Thunder Has Talking Heads’ Turning
The debate is over. The Thunder wins.
And it’s not even close.
It’s no longer a question of which team is the biggest surprise in the NBA. Oklahoma City has surpassed Memphis, Houston, Charlotte and Phoenix. The Thunder won its sixth straight game Tuesday night at Portland and moved to 30-21 heading into the All-Star break. And the nation is starting to pay attention.
On NBA TV’s Fan Night following the game, Chris Webber and Kevin McHale gushed about the Thunder’s present and future. They expressed a bit of man love for Kevin Durant and pegged the Thunder as a playoff team, Webber going as far as saying, ‘They’re going to be fifth, maybe fourth (seed) in the playoffs.” Here’s what else they had to say.
Webber on OKC fans watching the Thunder grow: “This team is mature. This doesn’t happen much in the NBA with a team jumping like this. This is really something special to see…(Golden State) had a young team that grew together and they beat Dallas (in the first round of the playoffs). That whole fan base got to watch that team grow. Oklahoma City fans better take advantage of this because, believe me, it does not happen often when it grows (like this). I’m a Lions fan and you see where I am today. This Oklahoma City team is young, they’re good and hopefully they can stick with the plan of youth.”
McHale on Durant’s new nickname: “He’s ‘The Icicle.’ Long, skinny and cold-blooded.”
Webber on Durant: “He’s one of the smoothest playrs I’ve ever seen. Every game he continues to break down this myth. I remember when he came into the league, people said, ‘he needs to lift weights. He needs to gain 50 pounds.’ For what? He’s going by you, he’s not going through you. This guy is a beast. When it comes to scorers in our league, (Durant) and Carmelo (Anthony) are right there at the top of the list for who can score the easiest.”
McHale on Durant’s scoring ability: “He scores very easily like any great scorer. What makes him unique is that he can make the long jump shot and h makes contested shots. There are times when you are up on him and you’re playing great defense and he rises up and knocks it down right in your mouth.”
Webber on the Thunder’s defense against Portland: “This year, out of all the games we’ve watched, this is one of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen by a team.”
The one thing that was said that missed the mark was McHale’s opinion that the front office will huddle in a room after the season, sit down and say, ‘We’re closer than we think,” as if the organization will make a major move to try to speed the process. As we all know, GM Sam Presti is a patient man. That’s not happening. This Thunder team will not skip steps so long as Presti is running the show. He’ll continue to allow this group to develop together before going out and blowing his wad on a major addition that could handicap the team’s future.
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