West Is Wide Open Without Westbrook

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Forget about The Finals, for now.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have to worry about getting out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, now that we know they’ll have to finish the Houston Rockets without one half of their superstar dynamic duo. Russell Westbrook needs surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and could be out anywhere from four to six weeks, depending on how quickly he recovers.

The news hits the Thunder hard. They entered the playoffs as the Western Conference No. 1 seed and now, just two games in, they lead the Rockets 2-0 heading into Saturday night’s crucial Game 3 (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the Toyota Center., they are forced to ponder the possibility of playing for the remainder of the postseason without one of the 10 best players in basketball.

“We hope [he comes back in the playoffs],” Kevin Durant said. “Our firs thing is to make sure he gets healthy and gets that knee back right. We’re not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule. We want to make sure he’s healthy and his knee is right. That’s our only concern right now.”

There is a time frame that would allow Westbrook to return later in the playoffs, perhaps late in the conference finals or the start of The Finals.

But again, the Thunder will have to make it that far without the league’s resident iron man. Love him or hate him, no one can question Westbrook’s durability, before now. He hadn’t missed a game during his five-year career, having played in 394 consecutive regular season games and all 45 playoff games the Thunder have played during that same span.

But he won’t be on the floor for Saturday night, joining a long list of game changers who are watching this NBA postseason from the bench of or beyond due to injury. Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Amar’e Stoudemire, David Lee and Danny Granger are all watching their teams toil without them in this postseason. They all serve as human reminders for their peers that your next false step could be your last, of this season.

But none of those aforementioned stars plays on a team that had the supposed inside tack to get back to the conference finals and then The Finals, for that rematch with the Miami Heat. Westbrook’s injury opens the door in the Western Conference for the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers or Memphis Grizzlies and the Denver Nuggets or Golden State Warriors to start eyeballing the calendar in early June for a possible trip to The Finals of their own. Shoot, even the Los Angeles Lakers, down 2-0 to the Spurs in their first round series, can start dreaming about doing the unthinkable.

Simply put, the West is wide open now.

“Kevin Durant needs to take the Carmelo Anthony approach,” said ESPN analyst Jalen Rose. “Take around 25-30 shots per game, his team already has a 2-0 lead. The one thing about professional sports, and life for that matter, when opportunity knocks, you have to seize it. So trust me, all of the teams in the Western Conference, their ears perked up today. They feel like they have chance to advance.”

The Thunder earned the No. 1 seed in the West this season but entered the postseason with plenty of worthy challengers who did not plan on the fragile nature of things to swing in their favor with Westbrook’s injury. No offense to Reggie Jackson, Kevin Martin, Derek Fisher or anyone else in a Thunder uniform, but it’s Durant and Russell Westbrook who do the headlining. In fact, the Thunder have never had to work for an extended period of time without both of their stars in the lineup.

Trying to navigate these rough playoff waters with only one half of that devastating combination sounds more like mission impossible for a Thunder team that, truth be told, spent much of this season learning how to operate without the former third member of their superstar crew, Rockets All-Star guard James Harden.

Thunder GM Sam Presti, coach Scott Brooks and Durant all did their part to rally the troops today after the news spread of the severity of Westbrook’s injury.

“Our team as a whole, we’ve got a resilient group of guys, a lot of character within that locker room and a group that enjoys playing together and has been through some adversities over the last several years that they’ve been together.” Presti said. “We’d expect them to adjust, come together and have different guys step in and play well collectively. Once we were able to gather all of the necessary information and everything was accumulated, it was an easy decision for our medical team.”

The decision on how to play in Westbrook’s absence won’t be nearly as easy. The Rockets’ defensive strategy shifts now from worrying about picking between two lethal performers to focusing solely on Durant and daring that Thunder supporting cast to beat them. Westbrook averaged 24 points and seven assists through those first two games while also serving, as always, as the Thunder’s primary facilitator.

Jackson’s been solid in spurts of relief this season. Doing it daily, however, could be more than he’s capable of handling. And even if does acquit himself well in the first round, either Chris Paul or Mike Conley and their teams, will be waiting on the Thunder’s replacement for Westbrook in the next round.

Durant insists that the Thunder’s “Next Man Step Up” mantra applies in this case, just as it does any other.

“We have good depth on our team,” Durant said. “Reggie Jackson is ready for the moment. He has been working his tail off ever since he got here. So he’s ready for this. We just have to rally behind him and know that we have to give him confidence, because he’s going to make mistakes like everybody else. But we just have to keep encouraging him.”

