Well it was Tuesday, and that means Laker Night on NBATV. The Lakers got out to an early lead, but some defensive energy by the Thunder and cleverness by Kevin Durant enabled them to get back into the game. The Thunder lost by three in overtime after Russell Westbrook missed a pull-up three pointer as time expired. With that, let's get to my analysis of a few players:
James Harden: He played very well. He was unselfish and seemed to always make the right decision. He hit a couple of big shots and drew a charge on Kobe.
Kevin Durant: Struggled a bit to get to the rim off of the dribble. Was very clever by using his defender's aggressiveness against them by raising his arms through theirs and drawing shooting fouls. Did not hit a three-pointer, going 0-8 from downtown. Really struggled to score in the 2nd half and overtime. Took a crazy 35 footer with the game on the line at the end of the 4th quarter.
Jeff Green: He did a great job on defense, giving a full effort and making whoever he was guarding work for every shot. He had a great play when he blocked a dunk by Ron Artest, but he was wrongly called for a foul. He also had a nice passing lane steal, which lead to a breakaway dunk.
Thabo Sefalosha: Did a great job defending Kobe, even though he scored 31 points. He made him work for every single shot. His combination of length, intensity and lateral quickness make him a great defender, albeit very underrated. Missed a three pointer in overtime that would have tied the game.
Russell Westbrook: Had a couple of nice drives to the hoop. Needs to take better care of the ball, turnovers are the number one way to ruin a team's chances of winning. He's very young and only in his second season (he also is kind of new to the point guard position), so I think it's safe to say that he'll improve his ball securing abilities with experience.
Kevin Ollie: I was pretty critical about him playing over Shaun Livingston, but he does a great job of protecting the ball and setting up the offense. Did not turn the ball over once. Needs to stay away from jumpers from 18+ feet out. It's still pretty sad to see Shaun Livingston in his warmup suit the entire game. He had such tremendous potential before his knee injury.
I agree with just about everything you said. Thabo had some clutch defensive plays against Mr. Bryant, and I was glad to see the refs let them play. It was totally a physical game. Another player to add is Etan Thomas. He played EXTREMELY well matching up with Bynum. He grabbed over 10 boards and had I believe 3 blocks. He is a physical specimen even though he is 6-10. Russ did a good job turnover wise until crunch time.. It was a fun game to watch..
Yeah, I forgot about Thomas. He did a great job defending the paint. He was a little dramatic grabbing rebounds, but that's nothing to really be concerned about. I was also happy to see Krstic continue shooting to open the 2nd quarter after struggling mightily in the 1st.
yeah the 1st half.. Nenad came off a really cold shooting night against Portland, and that continued to happen during the 1st half. I would have liked to see him in there more because he would have caused matchup problems with Bynum. He can't guard him on the perimeter, but on the other hand, Krstic cant match up with Bynum in the post.. Yeah but for sure the heroes of the game were Thabo and Jeff. Both played extremely well.
good stuff, but just wanted to point out that russell was a PG his entire high school career, and he also ran the point at UCLA for the first ~6 (?) weeks of his sophomore year at UCLA while Collison was injured, and than the entire last year for OKC... so really he's not that new to the position.
Kevin Durrant is the least improved player on the Thunder, he has to add more to his game.
I'll go as far as to say that Sefolosha is one of the elite perimeter defenders in the NBA. He was phenomenal guarding Kobe last night, and he's always been a great defensive player to me, just haven't watched him play alot to really have him etched in the brain.
Westbrook did not impress me much, Kevin Ollie was much more effective running the offense and taking care of the ball. Westbrook is far too turnover prone to take the next step to being an All-Star, he's really not that great a pure PG at all right now. He's mostly an athletic freak with potential. Mostly the same things said about him last year. Some of the users on this site REALLY overrate him.
yeah ive always liked ethan he plays very hard physical defense and did a prgood job on bynumbynum still got 20 and 10 rebounds but that says more of how good bynum is then thomas's defense which was pretty good..think sefois a good defender but i wont go as far as call him elite...ive watched him a couple of games and good defender come sto mind not elite..no one is gonna stop kobe but a healthy kobe would have did alot worst then what he did