harden

Let's talk numbers.

The Thunder score 106 points on 55.7 percent shooting.

They scored those 106 points in 88 possessions, giving them an Offensive Efficiency of 120.5 points per 100 possessions.

Their accuracy from three-point range (7-for-18) pushed their Effective Field Goal Percentage to 60.7 percent and their foul shooting (21-for-26) put their True Shooting Percentage at 65.1 percent.

Can you say "sizzling"?

Hoopdata (as always) broke Oklahoma City's shooting down by zone: 12-for-14 (85.8 percent) at the rim, 6-for-12 (50 percent) from 3-9 feet, 4-for-6 (66.7 percent) from 10-15 feet and 10-for-20 (50 percent) from 16-23 feet.

According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: "The Western Conference finals is tied at 1-1 after the Thunder exploited the Mavericks for 55.7 percent shooting. Only once in the regular season did the Mavericks allow better shooting -- in a 103-89 loss Jan. 17 at Detroit."

Wow. Two distinct levels of fail there. The Pistons? Really? But I digress.

Said Tyson Chandler: "I know guys are going to be upset and come back and have a better game in Game 3. Oklahoma City got hot and made shots. But you can't allow a team to shoot 54 percent. There were so many defensive errors out there. To me, it's just a lack of concentration and we're playing for too much to have that right now."

And how about that Thunder bench, eh? The OKC reserves scored 50 points on 16-for-23 shooting to go with 17 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. And check out the productivity: Nazr Mohammed (+5 in two minutes), Daequan Cook (+11 in 16 minutes), Eric Maynor (+18 in 20 minutes), Nick Collison (+10 in 26 minutes) and James Harden (+14 in 32 minutes).

And the Thunder's crunch time lineup consisted of Harden, Maynor, Collison, Cook and Kevin Durant. And that shit worked.

Said Durant: "We had a good start to the fourth quarter. You can't mess that chemistry up. Coach made a good decision by doing that."

Added Nowitzki: "Their reserves came out swinging and really took it to us. We were never really ready for their reserves."

Wait. How can you be "not ready" for Eric Maynor and Daequan Cook?

Said Harden: "Eric made some great plays. Daequan made some big shots. Kevin did what he did. Nick played some great defense. I just tried to find my spots and make shots as well."

That he did. Harden -- who, it recently came out, was Danny Ainge's true target in the Kendrick Perkins trade -- scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in the fourth quarter.

Still, it doesn't matter whether Harden or Russell Westbrook is in the game: _allas nee_s to _o something about their _efense.

Said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle: "The defensive end is what we've got to solve. Scoring 100 points in a playoff game should be enough to win. Not if you're giving up 106, 112."

Seriously.

I quoted various shooting stats above. Here's another from ESPN Stats and Information: "The Thunder scored 26 points on jump shots in half-court sets during Game 1, accounting for 23.2 percent of their total points. In Game 2, Oklahoma City scored 50 points on jump shots in half-court sets -- 47.2 percent of the Thunder's total points."

Of course, in all fairness to the Mavericks, the Thunder were white hot from everywhere and will likely regress to the mean in Game 3. But one smokin' game was enough for them to steal the homecourt advantage.

Said Carlisle: "Sometimes you get your butt kicked. You've got to take it like a man. Hey, we've got to respond."

Rick Carlisle: Jennifer Floyd Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram blames not the _efense but the _allas coach for this loss:

The Dunk and The Beard and The Miss all had a hand in dooming the Mavericks in Game 2 of the West Finals.

What eventually led to OKC 106, Mavs 100, though, was The Idiocy.

No acceptable explanation exists for why Dirk Nowitzki only took two shots in the third quarter.

Two bleeping shots.

He did not have a single point in the third quarter, which is a sure sign of adjustment/point guard/coaching/all around Mavs fail. It was not as if OKC was doing a great job on Dirk, or even a good one.

They just were not forced to do any job at all on him for 12 minutes.

And if proof were somehow needed of this, in the fourth, when Dallas started again feeding him on trip after trip, he jumped in exactly where he left off in Game 1.

Killing OKC.

Just like in Game 1, OKC had absolutely no answer for The White Mamba or Dirty Dirk or The Big German, for my fans who prefer to keep nicknames old-school and consistent.

So did he get enough touches?

"Yeah, I thought he got enough touches" a testy Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said before reversing direction and launching into a tirade against his defense.

I beg to differ, Rick. Seventeen shots is not enough for Dirk, not in a loss, not when Kevin Durant has 23, especially not coming off of his 48-point dominance in Game 1.

