Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oklahoma City Thunder Continue In Right Direction

Since New Year’s Eve the Oklahoma City Thunder have a 7-6 record and are showing significant improvement every night. They’ve moved from the NBA’s basement to being tied with the L.A. Clippers and Sacramento Kings for last place in the West and are a game ahead of the Washington Wizards who now have the league’s worst record.

Oklahoma City’s latest victim was the New Jersey Net’s who flew in on an icy night and were sent home with a 94-85 loss. At one point Oklahoma City had a 30 point lead and while the winning margin was much narrower the significance of the victory and the means by which they achieved it were unchanged. Oklahoma City fans are used to seeing 30 point deficits this season it is just the Thunder that they are used to seeing be the victims in a rout.

Oklahoma City won by dominating the boards and playing tenacious defense against New Jerseys top scorers. Vince Carter was held to just 8 points on 2-12 shooting and Devin Harris had just 10 points on 4-17 shooting. On the night New Jersey shot 40% from the floor and 14 turnovers later they walked out of the Ford Center on the losing end.

The Thunder shot a less than impressive 41% from the floor but had five players score in double figures led by Kevin Durant’s 18. Russell Westbrook, Nick Collison, Jeff Green and Nedad Kristic also turned in double figure performances on offense but Kristic’s may have been the most critical.

Since joining the Thunder 10 games ago the 7-0, 260 center has given Oklahoma City a much needed physical big body inside. However, because of his range he isn’t limited to just scoring in the low post. He has been the catalyst to Oklahoma City’s recent success. The Thunder are a long way from being a playoff caliber team but now they are even further away from being the team that we thought would set an NBA record for futility.

What N.J. The Fans Are Saying

Here are a few excerpts from what Nets fans are saying at The Star Ledger’s website.

Posted by superjohnfan on 01/26/09 at 11:00PM

I would rather be humiliated by the World Champions twice in one week than be behind thirty points to a nine win team at any time at anyvplace.
The Nets once again showed they play their best ball not by design, but when the substitution patterns, the game plan, and the play book are thrown out the window.
Larry Frank can coach. Whether he can coach this group is ultimately the question.
Individual players look to have put their best play behind them.
The team as a whole appears to have their best playvbehind.
And what passes as a coaching seems more pedestrian and stale than the play of the team.
I think the Nets put better talent on the court than the Knicks.
It looks as though the Knicks will catch and pass the Nets in the standings.
If they do the reason is simple, the Knicks have a better coach.

Posted by Jackhoops on 01/26/09 at 11:44PM

I was so disgusted - not for the first time this season - that I switched to the Knick game and there I saw five guys playing at full speed, attacking the rim on offense, and hustling on defense, and winning against a very good team. The Nets, in contrast, were playing slomo offense - Harris takes the ball down and dribbles for a while and the either shoots (unsuccessfully) or passes so late that the other has to rush a shot. Meanwhile, Carter stands on the side waiting for something to happen. On defense, KC always seemed to have a step on them.The big problem is that Harris had a few really good games and now appears to believe he owns the ball and the game: he has lost the team concept. Carter, the best scorer by far, is at his whim, and the rookies just wait for him to do something; meanwhile the whole game slows down and defense against the Nets becomes too easy.Has the coach lost control or are they team and coach a bad match?

Posted by whitebeemer on 01/27/09 at 2:38AM

I'm sorry but the nets need a new coach,frank is too calm,if the coach doesn't have that fire, the team doesn't have that fire! He has no passion!

Posted by cdoggnets on 01/27/09 at 4:35AM

This type of loss would ordinarily do-in the coach of any other team. At least threaten his job a little...light a fire under him. Is he in the teacher's union or something? Is he untouchable? The season is slipping away and it doesn't have to. Save the season and hire Mike Fratello, you know he wants the job, and he'd be perfect. Just have him switch jobs with LF.