Friday, November 2, 2012

Russ Russ Being Russ Russ

So the Thunder lost to the Spurs last night on a Tony Parker 20 foot buzzer beater (first loss at the buzzer in OKC team history).  A few observations about the game:

1) In stretches, Russ Russ is the most infuriating player in the league to watch.  There is no arguing his ability and his place as a game changer, but god damn, there are 4 minutes left in the game and your team is down 3 points, get the ball to the best scorer in the world, K. Smoove.  Don't take back-to-back-to-back wild layup attempts without anyone else touching the ball.  You're having an off night shooting the ball (6-21!!!!!!!) and you're a point guard, act like it and pass the ball.  Durant shot 50% from the field last night, why not give it a try?

2) The last 2 possessions of that game and the result come down to coaching and execution.  On one end, you have Russ Russ dribbling the clock down for 15 seconds while the entire OKC team stands around watching him, waiting for the 10 second mark.  Durant pushes off Kawhi Leonard to try to get open (no screens), can't, Russ Russ forces him the ball (couldn't have gotten him the ball earlier!?) and Leonard comes up with a huge steal (back to back 5 steal games).  Maybe it's on Durant for not getting open, but I put that one squarely on Scotty Too Hottie.  You are getting paid as an elite coach, act like it and draw up a play instead of just looking at Russ Russ and K. Smoove and saying "go throw that ball through the hoop so we win and I look like a genius."  On the other end you have Scar-Face, setting up a play for that fucking Frenchman that has like 601 screens and gets him a wide open shot.  Granted Westbrook made Pop look good with his horrendous defense, completely losing Parker and leaving him with no one in the same area code, but I say potatoes, pototoes. 

3) Back to Russ Russ.  5 Assists and 6 Turnovers!?  Really?  I get that he is not your stereotypical point guard, but he is still THE point guard of OKC.  I'm no genius here, but to win games in the NBA I'm pretty sure your point guard needs to do a whole hell of a lot better than a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio (would've been a step up for Westbrook last night).  Without Smooth J to come off the bench and handle the point at times, I'm worried that assist to turnover ratio is going to get worse before it gets better.

4) Kevin Martin didn't look bad.  He shot 40% from the field, including a big 3 towards the end of the 4th and ended up with 15 points and 5 assists.  Stating the obvious, Kevin Martin is not James Harden.  The Thunder need to figure out what the hell they are going to do with their second team.

5) The Thunder shot a horrendous 38% from the field including a lower first half shooting percentage than all of last year.  Smooth J was on the team last year.  He isn't now.  Just saying.

Conclusion: The Western Conference is wide open.  I give the edge to the Spurs followed by the Thunder and Lakers.  The Thunder HAVE to be concerned that they are now the 3rd best team in the West.  Everyone is making a huge deal out of LA's slow start, but they're just going through the growing pains that Miami went through in 2010.  They'll be fine and I'm sure the Black Mamba will have them right there in May and June.

On the bright side, Poppa Perk seems to be coming around on Scotty Too Hottie's coaching:

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