Would Somebody Please Help Poor Russell Westbrook?
Sports |  Source: denverpost.com

Would Somebody Please Help Poor Russell Westbrook?

I feel so bad for Russ.

I don't know how Russell Westbrook does it. I just don't know how he does it. Because if I were Russell Westbrook, I would want to bury my head in the ground and not look at a basketball for weeks.

Westbrook scored 51 points, had 10 rebounds, and dished out 13 assists, but the Thunder lost to the Rockets, 115-111, on Wednesday night in another frustrating display of how little help the explosive point guard has.

Russ was straight-up cooking to begin Wednesday, leading his time to a big lead midway through the third quarter: he had the Thunder up by double-digits, 86-74, in Houston!

Maybe the Thunder could snare one in Houston? The odds of them winning the series were still going to be very long, but a Game 2 win would go a long way to making believers out of everyone.

Then, as coaches tend to do when players are exhausted and need at least a couple minutes to catch their breath, OKC head coach Billy Donovan took Westbrook out with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Again: they led, 86-74, with 2:20 left in the third quarter.

When the fourth quarter began, the lead was down to 89-86. It took 140 seconds of game time for all of Westbrook's hard work to go straight out the window, which probably had Russ sitting on the bench, feeling like...

It's consistent: when Westbrook does otherworldly things on the floor, the Thunder win. When he comes up just short of incredible, they tend to lose. During the season they went 33-9 in games when Westbrook recorded a triple-double, and 13-25 when he didn't.

They were basically a swinging pendulum, following Westbrook's every move, because let's face it: around Russ, Oklahoma City has very, very little talent to help him out, and we're seeing the problem areas come to the forefront in this series.

In the fourth quarter, Russ missed a whole bunch of shots and couldn't do much of anything right, probably because he was the only reason the Thunder weren't trailing by 30 after three quarters. It was ugly, but it's so hard to blame the man when he's on an island.

The Thunder will probably win a game in Oklahoma City, but the series won't last much longer, nor will it ever be in a great deal of doubt because, while the Rockets are one of the best teams in the league, the Thunder are not. They have one of the best players in the league. It's a big ol' difference, especially in the playoffs, and especially when you play great competition, game in and game out, for an entire series.

Sorry, Russ. You're gonna be tired for another week, and then your season will be over, and none of it will be your fault, but it'll happen anyway.

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Sports |  Source: sportswire.usatoday.com

Was Thursday The Last We'll See of Tim Duncan?

Nobody thought the Spurs would actually lose to the Thunder.

Raise your hand if you thought the Spurs were going to force a game seven against the Thunder.

My hand was raised, and I'm sure I wasn't alone.

It's the Spurs! The same team that went 67-15 in the regular season. Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, Aldridge- these names make a GM drool! These guys? Lose?

But oh yeah, the Spurs lost. And they lost badly.

The Thunder simply overpowered the Spurs. After losing the first game of the series by 32 points, the Thunder showed why they are one of the most dangerous and athletic teams in the NBA this season.

The game actually started pretty well for the Spurs. They went up 19-13 with about four minutes left in the first quarter.

Then it all went to shit.

The first quarter ended on a 12-0 run for OKC, and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich wasn't happy about it.

It got worse.

The Spurs made a comeback, sort of. They had the chance to bring the deficit to single digits with about four minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder were simply too much, and managed to seal the game off with a 113-99 victory.

There are a lot of storylines here, but there are two worth mentioning.

One: this may have been the last time we saw Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili play in the NBA.

This is pure speculation, but Duncan is 40 years old. He's arguably the best power forward of all time, but no player is better than father time, and he might be calling for Duncan. Likewise for Ginobili. He's 38, and he's been playing with Duncan since 1999.

But again, I could be totally wrong on that and they could both be back next year.

The second story here is much more fascinating, and it's how lethal the Thunder are when they are firing on all cylinders.

Like I said earlier, they could possibly be the most athletic team in the NBA- not just this year, in a long time. Westbrook is a monster, Durant is a former MVP. And everyone else on the team hustles their butts off and it pays off.

