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Thunder chat: Darnell Mayberry talks Russell's rhythm, small-ball lineups and Fisher from 3

by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 24, 2014

Darnell Mayberry 10:57 a.m. Greetings, ladies and gents.
Q 10:57 a.m. I'm sure Joel was thrilled to see no Perkins on the block yesterday, how'd that work out?
Darnell Mayberry 10:58 a.m. Shots fired! I repeat. Shots fired!
Leah 10:58 a.m. So..the first 2 games after all-star break have been bad, do you think having 7 days off is part of the reason? How much is just Russ settling in?
Darnell Mayberry 11:00 a.m. I think the layoff had a lot to do with it. But the Thunder also wasn't playing great before the break. OKC was skating by against bad teams. Now that good teams showed up on the schedule, and there was a layoff, and Westbrook is being worked back in, the result is two straight home losses.
Leah 11:00 a.m. has Coach Brooks said how many games Russ will be on a minutes restriction?
Darnell Mayberry 11:00 a.m. Nope. And I don't expect him to. Russ, either.
dr. el prez 11:00 a.m. Darnell, is there a projection when Russell's minutes won't be limited and Brooks can be more fluid with his minutes depending on the needs of the game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:02 a.m. I would be surprised if they lift the minutes restriction before this home stand is complete. They're being super cautious with him now. No reason to think they'll rush him back to 35 minutes a night. But yesterday's game was close to being an interesting case study. For a second, it appeared the game might have gone into overtime. And Westbrook would have been at 25 minutes at the end of regulation. Wonder how they would have handled that.
-Mac 11:03 a.m. Looking at the Thunder schedule from now through the month of March, lots of games that seem more 'favorable' for getting Westbrook back to form than Miami & the Clippers...
Darnell Mayberry 11:04 a.m. That's just it. Five of the Thunder's next eight are against Cleveland, Charlotte, Philly and the Lakers twice. All the noise coming out after two straight home losses will quickly subside with these bad teams coming up.
Thomas 11:04 a.m. how long will it take russ to get back into a rhythm shooting?
Darnell Mayberry 11:06 a.m. That's a good question, and Slater is addressing that topic for tomorrow's paper. The interesting thing about Westbrook's first return was that his shooting wasn't the problem. It was his inability to finish at the rim. Now, he's not making outside shots and not getting to the rim as much. But he's missed 27 straight games. We can't expect it to return overnight.
harry man 11:06 a.m. Clippers 125, thunder up 117 (0-2) since the all star break. harry man is 2-0...the long layoff HURTS
Darnell Mayberry 11:06 a.m. I don't know. If you didn't say it here then it doesn't count.
Leah 11:06 a.m. I was surprised Perry Jones didn't play yesterday, especially with Perk out.
Darnell Mayberry 11:07 a.m. Three guard lineups. That did it.
harry man 11:07 a.m. play thabeet more
Darnell Mayberry 11:07 a.m. Should solve everything.
Yancy 11:07 a.m. When D-Wade showed up for the Thunder-Heat game, I knew the Thunder were in trouble. When D-Wade is healthy and rested, nobody is stopping the Heat.
Darnell Mayberry 11:09 a.m. I think the Pacers might have something to say about that. And if the Thunder doesn't turn it over and miss 18 of 20 3s, it might have a say in the matter as well. Spurs, too, if they can ever get healthy.
John 11:09 a.m. Are the Thunder signing any free agents? Do they need to?
Darnell Mayberry 11:09 a.m. I would expect something minor on that front over the next few days/weeks. I'm keeping a close eye on what happens with Roger Mason in Sacramento. Ben Gordon in Charlotte, as well.
Jimmer 11:10 a.m. Save me, Darnell.
Darnell Mayberry 11:11 a.m. Not happening. Not on this team. Presti likes big guards and two-way players. You don't fit the bill either way. It's as simple as that.
denis 11:11 a.m. Why aren't you active on your facebook page anymore? Greetings from Croatia!
Darnell Mayberry 11:12 a.m. I was never on Facebook. My articles automatically posted there when I had written something new.
Shawn 11:12 a.m. At one point against the Clippers, KD was guarding CP3 and Fish was guarding Blake Griffin. It looked intentional. Can you explain that one to me?
