May 29, 2012 10:02 AM EDT
Serge Ibaka sat on the bench for the final 16:01 of Oklahoma City's 101-98 Game 1 loss to the Spurs.
“I think every decision you make, if it doesn't work out, you say, ‘Why'd you do that?' and I'm right (there) with you on that,” said Scott Brooks.
Brooks used a smaller lineup, playing Kevin Durant at the power forward spot to stretch the defense and also forces the opponent to matchup smaller.
“We've done it in the past and have had a lot of success, so you can't really look back and beat yourself up too much … but I will,” Brooks said. “It was nothing against what Serge did.”
The Thunder were outscored 16-2 in terms of points in the paint in the fourth period.
“Going into the next game, I see him playing his normal minutes,” Brooks said.
May 27, 2012 6:18 PM EDT
James Harden said Oklahoma City will focus on slowing down Tony Parker’s penetration and distribution.
"Their penetration is the key. We have to protect the paint and not let them get into the paint to kick out threes," Harden said.
The Thunder is not coming into the series in awe of the Spurs, who have won 18 consecutive games.
"We're all competitive guys," Kevin Durant said. "We know what they've done. We respect what they've done, but that was in the past. They've been playing well lately.
"We're 8-1 in the playoffs, as well. None of the guys are in awe. We respect what they've done. They've built a dynasty."
May 27, 2012 11:09 AM EDT
Orlando is set to interview Thunder assistant general managers Troy Weaver and Rob Hennigan and Spurs assistant general manager and team vice president Dennis Lindsey for their vacant general manager position.
Weaver was instrumental in the Thunder selecting Russell Westbrook with the fourth overall pick of the 2008 NBA draft.
Lindsey has been a highly regarded executive with the Spurs and Rockets, and turned down the Timberwolves job three years ago.
May 25, 2012 9:59 AM EDT
A 23-year-old Sam Presti made an immediate impression upon R.C. Buford when the two met at a basketball camp in Aspen.
Presti began his career with the Spurs in the video room at the Alamodome.
“All I can tell you,” Buford said, “is that by the end of the camp, Pop and I were convinced that some day he’d be running the league.”
“He’s one smart dude, No. 1,” Popovich said. “That’s the first thing you figure out very quickly with Sam. The second thing you figure out, he’s a total team player, just a great human being who is comfortable in his own skin, loyal, hard-working. He couldn’t have been better for us, and he’s even better now.”
The Spurs quickly knew that Presti would eventually become an NBA GM.
“We tried to keep him in a closet for a while, so nobody would know about him,” Popovich said. “It became common knowledge around here that he was very sharp and would be looking for his own deal someplace. The time we had him, we were just thrilled.”
May 24, 2012 2:23 PM EDT
LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have been named to the All-NBA First Team.
Tony Parker, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook and Andrew Bynum comprise the All-NBA Second Team.
Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki received All-NBA Third Team honors.
There are 10 teams with representatives on the three teams, with the Wolves (Love) being the only non-playoff team. The Hawks, 76ers, Pacers, Bulls, Grizzlies, Nuggets and Jazz each made the playoffs without a representative. Chicago was tied for the best record in the NBA and did not have an All-NBA representative.
James received 118 out of a possible 120 first team votes, while Durant received 117 first team votes.
Wade finished four points behind Westbrook for the second guard position on the second team.
May 24, 2012 10:45 AM EDT
Tony Parker vows to be aggressive when San Antonio opens its Western Conference final series against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
“I’m definitely going to go at him,” said Parker, who is averaging a team-best 19.1 points and 7.1 assists in the postseason. “It’s not going to be like Dallas or the Lakers, where their point guards are not as aggressive. I’m going to go at him and make sure he works a little bit.”
Parker scored 42 points on Westbrook in a Feb. 4 win over the Thunder.
“It was a bad game for our team,” Westbrook said. “We came out sluggish and kind of let them do what they wanted to do, especially Tony Parker.”
May 23, 2012 11:33 PM EDT
Kevin Durant has already grown weary of answering questions about San Antonio’s defense.
“I’m just going to play my game,” Durant said in response to a question about what he anticipates from the Spurs defensively. “I can’t really think about how those guys are going to defend me. They’re a tough defensive group. But every question is about how the Spurs are going to come and how the Spurs are going to play. But you got to ask me how we’re going to come at them.
“We’re a tough team as well. We come out and play hard. We have a lot of weapons as well. I know they’re the No. 1 seed, they’re a tough group and they haven’t lost in a couple of months but I think that we bring another dimension to the table as well. And we can come out and compete.”