All the courage and encouragement in the world won’t make Jackson into Westbrook. Their is certainly survival after losing a superstar. The Lakers (Kobe) and Celtics (Rondo) are proof of that much.

But we’re talking about a team focused on competing for championships, not just surviving.

“It doesn’t matter who we throw out there. We’re a 15-man team and we still are, even with Russell being hurt,” Brooks said. “We’re a 15-man team and everybody believes in each other and that’s what you have to do. You don’t win in this league with one player. You don’t win with five or six players, you win it with your team. We talk about that and we believe in the things that we talk about. We don’t jus throw it out because it looks cool on a t-shirt or a billboard. We believe in each other, we believe in what we do and we take pride in it and we’re proud about what we do.”

We’re all going to find out exactly what the Thunder do when they are forced to play a man down.

Forget about The Finals … for now!


  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Here’s my two cents on this topic:

    Does Westbrook’s injury hurt the Thunder? Of course.

    Does this mean the Thunder WILL NOT make the Finals? NO.

    I’m sorry to have to break this to you “Thunder Haters” BUT the Thunder WILL still get to the 2013 NBA Finals (probably against the mighty Miami Heat).

    Why do I think this? Last season, the Thunder were dominant until they lost to the Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals. SO. The Thunder will still (without a doubt in my twisted mind) make it to the 2013 NBA Finals! Because of Westbrook’s injury, it will just be a lot tougher than last season. The Thunder may have tougher series this year (after they defeat the Rockets) but they will still make the Finals. It will just be a lot harder without Westbrook. They may have a 6-game series or 7-game series before they arrive to the Finals … but make no mistake about it … with the Thunder having home-court advantage throughout the West … they will still make it to the 2013 NBA Finals.

    Reggie Jackson could be the next Mr. June. 🙂

  2. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    WOW! I only scanned through these comments, but Sekou Smith …

    Son, you are a THUNDER HATER!!

    It’s obvious you don’t like the OKC Thunder. Why that is … I could care less. Don’t let your hate for the Thunder mess you up as a writier, SON.

  3. MJfromOKC says:

    I think its hilarious that people are so terrified of the Thunder that as soon as RW gets an injury everyone starts getting really excited, including the sports media.

    I can tell exactly by the tone of the article whether hes a LA fan (he is) or a Spurs fan (like Fran Blinebury) or a Dallas fan.

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….Blinefairy a Spurs fan???…..ru kidding….I guess you CANNOT tell exactly….He is a rockets fan….do some research

  4. cavsfan says:

    it’ll be tough, but okc is still a threat. before wb’s injury, it was going to come down to either SAS or OKC vs. Miami. i don’t think that has changed, except 4 the fact that the spurs are now the fav. for the west, and Miami has a little less to worry about. Yes, i’m a Clevelander, so i’m hoping for a west win in the finals rather than Miami, but honestly, i don’t see much standing in the way of a Heat Repeat. LeBron, as much as I dislike some of his “decisions,” is still the best player on the planet. if there’s a close second, though, it’s KD. We shall see what happens.

  5. Spursfan says:

    Ok, so the West is now “open” to the other teams in the West? Was it guaranteed the Thunder would win the West? They might be the favorites, but they still have to play the games and prove it. Every team in the West has a legitimate change of representing their conference. Let’s enjoy these games, and see who’s standing at the end in June!

  6. MJfromOKC says:

    OKC is really deep and could take the west. The Spurs are playing like the Spurs, solid team there, the Gizzlies are also playing great. Playoffs will be very interesting.

  7. Editing... says:

    On two instances in this article alone, NBA.com has been somewhat lackadaisical with its editing of its content.

    “All the courage and encouragement in the world won’t make Jackson into Westbrook. Their [sic] is certainly survival after losing a superstar. The Lakers (Kobe) and Celtics (Rondo) are proof of that much.”

    “We don’t jus[sic] throw it out because it looks cool on a t-shirt or a billboard. We believe in each other, we believe in what we do and we take pride in it and we’re proud about what we do.”

    I kindly suggest that the powers that be on this website get it together. It is extremely unprofessional for a media source to be clumsy as in the above.

