Ladies and gentleman, the Oklahoma City Thunder have arrived. After starting their inaugural season in OKC with a 3-29 record and finishing 23-59, Year 2 saw a marked improvement, as Kevin Durant led the NBA in scoring and the Thunder won 50 games on their way to a playoff berth.
The transition from small-time to showtime has been one of the quickest turnaround the NBA has seen, and keep in mind the Thunder didn’t make any major roster changes. Coach Scott Brooks just let his young players mature and learn from their early struggles. Read More »
Everybody had the day off at the World Championship, as pool play is wrapped and we move to the knockout round. Today it’ll be Serbia vs. Croatia, and Spain vs. Greece in a matchup that is happening way earlier than anyone expected. After losing two games in pool play (to France and Lithuania), Spain can’t pretend like they haven’t gotten their wake-up call. Marc Gasol put up 25 points and 8 boards in what was basically a must-win against Lebanon, and is averaging 15.4 points and 7.2 boards in the tournament. Rudy Fernandez (shooting), J.C. Navarro (scoring) and Ricky Rubio (dishing) are doing their thing, and even Fran Vazquez showed up the other day (more than can be said about his Orlando Magic career). Read More »
If Fran Fraschilla said it once, he said it a thousand times: Team USA wasn’t playing against Iran yesterday, they were playing against themselves. (Only without the Jay-Z after-party.) So if that was the case, would we call the 37-point “victory” over the guys in the other uniforms a win or a loss? … Hamed Haddadi and Co. weren’t as terrible as you may have been led to believe, but they still weren’t on Team USA’s level. And yet if you wanted the U.S. to improve during this game, you had to be disappointed. Read More »
By the time you read this, Carmelo Anthony may have been traded. At least that’s the vibe we’re getting from the reports surfacing around the League that say ‘Melo has made it very clear to the Nuggets that he has no intention of signing another contract with them and wants to be traded ASAP. One of our guys came up with a ‘Melo-to-Houston scenario that could work; what do you think of a Kevin Martin/Chauncey Billups backcourt? The Knicks, Magic, Clippers, Warriors and Nets have also been mentioned a lot … Read More »
For the basketball-starved among us tired of reading free agency and trade rumors, this summer’s biggest on-court hoops event is finally ready to tip-off. The FIBA World Championship (Aug. 28-Sept. 12) brings 24 international teams together for two weeks in Turkey to fight for gold medals, global bragging rights, and an automatic spot in the 2012 Olympics in London.
In Dime #58 we previewed the World Championship with 10 teams to watch, but since our press time, injuries and roster tweaks have given the field a different look. Here is the updated WC primer: Read More »
How much does it take to end an NBA career? Crazy enough, a criminal conviction is probably less damaging than a League suspension. When we heard yesterday that Delonte West had been handed a 10-game suspension by the NBA for his Chow Yun Fat impersonation, the first question somebody asked was, “Is his career over?” At first glance, you’d say no way: Delonte is only 27 years old and can be a solid contributor on a good team. And never mind that he pled guilty to riding around strapped like the revolution was about to be televised, but that 10-game suspension is going to make it tough to get back in the NBA. Read More »
Whether it’s Kendrick Perkins in the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals or some 12-year-old hothead playing pickup during his lunch break, basketball is by nature a game of emotion, confrontation and, sometimes, anger. So it’s unavoidable that games will sometimes turn into Fight Club scenes, whether it’s the millionaires doing their jobs or the rec-leaguers doing it for pride.
Still, it seems this summer tensions are extra high. Read More »
A lot of talk around the Dime office yesterday focused on 2011 NBA championship contenders. Are the Nuggets in the mix? One of our guys thinks so, which is why he says Denver shouldn’t trade Carmelo Anthony. But then again, Kenyon Martin doesn’t even sound like he thinks Denver can go all the way. “Al (Harrington) is cool,” K-Mart told the Denver Post about the team’s big offseason pickup. “Al’s my man, but I can’t see how we got better. You know, I’m going to be out and (Birdman) is going to be out (to start the season), so did we get better? I can’t say that we did.” Read More »
In its most simple form, an “Energy Guy” on the basketball court is charged with changing the complexion of a game without having to dominate the ball.
For Serge Ibaka, the rising 2nd-year big man of the Oklahoma City Thunder, that means blocking seven shots in Game 2 of OKC’s first-round playoff series against the Lakers. Or forcing Tim Duncan into crucial missed shots and turnovers down the stretch of a March game against San Antonio. Read More »