Durant declined to point to any advantage over the Spurs.
“I just think we play hard,” Durant said. “We’re athletic. I didn’t say we were going to come out and dominate those guys. But I said that we can compete, of course. We can move the ball. I think cutting down on turnovers has been great for us these last couple of series. Also, just getting out and getting stops and trying to get easy points.”
May 23, 2012 1:56 PM EDT
LeBron James headlines the NBA All-Defensive First Team, receiving 53 points.
Joining him on the First Team are Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Tony Allen.
On the Second Team is Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler, Kevin Garnett, Luol Deng, Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant.
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia, 19 (4); Joakim Noah, Chicago, 14; Iman Shumpert, New York, 13 (4); Paul George, Indiana, 10 (2); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 9 (2); Josh Smith, Atlanta, 8 (2); Dwyane Wade, Miami, 5 (1); Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City, 5 (1); Grant Hill, Phoenix, 5 (1); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 5 (1); Avery Bradley, Boston, 3 (1); Marc Gasol, Memphis, 3 (1); Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers, 3; Shawn Marion, Dallas, 3; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 2, (1); Mike Conley, Memphis, 2; Derrick Rose, Chicago, 1; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia, 1; Carlos Boozer, Chicago, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee, 1.
May 21, 2012 10:32 AM EDT
Kevin Durant has hit two game-winning shots versus the Lakers – a fact not lost on Mike Brown.
"Kevin Durant has a quality like a (Michael) Jordan, like a Kobe," Brown said Sunday. "He's going to beat you by putting that ball in the bucket. I don't care if you got one guy on him, two guys on him or three guys on him, he's still going to have a chance to get a shot off.
"We can't have any more one-possession games against these guys. We got to at least be up by two possessions if there's six or seven seconds left on the clock. We could easily be up 3-1 if he doesn't hit two difficult shots."
Durant has three game-winners in the Thunder's eight playoff games thus far.
"From afar you see … he's as cold and steeled as Kobe (Bryant) is when it comes to pressure and closing games," Brown said. "A guy can be talented and have all these tools, but sometimes it can go out the window when it comes to making a big shot. That stuff doesn't go out the window when it comes to Kevin Durant. He wants that ball."
May 18, 2012 9:59 AM EDT
Sam Presti is deserving of a lifetime contract as general manager of the Thunder, according to one NBA scout.
The scout credited Presti for having the foresight to select James Harden third in the 2009 draft.
“Sam Presti [VP/GM] had a lot of faith in his conviction to draft him that high [No. 3]. We all had him going No. 7, definitely not one slot ahead of Tyreke Evans.
“You and I could’ve picked Durant after the Blazers took Greg Oden No. 1,” Scout said. “Westbrook [No. 4 coming off sophomore UCLA averages of 12.7 points and 3.9 assists] and Harden were pure genius.
“Presti has earned a lifetime deal from Oklahoma City.”
Harden was voted sixth man of the year after leading all bench players in scoring this season.
“The kid is three years in the NBA and he plays like an 8-year-pro. His demeanor reminds me of Tim Duncan. He makes tough shots, takes a tough head shot, makes a great pass and commits a lousy turnover, and his expression never changes. I can’t give him higher praise.
“I’ll take Harden and Serge [Ibaka] and take my chances with six D-Leaguers.”
Oklahoma City Thunder Archives
Kevin Durantís practice habits remind Derek Fisher of Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant remains confident despite suffering a 29-point loss in Game 1 of the Lakersí Western Conference semifinals series against Oklahoma City.
Kendrick Perkins aggravated his hip injury in the third quarter of Oklahoma City's Game 1 win and did not return.
Kendrick Perkins participated in drills during Sundayís practice at the Thunderís training facility.
Metta World Peace has no interest in extending a hand to James Harden when the Lakers open their Western Conference semifinals series against the Thunder.
James Harden received 115 of a possible 119 first place votes.
Kendrick Perkins was still unable to practice on Tuesday, three days after sustaining a right hip muscle strain.
Kendrick Perkins is dealing with a right hip strain.
May 06, 2012 | Marc Stein/ESPN
James Harden was used on the pick-and-roll to score 15 of his 29 points in the fourth.
Anthony Davis and James Harden were added to the list of finalists for the U.S. national team.
Kevin Durant is shooting 34.1 percent from the floor against the Mavericks.
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