  8. ThunderRocketsFan says:

    I think the Thunder will still win the West. They still have amazing players like Durant, Ibaka, & Sefolosha (very underrated IMO). Lots of great players who give it their all who are strong shooters: Collison, Fisher, Martin, Jackson, etc. Even their “worse” players are pretty good & have lots of potentiallike Thabeet, Lamb, Jones, Brewer. I think the Clips, Memphis, & Denver are good but inconsistent. They can have shooting droughts in some games whereas that rarely happens for an entire game for the Thunder. To me, the Warriors are like the Thunder but less experience and less talented (except for Curry & Jack).

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….like most …you forgot okc’s nemesis …… The team that WILL beat them this year……if they-(okc)- get to the wcf that is…..

  9. Gary Payton says:

    OKC still tough without Westbrook and without Harden or against! Playoffs are great and is a time to step up for sure….

  10. dattebayo says:

    I don’t see the Thunder getting out of the West without Russell Westbrook. The dude gave you 40 minutes, he competed on both ends of the floor and he challenged defenses with his speed and athleticism unlike anybody else in the league. Of course his shot selection still needs to improve and his decision making is questionable at times, but that’s just as much on him as on Durant and Brooks. If they just let him do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, there will be these JR Smith type possessions, that end with a brick and no chance at an offensive board.

    Russ is still a top 10 player in the league and he will probably receive ALL NBA 2nd Team honors (if the world was just, 1st Team over Kobe). The Thunder are not better without him and when they meet a great defensive team (Grizzlies, Spurs, Heat), they will struggle to create open shots for their team and struggle to score.

  11. buLLS says:

    Bulls VS. West. That’s it. (Period)

  12. Kobede2ndbestever says:

    Well Lakers (my Lakers) got no shot without the Kobe …..
    THunder might not get past the 2nd round
    I really forsee a showdown between Spurs and Grizzlies in the west….

  13. Lebronity says:

    Lebron is laughing so hard, and celebrating with D-wade.

  14. Sam says:

    Just read that Westbrook is out for the season. Congrats to McHale, Beverly and the Rockets for turning the NBA into the NHL. Wads!

  15. Edwin says:

    The West wide open? I was already picking the Spurs to take the West. This just solidifies that.

  16. Joel says:

    You guys are underestimating the depth the Thunder have. The PG spot on their roster is full of good players with Fisher, Jackson and even Lamb. They’re obviously not the same caliber of players as Westbrook, but they can get the job done. Jackson can utilize his speed and penetration while D-Fish can slow down the tempo and set up plays, and you can’t discredit his jumper. And even if that doesn’t work, then put Martin at the point and have Brewer come in as 6th man.

  17. sportsfan says:

    OKC should let this series go 7 games & if they can win the next 2 rounds in 7 game series then they’ve given Westbrook the maximum amount of time to heal & hopefully be ready for the finals.

  18. mercenery says:

    Durant+Westbrook of OKC is a two-punch combo! Westbrook going down means reduced attacking power of OKC and less defending puzzle for the opposing team! The Rockets or any of the second round teams (Clippers or Memphis) now has a little solution (brought by injury though) to the Durant-Westbrook duo. Good D on KD, solid perimeter D and good rebounding would solve the OKC puzzle now that Westbrook is down. Damn I hate it! Love to see what Westbrook brings into the game and how he electrifies the OKC offense.

  19. Tony says:

    Its unfortunate that westbrook got hurt but even with him okc will never win the final because of his selfishness. He is absolutely a good player but he is not a team player and doesnt make players around him better. I watched him for 5 years now and notice that he doesnt change for the better. Its time that okc find some one else who is willing to share the ball to make the team advance further. Westbrook have a lot of haters but nobody hates Curry….

  20. Micheal says:

    Laker and boston players look like the three stooges running around the court. They are too old and rusty! Name one laker or boston players who can shoot……!!!!!!

  21. JL says:

    Interesting to see the lineup change that Scott will make. I would go with fisher, Durant, martin, ibaka, and Perkins, because if you don’t put any other scorers in the starting 5 teams will just double Durant. And off the bench Reggie, lamb, tabo, collison, hasheem. The thunder are far from been counted out.

  22. karolisjachimavicius says:

    Sekou – still not fond of Thunder.

