Tag Archive: Kevin Durant

The Thunder Are Built to Last

June 8, 2012 Adam Thomas

Built to last till time itself falls tumbling from the wall
Built to last till sunshine fails and darkness moves on all
Built to last while years roll past like cloudscapes in the sky
Show me something built to last or someone built to try—Grateful Dead

Bill Walton would be proud. Starting out an article using a Grateful Dead song to describe an NBA team. That song–I think–is about how nothing lasts forever, not even TIME (far out). My counter argument to the Grateful Dead would be to look at the Oklahoma City Thunder. They my friends, are built to last.

Their nucleus is young and locked up for a while, their bench is deep and their coach is great. This is their first trip to the finals. I doubt it will be their last. I fully expect them to handle the Celtics and the Heat easily. That is, of course unless…

2.) Lebron James has 4 games in a row like he had last night.  Good golly what a show.  Look, I hate Lebron James, you hate Lebron James. Everyone hates Lebron James. The dude is a douche. And how cringe worthy is it every time someone refers to him as a “BRAND.” Gah!  Shut up. Enough with the brands!  He is a human, a player. And he is phenomenal at what he does, when he chooses to do it.

Which is why he is easy to hate. He made it look so easy last night, and it makes you wonder ‘why can’t he do that every night?’ I dunno. I don’t even think Lebron knows. He is a man-child of the highest order. If he ever becomes “the man” like we saw last night on a full time basis, then watch out. Championships are in his future and haters like me will just have to give credit where credit is due. Or pretend like the NBA doesn’t exist.

3.) Speaking of the NBA…the Sixers are heading for a pretty interesting off-season.  And me and Randy could not disagree more about what they should do with Iguodala. My position is the same as it has been for the last 4 years. TRADE HIM. Yes he throws down thunderous dunks, but he also has bad knees, can’t score and never “takes a game over.” Evan Turner–even if this was a TERRIBLE thing to do at times–at least tried to put the team on his shoulders in the playoffs, and that’s what I like to see. I like my team leader to not be afraid to fail, Iggy is TERRIFIED of it. He always has been (not unlike a certain person mentioned above). To be fair, Iggy did have some big moments in these most recent playoffs, but it’s too little too late. I’m tired of the Sixers settling for mediocrity.

If they can move Iggy for a top ten pick, I do it in a heartbeat. Goodbye Iggy, Lou and Spencer.  Don’t let the door hit ya.

4.) Phillies. Bleh. Terrible. Time for a sad confession. I have not watched one game from start to finish ALL SEASON LONG. Isn’t that a sad statement to make? Yes. But it’s true. I don’t think I could name you the Phillies line-up. Call me a front runner if you want, but I think I’d be like this even if they were winning. I’d just be bragging more (isn’t that the definition of a ‘front runner?’) Baseball is just incredibly boring to me. It’s like hockey in that regard. Playoff baseball and hockey are awesome to watch. The regular season…not so much.

 

 

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Like That Bron-Bron? Had That Long Time Ago.

May 25, 2011 Randy Neil

Good lord. Lebron James and the Miami Heat are definitely going to win a championship now. Whatever life the Bulls were trying to salvage was crushed last night.

Derrick Rose attempted to ‘be more aggressive’ in the game, and it worked, for a bit. The first half, Rose was dunking on fools, dropping sweet jumpers, and dishing out great assists. The second half, Lebron James basically shut down everything Rose was trying to do, and Chicago didn’t have ‘a big 2’ to fall back on.

James is a scary man (aside from that very feminine embrace he had with Wade.) You could see the confidence breaking in the Bulls, and Lebron made sure to jabber in the ear of every Chicago player in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. It was degrading. James can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, including that block on Rose that acted as an exclamation point for his defense. You can’t talk shit back when you’re getting beat up. Rose was getting beat up.

Just be thankful I didn’t write a rebuttle post to my own post and go back on my Heat prediction. It was insane listening to these analysts praise the Chicago defense after game 1, writing off the Heat as if they weren’t capable of adjusting match-ups. Charles Barkely practically gave Chicago the series after game 1, and now that game looks like eons ago. Stick to your guns.

It also appears that my OKC prediction is officially doomed. By the hands of it’s own players. The power struggle that was brewing between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has exploded, and most of us didn’t even know it was there in the first place.