Feed your beast. And once Dirk became re-introduced, Game 2 suddenly went double D and I am not talking about crowd eye candy.
I guess I see where Engel is coming from. Although by suggesting that the Mavs' problem was that they didn't outscore a team that was shooting lights out feels a little Lawler's Law-y to me. I still think the problem was the _efense.

Kendrick Perkins, quote machine: "Me and Tyson never got along. He don't like me and I don't like him. That's pretty much how it's been. Everybody always looks at me as kind of a dirty player, if you're on the opposite team. But he's just as dirty as anybody else."

Chris' Playoff Lacktion Report: Nazr Mohammed monied up a 1.55 trillion (93 seconds)...while Brendan Haywood negated a 100% shooting percentage (on one attempt) and board with 4 fouls in 7:57 to earn a 4:3 Voskuhl. And Ian Mahinmi fouled twice in 71 seconds for a +2 and a 2:0 Voskuhl.

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44 Comments:
Blogger Dick Sullivan said...
So what's your over/under on articles explaining how well OKC played defense on the 10 for 17 Nowitzki?

Also, you've already missed two key bawful moments: JJB's double-palm face-smack and Perkins' charming towel-scarf attempt at bench fashion. I'm losing my faith in you.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Am I the only one that thinks James Hardin has the best beard in the NBA? It's thick and full, but at the same time really well trimmed and clean. It also goes well with his hair, unlike some players who have this giant beard and no hair. Looks like it came out of nowhere.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No mention of Durant soaring over Haywood?

Anonymous Czernobog said...
No Brendan Haywood? I know it would be predictable, but for a reason!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX97JXD0Uv0

Blogger Wormboy said...
@Michael Hsu: Did you turn yourself on there a bit? ;)


I think it was both lack of D and not feeding Dirk. You get the ball to Dirk consistently like in game 1, and he'll score more. And it's not like the D was any worse than in game 1.

In game 1 Dirk was white hot, in game 2 multiple Zombies were white hot. Need more be said? It's not like either team is getting a ton of stops.

Anonymous Jon L. said...
James Harden, Durant, and Maynor were very impressive last night. I hope this doesn't impact Westbrook's mental state, but I think it will. I ultimately see the Mavs winning in 6.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
OK, show of hands, who thinks Harden, and not Westbrook, is the second best player in OKC?

Anonymous JJ said...
Harden is very good and surprisingly confident, but I think Westbrook has a higher potential. He is really being unfairly criticized for his shooting and play making. On a lesser team that doesn't have as much scoring power (like Bobcats), I bet Westbrook wouldn't get criticized nearly as much for playing the same way as he is doing now. In fact, he might make more shots too if he was not pressured to look for Durant all the time. But, I guess that's the price of playing in the same team as a gifted 7-footer (6'10") who can basically shoot from anywhere on the court.

Speaking of which... Mavs need to look for Dirk all the time. Doesn't matter if he's missing, getting double-teamed, or whatever. They need to go to him every single minute he's on the floor.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
*raises hand*


and R.I.P Macho Man

Anonymous Czernobog said...
@JJ: Don't get me wrong, I think Westbrook is very, very good. Harden is just better. He might actually be one of the best all around players in the league already.

Blogger BadDave said...
RIP Macho Man indeed. All I have left is this.

Anonymous Tree said...
I think it needs to be noted that Westbrook - though obviously unhappy at the time - deserves a best of the night for his post game reaction to his 4th Q benching. Good game - this is feeling like a 7 game series to me.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
http://blog.shamsports.com/2011/05/guide-to-nba-players-music.html

This topic has come up before, but this is an amazingly comprehensive look at NBA players & music

Anonymous Karc said...
@Tree - Agree completely. Westbrook could have had a classic "it's not my fault" meltdown, but he handled it well.

Of course, that just won't cut it with ESPN, who immediately sent their "agent for LeBron" to write this article, trying to get Westbrook to Miami by game 5 if possible - http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2011/news/story?id=6569847

I mean, the hit words used to describe Westbrook, "little brother," "angry tirade," "four turnovers" (making no mention of the four assists), "promptly" taken out of the game, "tell them to run the bleeping play." There's more, but it was a pretty one-sided burial of Westbrook from Broussard and this "source." The Mavs would have given the guy more credit.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Hmm, Harden is smarter, better "other skills." Westbrook has the killer scorer gene, which can be valuable if he can control it. I hope for his sake that he watches Dirk closely to learn the lessons of efficiency.