Darnell Mayberry 11:13 a.m. Highly doubt it was intentional. I think they just got switched.
Ricky 11:14 a.m. Is Granger a legitimate option for the Thunder? Seems like the Thunder would at least kick the tires so he doesn't end up on the Heat or another West contender (Portland, San Antonio).
Darnell Mayberry 11:15 a.m. I think it's all up to Granger. He's got to make that decision knowing that he might not get as many minutes on the Thunder. There are a lot of things in play. It's more than just whether the Thunder wants to sign him. But I think he'd be a good fit.
Blindman 11:16 a.m. Second half of the season, contenders are runnin' & gunnin'for playoff position... Thunder (besides KD) need to have the killer instinct and bring it every game. The bench needs to step up big time.
Darnell Mayberry 11:17 a.m. Some think KD needs the killer instinct as well.
harry man 11:17 a.m. bad teams (cleveland, charlotte, philly and lakers twice) please on the bad teams. Look what happened last week boston college beating syracuse in OT at syracuse...bad teams....
Darnell Mayberry 11:18 a.m. This isn't college, but, yeah, losses to bad teams happen. I don't suspect they'll happen to the Thunder over this next stretch.
dr. el prez 11:18 a.m. Darnell, another question regarding Russell's knee. If the swelling issues return, who makes the call, Russell, his agent, the out of state surgeon, or the Thunder's medical staff?
Darnell Mayberry 11:19 a.m. The team will probably say it's a joint decision. But if chronic swelling returns, I don't think it's much of a decision at all. You've got to sit him. If it happens in the playoffs, they'll probably just drain the knee and keep him off of it for everything but the games.
M.P. 11:19 a.m. Please explain Fish getting backed down by Blake Griffin multiple times. It wasn't just a one-time "got caught in a rotation" thing. Seems like Brooks was ok with Fish just giving up 64 inches.
Darnell Mayberry 11:20 a.m. I'd have to go back and watch, but I'm pretty sure they just got switched. Doubt the Thunder sought that matchup.
Tim 11:20 a.m. How'd you feel about the way Adams played yesterday?
Darnell Mayberry 11:20 a.m. Loved the energy he came out with on defense. Didn't love him getting beat down the court by DeAndre Jordan.
Wild bill 11:20 a.m. Where did Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb go?
Darnell Mayberry 11:21 a.m. Good question. Jackson wasn't bad against Miami. But he can be a lot better. Lamb has had one good game (Portland) in about seven or eight now.
Leah 11:21 a.m. I thought the clips light blue sleeved jerseys looks like pajamas.
Darnell Mayberry 11:21 a.m. That's funny.
Andrew 11:21 a.m. It seems like Fisher became the 3 point shooter that we've kind of needed. He's shooting 38% from deep. Can he keep it up?
Darnell Mayberry 11:22 a.m. I highly doubt it. He's over 50 percent in his last 15 games, and the shots he's taking are from well beyond the 3-point line. Neither of those things seem sustainable. I hope I'm wrong.
Shawn 11:22 a.m. Heard the Thunder off-handedly mentioned as a candidate to sign Danny Granger should the Sixers buy him out. Any truth to this? Seems farfetched.
Darnell Mayberry 11:23 a.m. I wouldn't call it far-fetched. But the Thunder might not be Granger's first option given what OKC can offer from a minutes standpoint.
Leah 11:23 a.m. I'd love a pacers thunder finals matchup. (i grew up in indiana watching reggie miller, but live in tulsa, OKC my fav team no matter what)
Darnell Mayberry 11:23 a.m. I'm sure the league disagrees with you.
harry man 11:24 a.m. watching yesterday's game at home with many cold ones (clippers at OKC) on abc noticed seats empty (spotty) behind the media and players..then start of the 2nd half for 2-4 min. seats realy empty...amazing how homer fans show up for what and how many dont. explain please
Darnell Mayberry 11:25 a.m. One thing nobody can ever argue with is Thunder fans filing up the building. The empty seats you saw were of people who hadn't yet returned from the restroom and concession stands. It happens. Doesn't mean anything.
harry man 11:25 a.m. do you watch the nfl scouting combine. if youi do what is your 40 dash (time)...is it better that perkins? go cleveland
Darnell Mayberry 11:26 a.m. I'll watch some of it on replay. And I'm pretty sure I'd smoke Perk in a footrace.