I keep remembering a discussion from PTI from about a year ago. Kornheiser brought up Durant’s emergence in a small-market team and the likelihood that he would stay in Oklahoma. Him and Wilbon were wondering if the NBA’s leading scorer would remain with the franchise, and that’s when Westbrook’s name was brought up. Durant already publicly announced his desire to stay in Oklahoma, but nobody was sure about Westbrook.

I’m not sure if the media is blowing up this story or if this is an underlying problem that has been brought to the forefront because of the playoffs, but it’s here. And it’s a big one.

My prediction – Dallas runs over the deflated Thunder, Miami runs over the deflated Bulls, Miami wins the Finals in 5 games. Just like 06′, Dirk ain’t gettin’ his ring at the hands of the Heat.

So with basketball practically written off, summer can officially start and baseball season can finally be the full-focus sport for me. This coincides perfectly with Utley’s return off the DL, and I’m going to say something that might possibly get me thrown out of a very high building but…

I would rather (GASP) have Wilson Valdez (WHAT) at 2nd base, than Chase Utley (GOSH) on defense (oh.)

It sounds kinda crazy right? Hear me out.

Wilson Valdez is an insanely better defensive second basemen than Chase Utley. Last year, they played about an equal amount of games, Utley (114) to Valdez’s (105.) Utley had committed 11 errors to Valdez’s 3. I need to remind our readers that this doesn’t include the 2010 post-season. This doesn’t include Utley’s miserable error from Sanchez (THEIR PITCHER) in the 2011 National League Championship. I’m still convinced he single-handedly ruined that series with not only his horrific fielding (3 errors,) but his ‘flipping’ of the ball after being hit by a pitch that almost started a brawl that ended Sanchez’s night (right before he was about to get lit up with 2 on and 0 outs.)

Valdez also boasts a better fielding percentage. In Valdez’s fielding chances (which are less, mind you, because he also played SS and 3B for a part of last year) he turned more double plays and had more assists than Utley throughout the year as well. Thank you baseball-reference.com.

Hitting on the other hand….. Valdez is batting a dismal .234 with 9 RBIs and 0 HRs this season. Utley would destroy those numbers in the first two months of the season.

Just to put things in perspective though, I learned an interesting fact a few days ago from my colleague Mr. Thomas. Chase Utley has spent pretty much all of spring training and the first two months of the season on the DL with a knee injury. Andre Iguodala, Philly’s least favorite athlete, played the remaining month of the season and all of the playoffs with the very same injury.

Utley, beloved. Iguodala, hated. Obviously, both sports are incredibly strenuous on a knee, but Utley gets a pass for his recovery time, and Iggy is scorned for his role on the Sixers. Just keep that in mind.

I’m not starting a hate-wagon, just trying to bring some people’s love-fest back to Earth. I would always put in Utley over Valdez, but I wish he was our DH and Valdez was our 2B. Call me crazy.

Go forth and enjoy your day! Tonight, the Phillies try to win the series against the Reds with Halladay on the mound. First pitch is at 7 P.M.

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The Defense Is Killing Me Inside

May 11, 2011 Randy Neil

So the huge pitchers duel from Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay lived up the hype last night (sarcasm.) Yeah, they pitched great, but the Phillies lost, so it’s still a let-down in my eyes. Having Josh Johnson in a fantasy league didn’t help either. You want him to do great, but so great that he still loses. I’m like Tupac with all my inner conflict.

How many innings does Roy Halladay plan on pitching this year?? Seriously. I get that he is a work-horse, the man wants to pitch all the time, but he’s pitched for 61.1 innings so far this year, which leads the league. The next highest is Jered Weaver at 57.7, who is about 5 years younger. It’s awesome that Halladay has the stuff to go 9 innings every start, but it doesn’t mean he should. Not in mid-May.

Charlie needs to start digging into the bullpen and take the reigns a little. Halladay’s emotions were clearly running a little wild when Polanco was too slow throwing out Ramirez in the 8th. Roy looked like he wanted to smash his face in. Just pitch 7-8 innings and save that arm for the fall.

I watched the Grizzlies/OKC game from about 5 minutes of the 4th quarter to the end of the 2nd OT. Yes. That’s right. I stopped watching. Overtime after overtime, it was just getting a little out of control. The identity crisis that Oklahoma City is having right now makes me wonder if they are going to make it past the Mavs IF they make it past the Grizzlies.