Who am I kidding? I want the Zombies to implode and everything that Clay Bennett touches to turn to ashes, because of his lying rape of Seattle's basketball fans. In any court I know of, that was fraud, and should have been prosecuted. Likewise the league should be challenged in court for allowing it, a clearly fraudulent act. So no, I can't wish him or any of his team well.

But yeah, Harden is impressive. He's the kind of guy who would have fit in with the Billups Pistons at their peak.

Anonymous sixtyeight said...
"Who am I kidding? I want the Zombies to implode and everything that Clay Bennett touches to turn to ashes, because of his lying rape of Seattle's basketball fans. [...]. So no, I can't wish him or any of his team well."

I've already started having nightmares of Zombies-cHeat finals, last night I dreamt that shit and I've been bothered by it the whole day. Sure I picked these teams for the finals at the beginning of the playoffs but it was more an attempt to jinx them than a serious basketball analysis.

Anonymous Geert said...
I understand the Bennet hate, but isn't this a little unfair to the Thunder players? I mean, they didn't have anything to do with the move. I like the team. Young guys who seem to enjoy playing with eachother, not a lot of that ego and "look how awesome I am" bullshit etc. Maybe it's time to just enjoy them for what they are and not let the Bennet hate cloud your judgement about the team.

I will root for them if they play
Miami in the finals. If it turns out to be Thunder-Bulls I don't really have a horse in the race and just hope it will be an exciting series. If Dallas plays Chicago or Miami I will ofcourse root for Dallas.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Harden?
http://www.stargazersworld.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/300leonidas.jpg

Anonymous sixtyeight said...
Don't get me wrong, I really like the thunder from a basketball standpoint (save for westbrook, it's just that I'm more into the nerdy pg ala stockton) and save for some perkins' crap I'm ok with the attitude and everything. But man, it's not a rational thing, it's emotional...I had a gary payton poster in my room as a kid... Just like knee mobility, the sonics were part of my youth and now they are gone and I want them back and...let me cry alone in a dark corner. Oh and as a sort of graphic designer you'll forgive me if my eyes bleed every time I look at their logo.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The officiating in the Thunder - Dallas game is an abomination. The refs could not try any harder to give this game to OKC. I really want to like this OKC team, but I just can't, both because of the screw job of Seattle, and because you can't even look too hard at Durant or Westbrook without a foul getting called, while Perkins gets to clobber Dallas players on both offense and defense with no call.

Full disclosure, I am a Knicks fan, so I do not have a rooting interest in anything except basketball that is enjoyable to watch at this point. The way this game is being officiated is ruining my viewing pleasure. I keep hearing the horrible ESPN announcers talking about how good the officiating has been in these playoffs, but I could not disagree more. The quality has been laughable at best. I need some more Scotch therapy, so I will now conclude this rant.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ Anonymous

"He was just trying to make a play"

Good god I hate Mark Jackson. I agree with JVG, they should fine the hell out of players for flopping if it's that obvious.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
you can't blame it on Dallas, I mean James Harden is getting Michael Jordan calls in 3rd and 4th QTR

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Ladies and Gentlemen: Meet Mr. Russell Westbrick

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow, with one minute to go in yesterday's game the Thunder had 36 free throws to 12 for Dallas. That's stupid. Could the league make it more obvious who they want in the finals?

Anonymous sixtyeight said...
the beard's flop was annoying, but the van gundy-jackson sketch was even worse...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
the nba´s next superstar lebron wadebrook will lead the league in scoring next season. without making a single field goal... 40 FTA/game will do that to you

how about a free throw shootout between wade/lebron and durant/westbrook instead of that boring stuff they called "playoff-basketball" way back in the 90´s..

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Anon, if anything, this Heat-Bulls series feels like 90's Heat-Knicks. The ECF is far more compelling basketball than the west.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
I hate to rain on your butthurt parade, but the Thunder have been living at the line all season. It's what they do. I watched the game and while I saw a few blown calls, I didn't see any particular bias.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
I thought we retired the phrase "butthurt"

I doubt it comes to fruition, but local Miami radio wants Heat fans to dress up in clown costumes because Derrick Rose is terrified of them apparently.

Anonymous elvy said...
There were way more than a few blown calls. This was hard to watch.

OKC was playing as physical as it gets, handchecking people, moving screens, flat out hitting people on drives and... still had a foul to give with 50s left? Really?

