I pick Memphis in Five, then Durant will force Westbrook out of OKC...
Thunder can't match up with Randolph and Gasol, plus they need a pure point guard not a black hole like Westbrook...maybe after this playoff defeat Thunder bandwagon jumpers will see this team is built for regular season success and early exits in the playoffs, Perkins huge extension will hinder resigning Harden who needs to leave too, Durant will be a lone star in Hijack City...all predictions from the Crow...now discuss
A) you are nuts if you think this series is only going 5 games, and in Memphis' favor. yes they did win the first game. I know but the thunder will make this a series... ATLEAST
B) westbrook and durant are great fans, and durant isnt someone who is gonna force out another teammate. they had 1 bad game together. jeez
Westbrook just need to grow as a player, to work and to become better at running a team.
also in this series Harden have to start! Sefolosha starting has no purpose, with the Memphis team there is no much benefit with his defense, it's not worthwhile to put him at the beginning, there no wing who need to be contain, will be much advantage to use Harden skills, he need to play close to 40 minutes!
Sorry but that's just ridiculous lol. Westbrook averaged 21.9, 8.2, 4.6 and 1.9 steals this year, and all his averages increased from last year. He's an elite defender and only 22, and finished in the top 10 in PER. Are you f'ing serious? Through all the PG debates during the year I didn't focus a lot of attention on defending him but saying he needs to leave or will be gone is downright ignorant.
OKC's weakness, if they have one, is that only 2 starters (KD and RW) can create a shot for themselves, and Memphis happens to be a long, strong and tough-minded defensive team. It has nothing to do with Westbrook, and if he maybe appears to be a "black hole" right now, it's because he as to compensate that Sefalosha, Ibaka and Perkins are all hesitant to take their man, especially in crunch time.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY. People need to stop making very rash comments based on single playoff games. I would bet my life that Durant would never, even at his angriest, ask for some kind of replacement for Westbrook. They have a great rapport and have built this team from nothing on their shoulders. Westbrook is one of the best players in the league, not just one of the best young players (again, look where he ranks in player efficiency rating), and is improving faster than any other youngster besides D Rose. Chill out, y'all.
Talk about overreacting. Your ET and Thad for all of Denver's Thuggets trade has a better chance of happening than this.
Durant needs to regain control of this team, Westbrook has a more aggressive personality and it's hindering the team's success. Durant has great leadership abilities and can carry a team, the World Championships are proof of that, he took over when he needed to. It's up to Russ to stay out of his own way and play the position more faithfully.
Westbrook is a extremely talented player, but he just takes to wild shots that he could get at anytime.. He seems to be competing with Durant and not the other team... Basketball is about chemistry and Westbrook is killing it with his erratic play.. During the regular season it seemed like he was playing more within himself, he has got to do a better job getting is teammates involved.. Playing hero basketball is not going to get it done against the Grizz the move the ball to well on offense and on defensive the are too good to get beaten if Westbrook is try to jack up stupid shots..
As much as I would like to agree with you Scarecrow, as an avid disliker of the hyped up OKC Thunder, I have a feeling they still cause some noise in this series, and I like them too win. True, their front court acquisition of Perkins was slightly overhyped, as they still need some depth there, but I will say he is a much better defensive presence than Jeff Green would have been. Not to mention, I do not think we have seen the last of Kevin Durant's presence in this series, and I would expect him too take over.
Why are people suddenly hating on Westbrook as well? I did not watch the game, so I am guessing people must have some validity to their saying he is a "blackhole" and such, but last year he was the guy giving the Lakers the most problems. He plays great defense and is an excellent rebounder for his position as well. People hating on him need to stop it, his shot selection is questionable at times, and their is no doubt Durant should be getting more shots than he does, but it was one game people!
Russell was incredibly valuable for this team, and as much as I would love to say that he and Durant might not work out, I have a feeling that simply is not going to be the case. As much as people may think Russell is not a PG, he seems to be doing quite well at the position. They beat a hot team in Denver, and are going up against an even hotter team in Memphis. They may be an overrated team, but I still like them in this series.