    • darius says:

      spurs looking good because of extremely weak lakers team, any of the other west playoff teams can win

      • ella says:

        the spurs are looking good because THEY ARE GOOD! period!

        in basketball, it’s the team effort that counts… that’s why the lakers are so lame, now… when kobe got injured, their whole castle of cards crumbled… howard is not even half as good as he thinks he is. he had the opportunity to shine, this series, to prove he is a gamemaker, the go-to guy, the backbone of the team… and he, royally, blew it!!!… 0-3, w/ the worst loss at home in the playoffs, in the history of the franchise?!?!?! wow! that hurts!!! 

        okc has plenty of talent. they will manage to overcome this… don’t forget: sometimes, a wounded animal is more dangerous, survival kicks in!… i have no doubt they will get past the rockets, but if they get to play against the clippers in the second round, w/o westbrook, that will be interesting to watch… 

        GO SPURS GO! 

  23. Kimmy says:

    OKC will still beat Houston. This is devastating. But I agree with some of the comments above; Durant, Ibaka, Sefalosha, Martin, and Jackson have to step up to the plate. And yes, it takes a team to win. Lebron James couldn’t do it alone in Cleveland and neither could Kobe. OKC, I am your best fan ever. Watch out for the Thunder!!!! Get well Westbrook, we will miss you!!!!!!

  24. ivom89 says:

    As a Spurs fan, I hope you right bro. I also expected to beat the Thunder this year. More than I expected to beat the Clippers. Clippers look pretty good right now. Also, we should not sleep on the Warriors/Nuggets. Both showed how good they can be. Also, I am not as sure as everybody else that Miami is winning the East. What about New York?? I know the C’s are far from a complete team, but come on, the Knicks are just toying with them and up 3-0. With a lot of twists and turns, it could be a great playoff year! GO SPURS GO!

  25. MJfromOKC says:

    We wont know until after Russells surgery which has not happened whether or not he can come back in the playoffs. It is not out of the realm of possibility if he doesnt need stitches and the swelling is nominal. He is going to an arthroscopic expert in Vail Colorado. He could make it back for the conference finals if this was the case. Or in 10 days if he talks to Metta World Peace who apparently wants to sit out Sundays game and will be available.

  26. Shawn says:

    I am so very sorry for Westbrook. Every body in the world knows that no one deserves this opportunity more than him. Gosh he is such a great player, and we will miss him this year — and wish him all the best. He is truly great and i know he will be back as strong and smarter than ever! In a way you won the championship, your entire team effort. You got the team there and you know they will finish! Wow, there are many great teams and players and we have a lot of Kings. You are one of them! Have a wonderful summer you deserve it. Go OKC!

  27. GINOBILIBABY20 says:

    I find it quite funny how it takes injuries to justify the Spurs chances of making it to the big stage again. If you recall, it took the HEAT, when their win streak hit 25, TO MATCH THE SPURS RECORD!! when these boys are healthy, regardless of how athletic Westbrook is, fundamentals still overpower this game. Thats why the greatest players, Kobe, Timmy, Jordan, Malone, Wilt, Magic, Bird, all of them were not that flashy, but stuck to the fundamentals of the game. The spurs are the most consitent franchise in the last 25 years in basketball. The spurs are not lacking talent, have the deepest bench in the NBA, with Denver following closely at #2, I WILL TAKE TONY PARKER over RUSSELL anyday. Tony doesnt turn the ball over, is a better floor leader, free throw shooter and also creates for his teammates. Westbrook may be faster, but not quicker.
    The catalyst is GINOBILI regardless of who is healthy if these two teams meet again. If Ginobili plays and contributes the way he has through 3 games in the Laker series, then the Thunder cannot and will not hold up. Durant should have had the mindset that Melo has had his entire career, and finally there is a way he can blossom. I respect the Thunder, due to the fact there are many key components of the Spurs Front Office now representing the young franchise. The SPURS knew what they were doing when it came to seeding, and dont doubt it for a second that POP wasnt happier with a 2 seed than a 1. PLAYOFF SERIES DONT START TILL SOMEONE WINS ON THE ROAD ANYWAYS!

  28. Flying Raijin_41 says:

    now with the westbrook injury, the west is between the clippers and the spurs…

  29. Sam says:

    Beverly should be voted MVP by every team in the playoffs. His out of control play took out a player 10 times better than himself. Did McHale use him as an enforcer? Would not be surprised. Pisses me off.

  30. Austin says:

    I feel sorry for all the great players being sidelined due to injury, this maybe is the price to pay for a long and tough schedule that players had to work on.. So calling out the teams and coaches, I guess it’s time to do the “SPURS strategy”… You never see the 3 players (Duncan Ginobili Parker) during the season, then come playoffs, BAM! The 3 guys are available…

  31. Kilroy says:

    Spurs 5th ring..