Westbrook is taking a lot of heat for not dishing the ball to Durant in this series. They have a lot of weird defensive match-ups with the Grizzlies and it’s hurting the OKC’s offensive scheme, and even causing some drama in the locker room. Westbrook can basically drive at any point he chooses, so I don’t mind that he’s being a little more aggressive. He just needs to understand that the last shot of every quarter shouldn’t be him, and that it shouldn’t be Durant with 2 seconds left with a defender all over him because Westbrook gave a poor pass. It’s a learning experience.

It’s funny how relaxed a lot of these veterans are in the NBA playoffs… as they are losing. Kobe Bryant was ‘convinced’ he could still win the series after being down 3-0 to the Mavericks. And then he lost. The big 3 from Boston are trying to keep the same casual, care-free confidence as they travel to Miami to play the Heat tonight. I wonder what’s going to happen to them…

Once the Conference Finals are set up, I’m sure that we’ll probably have a revamp of our play-off picks. I know I need to. I still think the OKC have a pretty good chance of winning the whole she-bang, but with Miami playing at the level they are, I don’t know who’s gonna stop them. The Bulls and Hawks are taxing themselves in their series, so I pretty much have the Heat winning the East. This sucks of course, because the Miami Heat are everything wrong with the NBA, and they have (in my eyes) the easiest schedule and best chance to win the NBA Finals now.

Step 1 : Abandon teams, assemble new team of stars .
Step 2 : Play entire season casually, as to not strain yourself, draw media attention.
Step 3 : Win NBA Championship.

Perhaps I’m only bringing this up to double-jinx myself on my OKC pick. I mean, to be fair, I haven’t definitively changed my pick yet. There has been no official announcement of my new selection. So… in efforts to be respectable… my pick for the NBA Champion this year is…

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The NBA Playoffs are Nuts

May 9, 2011 Adam Thomas

The Atlanta Hawks could play the Memphis Grizzlies for the NBA Championship.  Wow.

So what happened?  Why did everyone seem to age 40 years in 20 days?  Kobe looked terrible and his team is now gone but they’ll be back next year when they get Dwight Howard so never fear Lakers fans!  Up until Game 3, the Celtics looked old until Wade tackled Rondo and it seemed to wake them all up at least momentarily.

Lebron is sporting the hairline of a 50 year old man.  But that isn’t even the scariest thing about these playoffs.

You know who looks really scary right now?  The Memphis Grizzlies.  They just look better than the Thunder.  I know that’s gonna upset some Headrush writers who saw the Thunder in person and were smitten by Durant and fell in love with Westbrook, but those two and their teammates are being worked over right now by the likes of Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Tony Allen, O.J. Mayo and Shane Battier.

As for the perennial villains of the east, the Heat, they did nothing to quell their dastardly ways during Game 3, with Wade throwing Rondo to the floor and Lebron using liberal use of the word “retarded” in the post game press conference.  James is such an arrogant POS, only he would use a word like that in that context and think there is nothing wrong with it.  He is a six year old in a grown man’s body and is just such a joke on so many levels.  Expect a half-hearted apology and a photo op soon.  F that guy.

How the Bulls are tied with the Hawks is beyond me.  But hey, that’s how these playoffs are going.  Expect the unexpected.

 

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After The Thunder, Comes the Tears

March 10, 2011 Randy Neil

Alright, so we didn’t win. We didn’t win. Ahhhhhhhhhhh that’s still taking some time to sink in. Up 5 points with 40 seconds to go, we were hanging with the OKC for the entire game, making shots, playing OK defense, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Kevin Durantula made an amazing 3 (which he got fouled on) to tie the game into overtime, and it was pretty much all downhill from there.

But, I will reflect on some of the good things. I had the most amazing seats I’ve ever had in the history of sports ever. Front row, right behind the Sixers bench, where I was literally feet away from every player I’ve been watching on TV for the past 2 years. We had our own waitress, who brought us things (and women) if we desired them, and access to the Lexus Club. It felt nice to smooze with the elite of Philadelphia. I saw some 80 year old man with two 30 year old ladies on his arm. BALLIN. Rich people don’t get hype like us common folk though, so to say that the crowd around us was bland would be an understatement. It seemed more about the outing than the game, and that ain’t right. Where’s my Miller High Life guy?

