OKC is certainly a young and interesting team. Kevin Durant definitely has all the tools to stay a star in this league for a long time and they have done a good job surrounding him with young talent. Nevertheless our boys went to work and got a nice win on the road.
On the star matchup…
I’m sure this is not what Durant envisioned when he woke up this morning as he was going to square off against Lebron. In what was a very close game throughout, his team was outscored by 17 while he was on the court in large part because he had 7 turnovers and was 0-6 in the 4th quarter as the Cavs took control of the game. In what turned out to be one of the most critical stretches of the game Lebron pumped breath into his team and the young Durant allowed it to happen. With 1:42 left in the 3rd quarter and OKC up 7 and the crowd feeling it Kevin Durant rushed up a three that missed and lead to a Lebron three on the other end (after hitting a technical free throw.) Crowd sits down. Next time down the court Durant turns it over and NBA Jam style Lebron comes down and of course hits another three. Crowd gasps. With the ball in his hands next trip he gets to the line but splits the pair. And naturally Lebron being in a mini Bradley Center type-zone he nets another three leaving the OKC faithful punching their chairs in disgust. Lebrons 10-1 run to close the 3rd quarter enabled us to win this game.
On Mo’s HORSE shot…
Absolutely unbelievable. One of the best things about tivo is being able to watch plays like this again and watch the crowd. Every person in the background simultaneously puts both hands on their head and screams to the sky. Being such a young team OKC could never recover from that shot. Great 4th quarter from Mo.
The thing I’m most concerned about is his seeming lack of confidence in his 3 pt shot which was a great weapon for us last year when he took over three 3’s per game and hit 40% of them. This season Delonte has suited up and played in 16 games and has only attempted nine threes making just one all the way back on Halloween. Thats right. With 24 games in the books Delonte West has made one 3 pt shot, tying him with Darnell Jackson. I can only hope that this is a product of such sparatic playing time due to his personal issues and that those personal issues are behind him. Delonte just needs to go out there and have fun. He needs it for himself and his team needs it as he’s ten times the perimeter defender Anthony Parker is.
-There’s no such thing as a 50/50 ball up in the air when Jamario Moon is under it. Incredibly underrated rebounder.
-Shaq meant what he said about staying away from technicals after that Houston game. A few of those offensive fouls he received deserved a ref being shown up. Can the man turn around after he catches the ball?
-Decent game from JJ. He’s been quiet of late averaging just under 5 pts and 5 boards over the last 4 games and he seemed to have pouted a bit after that quick hook the other night. He needs to keep it together and keep improving because Mr. Powe is progressing and he sure isn’t getting Andy’s minutes.
-Anthony Parker has only taken about 4 shots a game in December while playing about 28 minutes. I really can’t figure this one out. He’s definitely a weapon for us as he’s hitting 50% from behind the line. Honestly, he should call Wally Sczerbiak and pick his brain. We all know too well that Wally had countless open looks in his time here so I’m sure he could shed some light on how to play off of Lebron. One thing I do know is that at this stage in his career he’s best served as a spot up shooter. While he’s MUCH more athletic than Wally and can create his own shot he’s only hitting 33% of his attempts inside the arc.
-Having now missed games with a hurt pinky finger and a hurt toe Daniel Gibson officially can no longer shave a Superman emblem in his head. Sit out the next few games if you have to but please be healthy when we start our murderers row portion of the schedule later this month. Daniel is playing some of the best basketball of his career of late. He’s hit 59% of his 3’s since Thanksgiving, played much improved defense, and has shown a new knack for creating things for himself on offense.
Bottomline. Good entertaining game and the good guys pulled away when they had to. As fans we get the benefit of being able to look ahead a bit. I see three cupcakes coming up in New Jersey, Philly, and Milwaukee. This is a stretch that the Cavs absolutely have to treat these teams as such. Focus, man up, and stomp ‘em out because we only see one more from December 20th clear into the New Year. It sure would be nice to ride a 4 game winning streak out West. OUT!!!
For the latest from Stepien Rules, follow us on Twitter @StepienRules