  32. smokin' willie says:

    OKC.KD will take up more playmaker responsibilities,and sink in more buckets than ever before.ppg>40..a playoff mvp beckons.The defence will rev up a couple of notch higher,the bench will fill the deficit till Russ gets back.This is hoops,not golf. #OKC v INDIANA finals.

  33. Eurban says:

    Agree as well, I wanted to see SA and Miami go at it last year but OKC out hustled them 4 straight games to end their 20+ win streak and knocked em right out the post season. I like the match-up better against the Heat with the Spurs.

  34. Lakers 2013 the Greatest says:

    Lakers will win games 4-7 after spurs Okc is much easier w/out Westbrook… The lakers will win it all….. They are the scariest team in NBA…. We will sweep the heat in the finals…. mamba will play in WCF against OKC, He will take Finals MVP and the 6th Ring… Mamba > MJ…..


      LMFAO! Thats all I’m gonna say. SMH.. Delusional laker fan. Its over for the lakers, you should be worrying about the brooms sweeping your butts in the river to go fishing lol.

    • 34yr fan says:

      …. I am sure there are some good shrinks in LA and you need one……..But as a fan you Always have to have hope….. SO more power to ya……PS: it is still a ‘crazy’ post though !!! LOL

  35. JAVOSRSON says:


    I just want to say, that this third game in Houston will show clearly how great KD is. I expect him to score at lest 45.

  36. Kobeblackhole says:

    Goodbye OKC! Houston in 6! now is the time for harden to show up his old team. put that in stone. okc will never get past round 1.

    • 80s90sBaller says:

      What Beverly did is “SWEEP THE LEG” and Houston is the new Cobra Kai. OKC still has Durant, Ibaka and Sepalosha so you can’t count them out yet.

      By Sweeping the Leg though they did open up the West.

  37. nahor88 says:

    Coming from a Rockets fan, I still don’t think they’ll win this series.
    They can make it a series for sure, but I don’t see them winning 4 games.
    I’d love to be proven wrong, but they’re just too young, next year with all that cap space they’ll be serious contenders.

  38. dc13 says:

    What do you mean the “West is wide open”? I’m pretty sure before Westbrook’s injury the Spurs weren’t far behind. I’m pretty sure the team that has won 4 championships, is actually showing healthy legs, and has the greatest coach in the NBA was already a fairly threatening contender. Let’s face it, it’s going to be the Heat versus whoever comes out of the West. Even if both teams are 100% healthy, I still take the Spurs because the match up better with the Heat and they have the experience to not fizzle in the spotlight. Timmy hasn’t looked this good since 2008 (coincidentally probably the last time his legs have been this healthy going into postseason) – don’t count out the Spurs, though I know you will.

    • RG says:

      I agree with this.

      • Strawhat says:

        I dis agree no body in the spurs can guard lebron.. Ops watchout with ray allen and shane in the corner shooting 3s and now that they add the birdman in the line up its gonna be tough no offence with the spurs they are a very great team,a great coach but the thing is they gonna face any of this tough team warriors, nuggets, grizz, clips and thunder before going to the finals if they reach the finals..the only threat in the west for the heat is the grizz

    • Ivo NL says:

      As a Spurs fan, I hope you right bro. I also expected to beat the Thunder this year. More than I expected to beat the Clippers. Clippers look pretty good right now. Also, we should not sleep on the Warriors/Nuggets. Both showed how good they can be. Also, I am not as sure as everybody else that Miami is winning the East. What about New York?? I know the C’s are far from a complete team, but come on, the Knicks are just toying with them and up 3-0. With a lot of twists and turns, it could be a great playoff year! GO SPURS GO!

    • 34yr fan says:

      ….Hey ” Strawhead”…… it takes more than bronbron to win a ring…..but you wouldn’t GET that …….. an Riley got him a ‘superstar team’ by buying the best player from TWO other teams….. makes you proud huh…… when will a team really build from within and not just try to BUY their way to a championship ……..just ask lakerfan …!!!

      • Dr Hook says:

        Hey 34yr fan, Lebron is the best player on the planet, and his supporting cast isn’t bad either. (I guess you missed last years finals, they’ve only gotten better.

