Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Durant’
The 44-16 Oklahoma City Thunder venture to midtown Manhattan tonight to take on the 37-21 Knicks. At first glance these two teams would seem to have little in common beyond their membership in Commissioner Stern’s club.
The Thunder were established when the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, while the Knicks are one of the oldest franchises in the league. OKC is one of the smallest markets in pro ball; New York City is the biggest market this side of London or Seoul. The Thunder are the fifth youngest squad in the league; the Knicks have the oldest roster. And Oklahoma City has the National Cowboy Museum, while Gotham City is inhabited by millions of city slickers.
However, both the Thunder and the Knicks currently sit second in their respective conferences and lead their divisions. Both have won five of their last six games and are looking to make it three in a row with a W tonight. OKC has the league’s top scorer in Kevin Durant (28.6), and the Knicks have the second best scorer in Carmelo Anthony (28.2).
The Knickerbockers played last night in Detroit and came away with an 87-77 victory despite committing a season-high 21 turnovers – a surprising stat given that New York averages a league-low 12.1 turnovers per game.
This sloppiness with the rock may have been attributed to the fact that many of the Knicks were pressing to make up for Anthony’s lost production since he was forced to miss the game with a right knee injury that will keep him sidelined again this evening. The Knicks were led by 6th man extraordinaire Amare Stoudemire, who scored 22 points and had 9 boards in 31 minutes off the bench. Over the last six games Stoudemire has been on fire, shooting 72.9% from the field.
The Thunder last played Tuesday at home against the Lakers. Unlike the Knicks, Oklahoma had a franchise-record two turnovers in the contest and tied the NBA record – quite a feat considering they are the second-worst offenders in the league. Behind PG Russell Westbrook’s 37 points, 10 boards, 5 dimes and 2 steals, OKC held off a late Laker rally and prevailed 122-105. Westbrook has averaged a team-best 32.2 ppg over the last 6 contests.
Tonight’s 48 will be the first of two matchups between these two sides this season. Tune in to TNT at 8PM ET to watch the Knicks defend their home court against the young, hungry Thunder and their 17.1 fast break points per game.
The Grizzlies come to Oklahoma City without their leading scorer Rudy Gay. The 7th-year, 6’8” SF was traded along with reserve C Hamed Haddadi (1.2 ppg) to the Toronto Raptors after spending his entire career with Memphis.
In return, the Griz got PG Jose Calderon and 3rd-year, 6’10” PF Ed Davis from north of the border. Memphis GM Chris Wallace then shipped Calderon to Detroit for 11th-year SF Tayshaun Prince and 4th-year, 6’11” F Austin Daye.
New owner Robert Pera didn’t want to pay the steep luxury taxes the next two seasons, so Memphis cut salary while acquiring three quality forwards in exchange for one exceptional forward.
The 29-15 Memphis squad has won five of their past seven games including a 103-100 victory at Philly on Monday. Rudy Gay scored the winning basket off his own rebound with 13.3 seconds left. He went for 26 points, 7 boards and 5 dimes in his last 48 as a Grizzly.
Memphis’s starting 6th-year PG Mike Conley sat out the Philadelphia game with an ankle sprain. The ultra-quick Conley and his 13 ppg, 5.8 apg and 2.3 spg will be a game time decision tonight.
The Thunder at 34-11 own the NBA’s second best record and are 19-3 in their own building.
The league’s top scorer and MVP-frontrunner Kevin Durant and cast return home after a 3-3 road trip that ended on Sunday with a 105-96 loss to the Lakers. KD poured in 35, and PG Russell Westbrook had 17 points and 13 dimes on 6 for 22 shooting in the defeat.
On November 14th, Memphis beat the Thunder in OKC 107-97. Gay had 28 points, 6 boards and 5 assists, while 2X All-Star Zach Randolph went for 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Griz outscored the 2012 Western Conference Champs 36 to 15 in the pivotal second quarter.
Tune in to TNT at 8:00 PM ET to see who will win the battle between the Thunder’s prolific offense and the Grizzlies’ shutdown defense.
The defending Western Conference champion OKC Thunder begin their 2012-2013 campaign tonight in San Antonio against a Spurs squad that they bested 4-2 in the WCF last spring. Noticeably absent will be the reigning Sixth Man of The Year and London Olympian gold medalist James Harden. The 4th-year Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, rookie Jeremy Lamb and draft picks this week in a pseudo-shocker of a roster shake-up in Thunder Nation.
Coach Gregg Popovich’s guys were riding an overall 20 game winning streak before losing 4 in a row to Kevin Durant and company to end their year last season. Now entering his 17th-year as the head man in San Antonio, Pop still has his Big-3 of 16th-year Tim Duncan, 11th-year swingman Manu Ginobili and 12th-year PG Tony Parker.
The Spurs played the Hornets last night in the Big Easy and came out on top, 99-95, behind Duncan’s 24 points, 11 boards and 3 blocks. However, Ginobili, who’s been battling back problems, sat out this first 48 of the year and will miss tonight’s opener as well.
In last season’s condensed 66-game regular season schedule, these two sides played three times. The Spurs won two of the three, victorious once at home and once in OKC. On January 8th early in the season, the Thunder won 108-96 at home behind Harden’s 20 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
Tonight’s River City contest will be about the Spurs’ older stars versus the Thunder’s young guns. How OKC’s new additions click and contribute could be an early indication of whether the torch has been passed in the West after last spring’s WCF result.
Tune in tonight at 9:30 PM ET to TNT to watch Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan and two of the NBA’s best franchises go head-to-head.
As you know, tonight’s first ever regular season game at the brand new Barclays Center between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets has been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy’s devastating aftermath. This game was scheduled to be TNT’s early Thursday matchup. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the people affected by this terrible storm.