Friday, March 30, 2012
Westbrook beats LA in Fisher's return
Since my last post was about Westbrook, I won't spend much time here except to record that my wife and I were fortunate enough to get a pair of tix (and free parking and a gc for $20 to concessions though we still spent another $13 bucks) to the Thunder/Lakers tilt on Thursday. That's what winning a work (Oscar picks) contest can do. Having worked in sports television in the past, it takes special players to get me somewhat excited about attending a game. A chance to see Durant and the NBA version of Westbrook as they lead the Western Conference? Yeah, that'll do it. Coincidentally, we bumped into my cousin there though he was only in the country for the week.
Derek Fisher's standing ovation was the loudest I've heard the crowd at Staples Center outside of a playoff game. The Lakers traded away one of their last likeable players. Is it just chance that Bynum's been acting up since Fisher left? On the court though, it was Bynum's strong inside play and Durant's early misfires that help LA jump out to their 1st quarter lead. After that, it was Westbrook time as the Thunder won 102-93.
Russell shot 13-27 on the night to finish with 36 points, including a full-court sprint, crossing over Kobe en route, for a 3 point buzzer beater during the 2.4 seconds left at the end of the 3rd quarter to stretch the lead to 10. His clutch jumper with 57 seconds left was the final nail in the coffin. Durant's memorable driving dunk in the middle of the last quarter was the first nail, as it pushed the lead to 88-70. KD scored just 21.
Kobe had a particularly poor shooting night, going just 7-25. He is actually having his worst shooting year since his rookie season, currently at an awful 42.4% clip. Also, he is a bad clutch shooter these days. When will the Lakers realize that their strength are the two 7-footers inside? Hopefully never.
As for the Thunder, I'm not sure how a team whose best 3 scorers are perimeter players can win in the NBA playoffs. What happens when the shots don't fall? Either way, a possible Heat-Thunder matchup will be exciting to behold. With the Kings still terrible and tottering on the brink of skipping town, I'll adopt Westbrook's Thunder for now. Worst case scenario? Lakers-Bulls (Rose, Noah, Gibson, Scalabrine - hmm, why would UCLA fans dislike these guys, I wonder...).