I am. I thought they would miss Harden more, and who knows, they might if they get to the (NBA) Finals and they don't have his ability to break down the defense. Maybe at that stage you look back and say, ‘Boy, we miss James.' It's remarkable how well they adapted without him and how well Kevin has played and how smoothly he has fit in to what he's doing.
Is there more pressure on the Thunder this season?
That's the curse of being where the Thunder is now. They've been on the rise. It's been this great ride and every successful step forward is so fun to watch, but now the only thing is to win the title. If you don't win it, you feel like a failure. It's a horrible thought, but that's really true. It's hard to get away from it. That's the next step for them.
What's your impression of the amazing offensive streak LeBron James is on?
It's probably his best run ever in terms of offensive efficiency. He has just gotten streamlined with his game. He is as smart as he is athletic. He has always been a smart player, but now he's almost like a genius player. If you think back four years ago, he used to bail the defense out with a lot of long-range threes. He didn't always make the best decisions offensively. Now he seems to make great decisions on every play.
Who would you pick as league MVP at this point?
I would still take LeBron because of his work at both end of the floor. LeBron is 1-A and Kevin (Durant) is 1-B. I think Kevin is going to win because the history of this award is the voters seem to get a sentimental pick and they like to take the new guy. Even though I think LeBron is the best player and deserves it, I think Kevin is going to be the popular pick and I think he's going to win it.
How is this Heat team different from the one in last year's Finals?
Well, it's basically the same team except that they haven't played Joel Anthony as much. So I think they are better offensively and worse defensively. They are a little bit more vulnerable on the glass. They have really made a commitment to playing LeBron at the four and playing small and spreading the court and making it really difficult on you with your defensive coverage. All those 3-point shooters and LeBron having all that floor to attack. As a result of going smaller for longer stretches, there are times were they can be vulnerable on the glass, and teams like Indiana and Utah have been able to expose that and really pound them inside.
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