The Thunder were more physical on the glass, outrebounding the Spurs 50-40. Led by Steven Adams, the Thunder's seven foot big man from New Zealand, the Thunder's role players outhustled, outworked out outplayed the Spurs.

On a side note, Adams is only 22.

With the Spurs out of the way, the Thunder now have to take on the seemingly unbeatable Golden State Warriors. But for now, the Thunder can celebrate a bit.

Raise your hand if you think the Thunder will lose to the Warriors.

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Sports |  Source: sportsworldnews.com

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook Have An Interesting Relationship

They're fun to watch, that's for sure.

The dynamic duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant have been the cornerstone of the Oklahoma City Thunder since 2008-09. While their performances should merit a discussion for the NBA Hall of Fame, sometimes it seems they need to be taken to the timeout chair.

On the court, there are times when it seems that the two are fighting for shots. They go from Kobe Bryant to Rajon Rondo in a matter of possessions. Westbrook, as the team's point guard and primary ball handler, usually dictates the pace of the game. Durant, as the better and more consistent offensive player, provides a lot of the scoring. Because of that dynamic, the two can and has been at odds before on the court.

Sometimes it look like the Thunder have no other options than to watch Durant and Westbrook take the shots they want. It is almost like the two stars had a conversation and realized that it is hard enough to share the ball with each other, so just forget the rest of the supporting cast. Everyone but Steven Adams, because he looks like the main henchmen in any spy movie ever made.

That being said, the two have found a middle ground for each other to maximize their different offensive games, with Durant more slick and wiry and Westbrook more explosive and aggressive. Together, it makes a combination that rivals Lennon and McCarthy.

Their relationship can be much like that of college roommates. They can fight, threaten, and hate each other, but if anyone else talks trash about either of them, the other will step in. Just ask Mark Cuban when he was critical of Russell Westbrook. Better yet, ask Kevin Durant about Cuban's comments on his teammate.

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Sports |  Source: sportingnews.com

A Rough Night for the Warriors

In all reality, they won't shoot as poorly as they did Monday night again.

To everyone's surprise, the Oklahoma City Thunder walked out of Oracle Arena with a victory in game one of the the Western Conference FInals over the Golden State Warriors. Not many saw it coming, but here's how it all went down.

One Rough Night
Tonight was playoff basketball. Gone was Golden State's smooth ball movement and outside accuracy. Gone were the unstoppable Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook isolations. Instead we were left with a scrappy slugfest that came down to two things, turnovers and defensive mismatches.

These guys became their team's spirit animals for tn.

Turnovers, Turnovers Everywhere
It wasn't your classic clean cut Warriors game, but they did manage to turn the Thunder over more times than they gave up the ball, if that's any consolation. It seemed to be a classic case of playing down to your opponent, even though the Warriors were poised to come away with win at the end of the first half. The Thunder appeared to be literally handing the game over to the Dubs. Instead, OKC kept running and managed to keep the game close, thanks to the master of style.

OKC came away with a win despite Russ and Durant shooting 33 percent from the floor with clutch shooting in the final minutes of the fourth. Westbrook put together an outstanding third quarter to draw the Thunder within striking distance, and Durant finished the job late. Either Golden State got swept up in the run and gun or Billy Donovan is the ultimate master of subterfuge.

Warriors Mismatch Feast
The Warriors knew the game plan of who they needed to attack going into the game. In short, it was take the ball at Enes Kanter. Every time he guarded a Dubs player he looked like a lost child at the mall who was too scared to cry, and it happened a lot.

Kanter did well on offense but not nearly enough to make up for his defense.

Despite the win, it was evident that OKC has a serious problem at shooting guard. The three headed monster trash monster that is Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters, and Randy Foye isn't pretty. This isn't exactly news, but Klay Thompson made it a glaring issue once again.

Roberson had stretches of adequacy, but it's hard to justify mediocrity when he lets a Warrior player permanently camp in the paint on defense. Waiters is a chucker, and if he ain't chucking, then he might as well be sitting. Who else forgot Foye was on the Thunder? These guys are asked to to stop Klay, good luck.