Guest 11:26 a.m. What happened with the 3 or so million from the Maynor trade? I was under the impression that that was gone after the trade deadline?
Darnell Mayberry 11:26 a.m. Yep. Expired.
harry man 11:26 a.m. what do teams do when they fly into OKC for the dayoff then play the next day. a dayoff before before tomorrows game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:27 a.m. I don't know. We wanted to ask the Heat players that very question. My guess is not much. Probably try to lay low. Have dinner and rest up in the hotel perhaps.
Josh 11:27 a.m. Did we lose our first games coming out of the all-star break last year?
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. Sort of. But not really. Went 3-2 in the first five.
Leah 11:28 a.m. In yesterday's game, the entire bench has positive plus minus, the starts only had Kd at a +1
Darnell Mayberry 11:28 a.m. That's because of what the Clippers' starters did.
JD 11:28 a.m. Given Jackson's play yesterday, I thought Lamb instead of Jackson should've played late. Lamb didn't do much yesterday but he seems to make good decisions and is a better pure shooter and better defender...thoughts?
Darnell Mayberry 11:30 a.m. I totally agree with you. In fact, I said it as the game was going on. It was almost like Westbrook and Durant didn't feel comfortable swinging it to Reggie. They needed an outlet they felt comfortable with. Some thought Sefolosha should have been in there for Jackson for defensive purposes. I can't argue with that. But Lamb would have been my choice. Not like the Thunder was stopping the Clippers anyway. Might as well try to match their offense.
JD 11:30 a.m. Did you think the hook was a little quick on Adams? I thought he played well while he was in there..
Darnell Mayberry 11:31 a.m. Meh. Both teams were playing small, three-guard lineups for a stretch.
harry man 11:32 a.m. charlotte still is hanging around for playoffs. cleveland is a solid team. win some lose many
Darnell Mayberry 11:32 a.m. And neither is better than the Thunder.
harry man 11:32 a.m. harry man will remember those written words ( I don't suspect they'll happen to the Thunder over this next stretch.) a quote from darnell mayberry followers
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. And if we tracked all of your bogus predictions over the years you'd be ashamed of yourself.
Nene 11:33 a.m. Reports are I could be out for the year. Are the Wizards' NBA finals chances officially shot?
Darnell Mayberry 11:33 a.m. Might still make the East Finals.
Guest 11:33 a.m. Did anyone ever point out to Coach Brooks the folly of playing Perk in a game where there is no place for him and he gets hurt and he cannot play in games where he is very much needed? You guys in the media need to ask him some uncomfortable questions... It seems Coach Brooks often doubles down on being stubborn (or a coward) versus doing what's right for the team.
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. I ask Brooks "tough" questions all the time. Doesn't mean he'll answer.
-Mac 11:35 a.m. What is the timeline for contract to be bought out & teams to pick up those guys?
Darnell Mayberry 11:35 a.m. Players must be waived by Saturday to be eligible for playoff rosters. But teams can sign them anytime after Saturday as long as they were waived by Saturday.
ErnieV 11:36 a.m. Do you think that because of Fisher playing a full season with the Thunder rather the half seasons the past 2 years is why we are seeing the better shooting out of Fisher? And do you think the team falls in love with the small ball line up to much?
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. I don't think they go small enough sometimes. It's one of the better lineups. And I think Fish said it best last night, his shooting saw an uptick after he began getting more minutes following Westbrook's unfortunate surgery. It allowed him to get into more of a rhythm and comfort zone.
tom 11:37 a.m. Did covering a scorching hot LeBron take the wind out of KD's sails against the Heat?
Darnell Mayberry 11:37 a.m. Um, no. He had 42 points and 10 assists yesterday. My, have we gotten spoiled around here.
J-Dog 11:38 a.m. Obviously I love Ibaka, but I think the main problem with shot blockers is that they are always honed in on protecting the rim and they lose their man so easily. Is that why Jordan + Griffin got so many easy backdoor buckets, or are they just really that good
Darnell Mayberry 11:38 a.m. I wouldn't put that on just Ibaka. A lot went wrong with the entire defense yesterday.