  39. Fee la Zone says:

    Too bad for the OKC btw. They have 75% chance to be the west champ b4, now they have only 30%…for me..
    If Durant=OKC, then defense of the opponent will shift on Durant, and it will become easy to stop the OKC cuz there’s only one person OKC rely on scoring.

  40. Fee la Zone says:

    It’s time for the LAC to take West Trophy..

  41. Gary Payton says:

    Spurs or Nuggets out of the west?

  42. okcfan says:

    you don’t win games with a good pg, you win games with great defense! LOL russle is a great all around player but be honest contributes very small on the defensive board. If anything this injury has Perkins and Ibaka mad as mug right now! Two people no one would want any bad vibes from…

  43. ShawnKemp says:

    I think the Thunder will be just fine. Westbrook is a ball hog and a turnover machine. Thunder should have kept harden and traded westbrook.

  44. BigBlue says:

    I’d like to believe we are still the favorites to win the west, but once we get past the Rockets (and we will) there are going to be some major problems just in the next round, let alone a possible rematch with the Spurs. Grizz and Clips are usually not a problem for us since Westbrook is so great at shutting down even the most skilled undersized guards, but Conley and not to mention CP3 are gunna have there way with Reggy trying to cover them.

  45. Jimmy says:

    Karma is paying OKC back for the dirty players in the team. Oh well to bad!

  46. adumb says:

    unbelievable amount of injuries in 1 season, I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s creepy. This is 2x worse than last season.

  47. theholyspectator says:

    if russell doesnt make it back and in tip top form by conference finals, we are lookin at spurs vs miami in the finals…miami takin it in 6

  48. OKCalltheway says:

    Find a match for Durant and you can say that the West is open. OKC=Durant… That’s all!

    • alp says:

      fair weather fans these days… westbrook+durant=thunder. any TRUE fan knows this.

    • Gary Payton says:

      Durant as a Laker maybe good fit for him!

      • 34yr fan says:

        leave the fakers out of this ……lakerfan…. MYOB……. you have plenty of problems/drama to deal with…… have a great summer !!!

      • Gary Payton says:

        When he bolts to another team when his contract is up and naturally wants to be in bigger market! Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Trailblazers or Sonics? He loves west coast..

      • Gary Payton says:

        Westbrook will follow Durant to bigger market but may not be west coast..

  49. Josh says:

    I cant believe you think we would have a hard time getting out of the first round. without westbrook kevin durant will have about twice the touches. and i think i trust them in his hands.

  50. MJfromOKC says:

    Every team in the West is injured now except two, I hear that Blake Griffin could be injured.

    Reggie Jackson could start for half the teams in the NBA and even some playoff teams.

    Expect the lineup to change and Durant to take a lot of shots.

    • jared says:

      are u serious?? by saying that u mean if every teams starting pg was healthy, jackson could start over half of them?? first off, he would start for no team that is in the playoffs. lets look at the bad record teams, jackson over john wall? no. jackson over kyle lowry? no. over darren collison? no over damian lillard? no over kemba walker? no….. come on man get real

      • Strawhat says:

        Maybe his better than kyre irving hakhakhak…

      • Shacho says:

        If you didn’t notice, the one game Jackson did start was against a playoff team, and he still came up with 23 points. He can take of the slack perfectly well, at least in this series; and he’s reliable against any team in the league.

    • Gary Payton says:

      Expect the lineup to change and Durant to take a lot of shots at moving to a larger market team. Where does he want to move to?

  51. rob says:

    Yeah comparing the thunder to the lakers and Celtics ‘survival mode’ is not quite right. I think jalen rose hit the nail on the head…Durant is hands down the most versatile scorer in the game and I think he needs to start putting up FGA like melo. thunder are gonna need a big effort from perk and iblocka inside to give kd some space…I still like them for the finals but it’s gonna be a tough slog

  52. MJfromOKC says:

    Wow, did you delete all the comments? Good one.

  53. Steve Ricks says:

    I wouldn’t call what Boston or the Lakers have done so far “surviving”.

    • KB8 says:

      yeah..dying slowly…actually very fast. they can’t die any faster than they are right now. But Brooks statement in the last paragraph doesn’t help anybody. I think probably at least 90% of NBA teams take pride in what they do. Ok, maybe not 90%, but at least 6 of 10 teams take pride in what they do and play together as a team. But only one team come out on top, and that team has the best talent at the moment. Right now, the Thunder is losing talent. Pride doesn’t matter, it can be broken with defeat.