anonymous said...

Okies should keep this stuff in perspective, they have won a total of 3 games with that incredible "famous" fan support.

3 total wins so far. Think about it before you start bragging about yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Did the retard Okies invent breathing, eating and electricity too? Okie revisionist history probably says so. Welcome to 2008 you dumb fuck hicks.

Anonymous said...

"...but tonight either both teams played good defense or both teams played bad offense. I think it was a bit of a combination."

Wow. Yep, that's as far as I got through this post. I mean, I enjoy this blogger's enthusiasm, but isn't this the shittiest writing ever? Is this how everyone in OKC speaks? It's like a seventh-graders journal or something.

The "Bricktown" thing is hilarious, btw. And great win for the Sonics.

Anonymous said...

LOL

Shhhh. The okies haven't exactly stolen someone else's educational system yet. Where Royce comes from he is probably considered a good writer. LOL, I know it's screwed up but true.

Anonymous said...

An Okie that can read is considered intelligent. An Okie who can write is a genius.

Anonymous said...

Hey Royce, how does it feel to live in a place the New Jersey paper calls an NBA gulag?

***In case you are wondering, a gulag is not considered a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Doug likes to mix Jack Daniels with his gulag.

chnews said...

Wow. And so we can see...stealing another city's team isn't exactly the path to sports fan bliss.

When do we see posts on Kevin Durant's next destination once he's free of this hell hole? I bet he goes to the Lakers....

Anonymous said...

Royce, please keep this blog going. The entertainment value at Oklahoma City's expense is priceless.

Anonymous said...

Wait, this is a real blog? I thought this blog was some kind of joke put out by sour Sonics fans. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Anonymous said...

It's official - Royce is on the brink of quitting for good. His spirit is broken. No Cavs recap???

Anonymous said...

Posting a recap would be easy. All he would have to do is copy and paste one of the previous 24 losses.

criminy. said...

Haha, you guys crack me up. Bricktown? Really? For the record assclowns, the term "Brick" in basketball is not a good thing, you goddamn fucking idiots.

Anonymous said...

The term Bricktown refers to part of downtown Oklahoma City that used to be nothing but rundown red brick warehouses. A fitting term for this section of town prior to 1993 when the renewal process began would have been Cracktown. Our Triple A baseball team plays in what has been called the "Bricktown Ballpark" since 1998.

It is amazing what Google can tell you if you are not too busy being an asshole to look.

Anonymous said...

No no, we understand that "Bricktown" is an affectionate nickname for OKC. We just think it's hilarious that it's such an appropriate nickname given the suckiness of your new team.

Anonymous said...

I thought it stood for the bricks in all of your heads.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand what Bricktown is ....... a fake tourist area copied from the San Antonio River Walk.

Once again, who here thinks anyone anywhere will want to visit Bricktown? Maybe a redneck living in the far reaches of Oklahoma, but not any normal walking breathing human being.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the Seahawks win this past weekend! I bet the fish market was absolutely nuts!!!