ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:
Are we seeing the value of James Harden now? The Thunder has a hard time finding any scoring in the second unit.
The answer I'm sure is yes. But let's not forget. The Thunder struggled down the stretch last season. I think OKC went 5-5 down the stretch of last season. Every team has its ups and downs throughout the season. Clearly, the Thunder wishes it still had Harden. But I don't think it's doomsday for OKC. What the Thunder mostly needs is for Durant and Westbrook to play better. They've played poorly of late.
How far do you see this Thunder team going? It appears that when the playoffs get here and everything tightens up that the Thunder may be in trouble.
Maybe. Or maybe the rest of the West will be in trouble. Like I said, the Thunder optimism wasn't great last season going into the playoffs. Heck, remember the opening series against Dallas; OKC won the first two games at home, both tight, and you thought, hey, this team isn't getting it done. But the Thunder kept plugging away. That's what this team has to do. Keep plugging away.
The Thunder looked lost out there the last two games. What’s going on?
I think the Denver game was awful. But I thought last night was a good sign. Memphis is a top-shelf team. Yet the Thunder on the road went to overtime and frankly should have won. It wasn't pretty. But I promise you, no one is excited about playing OKC in the playoffs. You know how OKC fans and maybe personnel are thinking they'd like to avoid the Spurs or the Clips or the Grizzlies or even the Nuggets? The opposite is true, too. Those teams think the same of the Thunder.
Should these regular season losses be a major concern for Thunder fans, or will the series format of the playoffs make these losses a nonissue?
We've been in the college culture so long, it's hard for all of us not to overreact to a regular-season loss. But do you realize the Thunder still could post 60 wins? OKC is 50-19. Could OKC go 10-3 the rest of the way? Its next five games are against Orlando, Portland, Washington, Minnesota, Milwaukee. Its final three games are against Portland, Sacramento and Milwaukee. If the Thunder wins 60 games, how in the world can anyone be too worked up?
The Heat was down by 27 and won. That’s all kinds of impressive. Your thoughts?
The Heat is a team for the ages, that's what I think. A team for the ages.
How many games will the Heat win on their unbeaten streak? Do they catch the record?
Well, they've got a couple of tough games coming. The Spurs await in San Antonio on Game 30, or 31, or 32, I forget which. But don't put it past them.
ON THE NFL:
Tuck rule: did the tuck rule end up getting stricken? I hate the tuck rule. I hope they voted that out.
Gone. The tuck rule is no more. It's gone to its eternal resting place in the New England Patriot Hall of Fame.
Sticking with the Pats theme, how do you think Welker will do at Denver?
Within five degrees of fantastic. He'll do superb. Peyton Manning loves slot receivers.
Tangent from the Denver theme ... will Tebow start another game at QB in the NFL?
Doesn't seem like it. There's a quarterback shortage in the NFL, and Tebow can't get a sniff. And part of it is silly. Arizona, Jacksonville, all kinds of teams need to try something at QB, but no one wants to take a flier. Major, major mistake for Tebow to sign with the Jets. The Jets turned him into a carnival act, because that's what the Jets do, and now everyone wants to stay the heck away. No one wants to mimic the Jets.
ALL THE EXTRAS:
Have you ever been to San Jose before? Any great dining so far? I always enjoy your travel blogs — looking forward to the California installment.
I was in San Jose in 2002, when OU won the regional to go to the Final Four. Both nights so far, I've driven up to San Francisco for dinner. It's about a 45-minute drive. Our former colleague, Andrea Cohen, lives in San Fran. She's one of my favorite people in the world. So any chance I get to spend some time with her, I jump on it. Plus you're in San Francisco. I'll eat in San Jose tonight. But definitely I'll have a travel blog next week.
What’s the most unique question you've ever asked someone in your sports journalism career?
Oh heck, I don't know. I know the most unique question anyone on our staff ever asked. During the 2007 Big 12 Tournament, Kim Mulkey wore some kind of garish denim outfit, looked like something someone might wear on the Grand Ol' Opry. So after the Friday night quarterfinals, Mike Baldwin asked Mulkey, "Kim, would you say that's more of a Saturday night outfit?"