There are some things you get with a higher price ticket aren’t necessary supposed to be included. Hearing Doug Collins call out his players, directing them on how to play, was amazing. It was like watching a gladiator in Roman times screaming for the kill. You could watch the players jabber to each other back and forth, truly enjoying the game. One play Collins was so mad about a foul that he grabbed the ball and refused to give it back to the ref. That was directly in front of me, about 5 feet away. Awesome.

Eric Snow, one of Comcast’s TV play by play announcers almost got into a fist fight prior to the game. Here we all were, soaking in the seats we had got, and I look over and some guy calls out Snow for falling asleep on TV a few games ago during a Rockets’ game. Jokingly of course, and the man did fall asleep during a game on live TV, it’s all over Youtube, but Eric Snow did not like this one bit. He stands up, turns around, and starts talking shit to the guy in the crowd, about 2 rows behind us. It went on for like 5 minutes! Security ended up coming over, but apparently the gentlemen were able to squash it. Like really Snow?? You DID fall asleep on TV. It IS funny. Why you getting salty dawg??

Ah well. I wasn’t expecting a win last night, coming off an away game the night before, but I certainly hoped for one. I was impressed with how well the Sixers still managed to hang with the #3 team in the West, almost winning the game if it wasn’t for Durantula’s amazing 3 pointer. The Wells Fargo Center was packed, more than I’ve ever seen it. I got on TV a bunch, and now I have a new Facebook picture. That was well worth the price of admission.

I’ll leave you with two videos. This NBA 2K11 commercial I never saw on TV once, but it’s got Iggy and Russell Westbrook in it, pretty funny.

And, since baseball season is right around the corner, the classic Carlos Ruiz post game interview

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Before the Storm Comes the Thunder

March 9, 2011 Randy Neil

Man, all these NCAA violations are getting me fired up. First, BYU suspends their second best player before the biggest national tournament because he got freaky in pre-marital sex, then today Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel gets suspended 2 games and a quarter million dollar fine for knowing about players selling their used uniforms for cash.

It’s a god damn joke that players are intended to make absolutely no money the entire duration of their career at a college they help make millions of dollars. It’s a quarter million dollar joke that Jim Tressel is losing for knowing about the events and not disclosing it. What’s really stupid is the NCAA has a system where college recruits are allowed to visit schools and players, but they can’t bribe them in any way, shape, or form before they enter one of the largest grossing industries in the entire world. That’s insane.

You know what calmed me down though? THE SIXERS BABY!! Tough week ahead for the Sixers, going for a 4 game stretch in 5 days, but guess what? After tonight’s win against the Pacers, the 76ers are 16 of their last 21 games. I saw a lot of good signs from the Sixers today, most notably Evan Turner’s continual emergence from his cocoon into a NBA player. He looks mean now. He knows how to draw fouls. He’s asking for the ball all the time now (maybe too damn much.) But I certainly don’t see the same timid, uncomfortable player I saw when the season began.

Iggy getting two triple-doubles in a row. Brand looking like a damn monster this season. Yesterday on PTI Tony Kornheiser said he still thinks the Knicks are better than the 76ers. Call me crazy, but I don’t. The Knicks gave up a lot of good positional players to grab Melo, and no sweet cut-off jean jacket is going to save you with how many crappy bench players you have. The Sixers are a half-game behind the Knicks.

Last year I went to 7 Sixers games, and they lost every single one. I watched the old Heat blow us out by 40 (Adam wrote a post about it.) I watched the Magic destroy us. I watched Bosh on the Raptors get like 19 rebounds. We were awful. I probably spent about $400 on tickets last year, and the only memories I can walk away with are the friends I went with, and Matisyahu beat-boxing the National Anthem on Jewish Heritage Night. Damn that was fun.

Tonight, I’m going to spend about two-thirds of that to watch just one game. A game that I don’t expect the Sixers to win. Coming off a game the night before, 644 miles away, doesn’t give me much hope for a win, never mind that it’s against one of the top 3 teams in the Western Conference. But with all that in mind, I still got the best tickets I could possibly find, first row behind the 76ers bench. And I’m still going to cheer. I’m going to cheer so loud that Coach Collins is going to turn around and give me Matt Cord’s job for play-by-play announcements over the intercom (just listen to me, I’m good.) I hope the Sixers embrace the challenge as much as I do.

I want this win. I need this win. You think the Sixers could finally get some love after upsetting the best team in the NBA already, but I suppose upsetting the top scorer in the league Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder will do just fine as well.

Bring the Thunder boys.

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