Jr 11:38 a.m. Do you expect Russ to sit out any games being there's no back to backs anytime soon next back to back set 3/16-3/17
Darnell Mayberry 11:39 a.m. I honestly don't know what they're thinking with him. And I'm starting to wonder if they've determined it. Maybe they haven't.
Nicole 11:39 a.m. safe to say all the talk about the thunder being the best against the best is the cause of the 2 losses? haha enjoy your work!
Darnell Mayberry 11:40 a.m. Miami and the Clippers came in fired up, that's for sure. But that's what happens when you have the best record in basketball. Teams start gunning for you. Thunder needs to get back to realizing that and come out with that same mentality.
Guest 11:40 a.m. From the Maynor trade question, is that a missed opportunity or just part of the game?
Darnell Mayberry 11:41 a.m. You don't make a trade just to make it. If the right thing wasn't out there, then Presti did the right thing letting it expire. Better to let it go than to give up something (or take on something) that doesn't make sense and can hurt you more than it helps you.
harry man 11:41 a.m. cleveland 114 thunder up 113..close
Darnell Mayberry 11:42 a.m. I'm sure we'll be able to add this one to the list.
James Hightower 11:42 a.m. I think it would benefit to start lamb or Jackson on the two spot to help russ and move up thabo kd and serge accordingly for a quick boost on rotation. Then bring in perk with the second unit with Adams or collison at the four for some stops. What do you think? Brooks is killing me with his rotations.
Darnell Mayberry 11:43 a.m. I've covered this team since the start. Brooks ain't changing his starting lineup unless someone is hurt or traded. Might as well get used to it.
Andrew 11:43 a.m. You mentioned in the thunder buddies podcast about Russ and Reggie being on the court more together. In your opinion, wouldn't our floor spacing struggle? Unless we had lamb and KD in the game along with them I feel like teams could just clog the paint.
Darnell Mayberry 11:44 a.m. Reggie is shooting with more confidence, and teams have to respect Russ no matter what. So I disagree with that. And if all else fails, both can drive and kick. But I do like the idea of Lamb out there, too. Maybe a lineup of Russ, Reggie, Jeremy, KD and Ibaka?
Jack 11:45 a.m. Darnell is this Collins signing a coincidence or did the Nets and him just force a deal so that he could beat the football player and say I'm first?
Darnell Mayberry 11:45 a.m. I don't pretend to know that.
Brant 11:45 a.m. The Thunder missed Perkins. They needed some nasty.
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. Brant, you're on the verge of becoming Public Enemy No. 1 around here if you keep up that kind of talk.
Guest 11:46 a.m. do you still think the thunder will win the west?
Darnell Mayberry 11:46 a.m. Yes.
Nicole 11:46 a.m. it's crazy cause he's been shooting like 48% but it seems KD isn't shooting very well,(seems to miss a ton of easy shots) you think that's slight fatigue or just a "bad" shooting stretch?
Darnell Mayberry 11:47 a.m. Hard to say bad shooting stretch when he's shooting at or better than 50 percent each night. I'll just say nobody's perfect. Shots don't always fall.
John 11:47 a.m. This may seem like an obvious question, but where does a NBA Franchise get their money for player salaries from? Is it mainly from tickets and merchandise? I guess what I'm getting at is, will the Thunder always struggle with player salaries? How can they get more money to work with?
Darnell Mayberry 11:49 a.m. Yes. Tickets, merchandise, concessions, parking, sponsors, naming rights, television contract, etc. A team like the Thunder can try to bring in more money, but it will always be at a disadvantage because a Hertz sponsorship in OKC goes for much less than one in Miami, Chicago or L.A.
Guest 11:49 a.m. Why is harry man such a douche to you?
Darnell Mayberry 11:50 a.m. I don't see it that way. He's been a regular for years. That's just his schtick. We enjoy him.
Shawn 11:50 a.m. Can we just admit that Brooks is a great coach? Maybe as good as it gets in terms of player development.
Darnell Mayberry 11:50 a.m. Agree.
Andrew 11:50 a.m. If you and Perk played a game of one on one to 11. What's the final score?
Darnell Mayberry 11:50 a.m. A lot to a little.
Darnell Mayberry 11:50 a.m. Thanks for joining us today. See you next week.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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