By the way, Perkins extension is not that bad. The pick of Harden has not worked out as well as planned, but he is still only a second year player and he does provide a nice scoring punch off of the bench. This team plays defense and is not that bad at rebounding, and while they are young, they are still a force to be reckoned with. They may indeed be the team right behind the Lakers in the West right now.
I got sick of people saying that Kevin Durant was a better player than LeBron James, I just do not at all think that is true. But, he is a great player and a great scorer, he has had a very solid play-offs. As much as Randolph poses a problem with his size and skill for OKC frontcourt, even with Memphis' solid perimeter D, Durant should shine as well. The Heat also had a solid Game 1 win, and while I am still sticking by them as my pick to win the chip this year, they are going to have to keep playing hard. Cleveland looked amazing against the Celtics in Game's 1 and 3 last year, but we know how that turned out. The Grizzlies are not out of the woods yet, and I expect this series to be at least as tough as San Antonio, and I like the Thunder to come out on top.
Westbrook needs to pick and choose when he should go to the rack full steam. When he goes to the rim aggressively it helps the Thunder's offense when it is done in a random, unexpected fashion. When the other team knows he is going to go the rim full force almost every play it takes away from the surprise factor that catches them off guard. He just needs to do a better job making the decision of when to get all the way to the rim (because he CAN get to the rim at any time he wants, it's just a matter of finishing with him) and when to slow down and run the half court offense through Durant (especially slow down at the end of the game and get it in your closers hands).
@mikeyv: You had to watch the game to understand how bad Westbrook has been lately. He was ignoring Thabo wide open on the perimeter for much of the game, which allowed Memphis to clog the paint and deny his attempts at penetration. His body language was terrible whenever he didn't get a call and kept expecting to get bailed out by the refs because he couldn't finish. He wasn't finding Durant anywhere near enough, and his D on Conley off-ball was too aggressive and led to easy buckets for Memphis a few times.
This isn't just based off one game, the 30-for-30 game in the Denver series which they lost was another example, and it seems to be a growing trend. It was okay against Denver because they were up 3-0, but doing so in the first game of a series with Durant barely touching the ball most times down the court is a major problem.
I'd actually like to see Brooks play Russ with the second unit more and move Harden and Maynor into the starting lineup; you'd have a pass-first PG, a SG who can create his own shot and Durant would be getting his touches; plus Russ could wreak havoc on the opposition bench. It won't happen obviously because it would cause bad blood, but could be the best thing for this Thunder team the way Russ has been playing lately.
If the Thunder wants to win the series, they would have to get Westbrook to play more unselfishly. He's taking way too many shots (even more than Durant) and that's a big negative. Basketball is a team game. As good as Westbrook, he shouldn't try to single-handedly win the game by himself from start to finish. Also, Durant should have the ball more in the 4th quarter.
I commented before that RW's game management is below average and he uses his athleticism as his main weapon. As was mentioned earlier in this thread he gave LA all they could handle in last years playoffs but he was being guarded by Fisher most of the game who just can't keep up as the game goes on. When Westbrook is faced with an opposing PG who he can't just blow by and over power he gets stuck. Throw in his below average finishing ability around the rim and it is what it is. This is not to say that his game management won't improve... look no further then Conely as proof. I'm pretty sure Westbrook didn't play much ball prior to college so given the amount of years he's actually been playing at a high level he's doing pretty darn well but his shooting was never his strong point. His shot is not all that great either and when your hoisting that many shots you need better %'s then this
Career Totals (Full)
Westbrook also shot only 39.5% in round one against Denver and they were lucky to win that series. Westbrook averaged 20 shots a game and only made 7. Nothings changed to start the second round. Denver cracked down the stretch in games 1,3,5. Felton wasn't fast enough to keep up on D and Lawson was too small in the paint.
I agree that Harden should be starting in this series.
I also think Ibaka should be the one guarding ZBO on D... not Perkins. Ibaka has the size, speed to make things more difficult.