In all reality, Golden State won't shoot this poorly again and Thunder head coach Billy Donovan will have to address the mismatch issues before Wednesday if the Thunder want to go up 2-0.

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Sports |  Source: thesportsdaily.com

The Thunder Took It To The Warriors

Steph Curry and company are human, after all.

Sunday night, the Thunder did something no team in the NBA would've dreamt of doing during the regular season: they beat Steph Curry and the Warriors by 28 points.

Yeah.

And while that sounds insane because of how damn good the Warriors are, there were warning signs that this kind of thing could happen.

It went largely unnoticed because of the whole "best regular season in freaking history" thing, but when the Warriors lost in the regular season, they lost big.

Admittedly, the numbers are a little skewed because of Portland's 32-point drubbing of Golden State in the Damian Lillard Revenge Game(TM) in February, but in the Warriors' nine regular season losses, the average margin of victory for their opponents was 21.1 points.

Their postseason losses have been much closer, as postseason games tend to be: their first three losses of the playoffs were by an average of 6.3 points per game.

Then, of course, Sunday night happened.

Serge Ibaka got things jumping for OKC early on with this monstrous posterization over Festus Ezili.

Russell Westbrook was out-rebounding multiple Warriors players on his own.

Even Dion Waiters was doing things!

Thunder exploded for a 32-7 run to end the first half.

At one point, the run reached this level of fire:

The Thunder set a franchise record for most points in a postseason game. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 63 points on just 34 shots.

It was, in every sense of the word, domination.

Still, it's not all doom and gloom for the Bay Area bombers.

After each of the Warriors' five double-digit losses during the regular season, Steve Kerr's squad bounced back strong. They responded by winning the following games by an average of 14.4 points per game. When the Blazers beat them by 12 points in the second round, the Warriors responded with a seven-point overtime win the next time out.

All told, Golden State has yet to lose back-to-back games in 96 games since October. History suggests they won't start now, with the best player in the world and the 2015-16 Coach of the Year in tow.

But!

Don't look now. The Thunder have a 2-1 series lead on the Warriors, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook playing like the superstars they are.

If Oklahoma City wins Game 4, things will get very, very interesting.

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Sports |  Source: 12news.com

The Warriors Aren't Bad, The Thunder Are Just Better

Right now, that is.

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night, taking a commanding 3-1 series lead.

People, what's happening to the Warriors?

The Warriors that went 73-9, the best regular season record of all time.

The Warriors that have the first unanimous MVP.

My answer: absolutely nothing.

True Story:

This last semester, I took a philosophy class. I took my fair share of bad grades, but I showed up to every class, went to office hours, and did the readings every time.

My buddy also took this class, and he was much better at philosophy than I. He got good grades, but relied too much on his natural ability to teach himself (that's kind of what philosophy is anyway).

The night before the final, I pulled a near all-nighter and was studying like mad. My buddy went to the bar.

I got a 96, he got an 88.

The Warriors aren't falling apart. What we are seeing is a team rising to the heights everyone thought it was capable of.

Russell Westbrook (triple double machine) and Kevin Durant (former MVP), when firing on all cylinders, are a more dangerous backcourt than the Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The duo from OKC is faster, stronger and more athletic. No disrespect to the Splash Brothers, but tape don't lie.

If you think about it, the Thunder match up perfectly with the Warriors. Every skill set, every personality is accounted for. The reason the Warriors are so good is because they play fast and efficient basketball.

All it takes to beat them is another team that does the same thing, and people have expected the Thunder to be that team all season.

Thing is, the Thunder were like me. They took their losses and had their growing pains. Remember the drama of Kevin Durant potentially leaving OKC after this season? I think the only thing Durant is thinking about right now is hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy. We got caught up in the little, petty things and failed to see that the Thunder were putting in the work.

The Thunder went to office hours. The Thunder did the reading. The Thunder took their bad grades. They look like they've been up all night preparing for this moment, the Western Conference Finals.

The Warriors look like they've been out at the bars. Down three games to one, their regular season performance is already a thing of the past. I wonder how much they studied for this test.