Brent Weber recaps game six win for Thunder over Grizzlies

Above is my radio report – including post-game sound from Memphis.

Photo courtesy NBA.com/Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Nervous fans and sports bar owners throughout Oklahoma can relax – it looks like the Thunder are back to their old selves.  At least that was the case in game six as they comfortably dispatched of the Memphis Grizzlies 104-84 to force a seventh and deciding game in their playoff series. There wasn’t an empty table at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Midwest City where I caught the game with InsideThunder.com’s JGrizzle – and the manager we spoke to said a long playoff run like they had two years ago can mean an increase in 5 to 7 percent in revenues.

On the basketball side, the Thunder made a change in the starting lineup – inserting Caron Butler in an effort to spread the offensive focus around. It seemed to work… as Kevin Durant scored a smooth 36 and Russell Westbrook was content to bring energy to loose balls and taking what he could get, finishing with 29 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.

It was a physical battle – with Butler involved in one of a handful of near altercations, so expect a full and rowdy house whether you have a ticket to game seven at the Peake… or you plan to catch it on a big screen somewhere in Oklahoma Saturday night… In Midwest City.

 

You can hear my radio recaps of games on KOSU-FM and catch the replay of my Sports Talk segment with Michael Cross on KOSU.Org.

Brent Weber

 

 

Brent Weber Sports Talk and recap of Thunder win over Blazers

Oklahoma City reeled off 15 straight points in the closing minutes of the game, as Kevin Durant’s hot scoring stretch continued with 6 of 7 threes in his 46 point effort, as the Thunder rallied to beat visiting Portland 105-97.

Check out my recap and post-game sound on KOSU-FM Wednesday morning – and please listen to my SPORTS TALK segment with Michael Cross on KOSU.org. 

If you miss the recap and the sound on KOSU, here it is…

Portland blazes past Thunder late, hands OKC rare home loss 98-94

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No long description is needed of this one. For three-plus quarters the OKC Thunder was a very, very good basketball team and head and shoulders better than the Portland Trail Blazers. But in the 4th, the Blazers raised their level of play – and the Thunder stumbled, and Portland pulled out a 98-94 comeback win. Kevin Durant had 37 and 14 boards, but missed a shot he admitted he should have made that would have sent the game to overtime. OKC and Portland play at Chesapeake Arena January 21st. The Thunder and Blazers still have the two best records in the west (San Antonio is tied with Portland, a half game back of OKC for the best Western Conference mark.)

I say – listen to Scott Brooks and Kevin Durant – who manned up and took responsibility for the loss, which they did not go overboard in feeling sorry about. Mature attitudes – a mature team, who gave credit to a good Portland team they may see in the closing days of the post-season.

OKC Thunder wins again without Westbrook, demolishes visiting Rockets 117-86

Fear The Beard? Superman? Lin-Sanity? Life without Russell Westbrook? No problem for any of the above. (And clearly the last item is the most fearsome.) The OKC Thunder played a blanketing defense in the opening period, as Houston missed their first 12 shots from the floor and never were in the 117-86 route. With the win, the Thunder retake the top mark in the NBA, with the league’s third-best team – and second best in the west record-wise – Portland coming to town on New Year’s Eve. It was the team’s second win since their all-star guard and second-leading scorer Westbrook underwent a third surgical procedure on his injured knee. He is not expected to return until after the all-star break.

Durant scored 33 with 13 rebounds and 5 assists, as the Thunder handed out 28 as a team. Jeremy Lamb came off the bench to score a career best 22 points, and OKC held Houston to 36.5 % shooting from the floor. Stats didn’t matter in this one – Durant looked like he could have scored 50 with ease. James Harden (aka The Beard) was a non-factor against his old team (8 points, 2 of 9 FG). Dwight Howard had 9/9 and was troubled with fouls (and the specters of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins on his hips). Jeremy Lin? Are you insane? OKC’s Ryan Gomes equalled Lin’s output of 6 points and he has barely played all season.

You can hear my recap with post-game sound below… and please remember to tune in to KOSU-FM for your news weekday mornings – and sports updates which will resume after the first of the year.

Managing the grind a championship task for OKC Thunder

In the latter weeks and months of a professional sports season, the concept of “the grind” is cliche. The long professional sports seasons take physical tolls on every team, regardless of the sport. So in a sense, it’s obvious to make such a claim late in the year.

Great teams, championship professional teams, however, understand the grind is a year-long process. Managing the grind in November is perhaps even more important to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s championship hopes than any of those late-season off days that Derek Fisher or even the minutes monster Kevin Durant will be given by head coach Scott Brooks.

Case in point: Sunday night’s visit from the woeful Utah Jazz to Chesapeake Energy Arena, game three of a six game home stand that spans the Thanksgiving holiday. Russell Westbrook, still regaining his conditioning after overcoming major off-seaosn knee surgery, was given the night off. Derek Fisher, the 100-year-old backup point guard, played Westbrook’s minutes early, then took a seat. (OK, relax – he’s only 39. Geez.)

The Jazz played along, looking a lot like a D-league team for the better part of three quarters in OKC’s 95-73 win. The Thunder led 75-43 after three quarters.

Here are some things that help at this – or any time – of a long season. Kendrick Perkins got to play hard, early. The big center has been grieving over the death of his grandfather, and in the opening half he and the Thunder as a team were dominant in the paint. It didn’t matter that Perkins was mostly racking up fouls. He played lane-spacing defense and showed his scowl for a bit, and I’m sure those 21 minutes helped him focus on hoops.The Thunder outrebounded Utah 46-33 and shot 50.7 percent from the floor.

We mentioned Fisher and his early 9:29 of court time, but more importantly Steven Adams stayed on the floor for extended stretches, something the young player needs to gain  – and earn – confidence when the grind games roll around later in the year.

And then there is Perry Jones, the former Baylor Bear now in his 2nd season. the 6-11 Jones made the most of 19 minutes, hitting 5 of 7 from the floor including three of three from the three point line, scoring a season high 13 points. It’s tough to prove to your coach and teammates you can help down the stretch when you’re a forward playing behind Kevin Durant.

Of course, Durant led the team – and the game – with 19 easy points. The Thunder improved to 9 and 3, with three more home games, including two sandwiching Thanksgiving Wednesday night against the Spurs and Friday versus Golden State.

Listen to Sports Talk on KOSU-FM Wednesday morning at 6:30 am (and throughout the morning). Here’s the wrap from the Thunder-Utah game as heard on KOSU, plus some extra cuts from the post-game. .