The calls against the Mavs were fine for the most part, other than a couple flops, it was the noncalls on the other end that were.. ugh.

Good thing the Mavs won, this could've been a major screwjob.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The disparity in FTAs could be easily attributed to how well Dallas shot first half or, to be more specific, how many layups Thunder conceded to Dallas would be more accurate. Second half also has an explanation - they couldn't hold onto that ball to save their lives. I swear I was having Portland series flashbacks and was sure they were gonna blow it.

Blogger Wormboy said...
The league created this fiasco through its "no hand check" rule. Could they make a tougher foul to officiate? So now we've got the Wade abomination: nobody has any idea of how good he really is, because he's been bailed out by foul calls for years.

We can be fairly certain that David Stern has it in for Dallas. Isn't that enough to make Dallas your favorite? I grew up in Illinois, so I can't help but cheer for Chicago, but I also want anything that will piss Stern off.

As for the Zombies, there's just so much bad karma there no way I'm going to cheer for them, ever. I'll freakin cheer against the Zombies 30 years from now. You DON'T jump on bandwagons that butt ugly.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No particular bias? Were you watching the same game I was?
Everyone knows the Thunder go to the line like crazy, they even shot more FTs than Dallas in game 1, but the difference here is the refs just decided Dallas was not getting fouled and let OKC mug them all night.
I'm not saying Dirk is a basketball god, but you tell me how he shot his first foul free throws at the end of the game. The dude gets held/touched/swiped every play, just like Durant, yet nothing was being called.

And don't even start on this attempt by Harden to get Chandler in trouble. The T was rescinded, but just awful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhEb7TcHLAE

The WCF has made me cringe the whole way. I was hoping for good basketball, but as a Cavs fan I guess all I can root for is the Heat to lose, even though I happen to like kazam and want to see him stick around.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Flawed yet interesting take on why Eric Maynor should be point over Westbrook

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Usage of "butthurt" has mostly been replaced by "u mad" but still has its uses in 3rd person dialogue.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Anaconda, thanks for that vid. I was looking for someone to explain how stupid Westbrook is playing.

Anonymous Nightdreamer said...
In before this coward anonymous person posts the obligatory "Miami still can't win games decided by 5 points or less".

Ps. Carlos Boozer can't defend worth crap.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
Every time Deng tries to dribble something comically Bawful happens.

Anonymous Drew said...
For what it's worth, I can't feel too much hate for Clay Bennett - it was obvious to anyone that the guy was looking for a team to take to OKC from the get-go. I have far more hate for Schulz (dumping the team to a guy who was obviously going to move it, then that lame lawsuit to try and get the team back) and even people like Mayor Nickels who sold the city out at the last minute. Then again, if the people of Seattle had perhaps made it more difficult for them to move the team... We could go on.

It's amazing how much difference you notice from Haslem's return - Bosh doesn't need to rebound as much, Anthony is motivated and Udonis himself is making a difference. It's funny but, as Jalen Rose pointed out, all Bosh needs to do on D is box out Noah.

Anonymous Wouter said...
I think Miami is going to send Boozer a huge gift basket after these series are over for the way he's been playing matador defense. The guy is a serious liability, my God!Oh and the fact that Sloan was able to hide him like that says a lot about his place in the greatest coaches of all time discussion. Doesnt game 1 seem like a distant memory now?

Blogger Wormboy said...
How to swing a playoff game: a couple of ticky tacky fouls on Noah to put him on the bench early, sucks Chicago's defensive energy out of them. How does Noah get those fouls called on him when Miami has a bona fide scrum in the lane?

Anyway, that's how you do it, people. Two little ticky tackies on a big man swings the game. Just like that.

Anonymous tabman said...
Case in point about OKC getting their usual calls while being allowed to mug Dallas, no foul here?:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/photos?gameId=310521025&photoId=1320657

As mentioned, despite being played very physically, Dirk had 0 free throw attempts in the game that were not the result of a technical or end-of-game intentional foul.

Anonymous Wouter said...
Wow tacky fouls, are you kidding me? Look, Noah is a great energy guy, probably an above average rebounder and shot blocker, but the amount of over the back fouls this guy gets away with is incredulous. And while we're on the subject of this particular game: Foul 1: clearly pushing Bosh on an inbounds play 6 seconds into the game, right in front of the ref (i.e. DUMB play). Foul 2: clearly an aforementioned over the back, he basically jumped in Lebron's neck. Bulls fans are starting to remind me of friggin Laker fans!

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