But he is not a championship point guard...he should be moved for a guy like Steph Curry if the Thunder are seriously trying to win a ring with Durant...Mikey I am sorry we don't agree on The outcome of this series, but if Westbrook continues to play like Westbrook has in the previous games they are going fishing real soon...Durant has the tools to lead a team to a title, if every one would stop jumping down my throat they'll see that Westbrook will stand in his own way of helping Durant successful...a low key, Sharp shooting pg like Curry would be perfect next to Durant...but I'm just a student of the John Wooden academy, I could be wrong...
It is one game afterall. I know, people did not like the way Russell played in a couple games last series, but they did win 4-1. Russell is a great all-around player, and while I do love Stephen Curry as well, I am fairly sure he would not solve all of your problems. Sure, he might have been a better pick than Harden, but they would have a small backcourt, and it is tough to win with that. Certainly Curry would not make the Thunder as good as they are right now with Westbrook.
With most players, you get something and you give some things up. With Curry you get shooting, and maybe more courtsense. But, when compared with Westbrook, you give up defensive intensity and an ability to take it to the rack with reckless abandon. He is in his third year in the league, and has a chance to make the All-NBA 3rd team. I think it is way to soon to dump on him after a couple games in these play-offs in which his team is 4-2. Give the guy a chance to show some identity in this series.
If he plays like he did in the first game, Scarecrow, they might lose. But, their is such a thing as adjustments. I just find it funny that their is this sudden backlash against a player who really was part of his team getting this hype in the first place. Kevin Durant is the guy you build around, but I think it is incredibly premature to flat out get rid of Westbrook. Maybe switch his position, but saying that he is not a championship PG seems kind of ridiculous to me. Avery Johnson was a championship PG, surely Russell Westbrook has the chance to be that as well. Even if you do eventually switch him to the 2 guard, which I could see as a possibility, I think he has to be in your future plans for OKC. They made it to the 2nd round this year, and hey, they are still alive. Would losing to Memphis be enough to say "Westbrook is not working?" I personally find it hard to believe, they are a young team, give it time. I have read your thoughts, and I am going to tune in closely, but I think you are all really overreacting.
I picked Memphis in 6, so I agree Memphis will win this series, however I can see Presti and Durant talking because this is the SECOND time Westbrook did this in this postseason.
What the hell are you thinking? Westbrook leaving OKC? I dont think so!
What has gotten into Russell Westbrook? He is an amazing player and has played well his whole career complementing Kevin Durant. Did he have lunch with Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury? Is he jealous of Derrick Rose? Does he see a matchup advantage but just cant get the shots to fall? If I were Sam Presti, I would launch a police investigation and have his phone searched. Because players dont turn into this overnight. Is he trying to play hero ball, or just tired of being called a second bannana. I hope he puts it together, or else the Thunder will be finished. He took 23 or more shots 8 times this season, but three already this postseason. And its not like we saw a trend at the end of the season. The first 6 games of the playoffs, he had 3 such games, but the last 19 games of the season, he had none such games. I am telling you, cut all Marbury and Iverson connectrions to this kid, I bet you he is making secret trips to China and Turkey
I clearly predicated The Grizzlies win this series in 5 and that may be coming true...anyone want to call me a one game super scout...
I see your Grizzlies in 5 and raise you a Thunder in 7.
I just bumped this thread because I thought it was funny how many people thought I was crazy, the Thunder have no real answer for Randolph and Gasol, not to mention Westbrook is regressing by the game....7 TO's in a pivotal game...what's next Russ stealing the ball away from Durant I'm the final seconds of a 1 point game???...
To be fair, Gasol and Randolph shot 12/36 in one of the games, it's really just Westbrook which is the problem. Durant looked really frustrated in post-game interviews, I don't think he takes any nonsense from Westbrook in the next game.
The Grizzlies are living at the line, if they hit more free throws in game 3 that's a blow out...Another scary thing for Thunder fans has to be OJ Mayo regaining some confidence as a 6th man...if he comes up big in the next 2 games it is fishing season in OKC...