Instant Classic: The Thunder & the Warriors give us an early ‘game of the year’ candidate

There isn’t much to say about the Thun­der – War­riors game that hasn’t already been said. But wow. Pos­si­bly the game of the year so far. Its amaz­ing to watch games swing so often at end, with each big shot seem­ing like the last one – mul­ti­ple game win­ners if you may. I thought Klay’s jumper from the base­line putting the War­riors up 4 was enough. And then West­brook took a ‘no, no, no, no, YES!’ three. The that kind coaches hate till it goes in (but that in essence is 90% of Westbrook’s game). Then, with 2 sec­onds left, its Steph… no, its Klay… no… Its Andre… at the buzzer… BALLGAME.

For some rea­son the fin­ish to this really reminded me of the Magic-Pacers Play­off game from 95. You know, the one which Rik Smits still brags about at every fam­ily holiday.


But i digress… back to OKC-GSW:

Durant is really becom­ing a much bet­ter all around player, embrac­ing the team leader role over lead­ing scorer. He still doesn’t have nat­ural point guard instincts like Lebron, but the improve­ment in his assist game is impres­sive. It also shows that he has some shot mak­ers to pass to.

Ibaka seems to be try­ing to embrace the role of 3rd scorer. And even though Thabo’s offen­sive game seems to have fallen off a cliff, the Thun­der bench, which was pretty weak and uni-dimensional last year (Kevin Mar­tin), now seems to be devel­op­ing nicely. Reg­gie Jack­son was big the 4th. Lamb has shown signs of growth. Even rookie Scott Adams has had some good games & shown some nice court instincts – and really, wouldn’t ANYONE be bet­ter than Kendrick Perkins. But these are low pres­sure games. It would be inter­est­ing to see if these guys can keep it up in the play­offs, because if, god for­bid, Scott Brooks is res­ur­rect­ing Derek Fisher for crunch time in big games, we have a seri­ous problem.

Also this raises a cru­cial ques­tion about the Thun­der. I remem­ber the announc­ers say­ing they were the first elite team the War­riors have beaten so far. I’m not sure. They’re good, but they really don’t seem like con­tenders right now. But one thing is for cer­tain, the west play­offs will be ridicu­lous. Min­nesota, LAC, OKC, Golden State, The Spurs, Hous­ton (in some order as the 7th seeds) and a crazy bat­tle for #8 between Mem­phis, Port­land, Dal­las and who knows, maybe even the Suns and Lakers.

Steph Curry jump­shots are just as high­light wor­thy as Blake Grif­fin dunks. There i said it! There is some­thing sub­lime about the release, the arc and the sound of the net. Seri­ously. THE BEST OFF-THE-DRIBBLE SHOOTER EVER. Enjoy it while his ankles let us. Oh and Klay’s not to shabby either.

The War­riors seem really inter­est­ing. I think they’re only begin­ning to dis­cover the lineup ver­sa­til­ity their ros­ter now allows them, spe­cially with Dre play­ing the ulti­mate swiss army knife role. Grant­land had a great piece on this.


Some Ran­dom thoughts on the Knicks & Rockets:

The Refs seem to be award­ing Harden free throws just for dri­ving hard. I know Carmelo agrees.
Andrea is finally fig­ur­ing out that he’s 7 feet tall!
The Knicks have no sem­blance of a team defense.
Iman Shumpert, for all his excit­ing D & ath­leti­cism, needs to play a lot smarter and under con­trol. Its just frus­trat­ing to watch him right now.
Speak­ing of frus­trat­ing, Dwight really needs to get his head into the game. HIs post skills haven’t improved in years & his free throws just keep get­ting worse.
The Real Carmelo finally showed up to the 2013–14 sea­son… and nearly pulled a Larry Johnson.

That shot should have counted.

Dev Kabir Malik has a clinically alarming dependence on basketball and spends most of his time watching, analyzing, writing and even playing a little pickup (and some 2K too). In the little time he has left, he dabbles with design, art & music.