SILENCE THE THUNDER!
Game Time Start: 7:00 PM ET
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Officials: K. Mauer, N. Buchert, D. Guthrie
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Oklahoma Notes
Television: FOX Sports Indiana / FOX Sports Oklahoma / SNET 1 (Canada)
Radio: WFNI 1070 AM / WWLS 98.1 FM
NBA Feeds:*NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
*NBA League Pass Broadband (subscription req'd)
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Season Records: (W-L) 10-10 Away: 5-7
16-4 Home: 10-2
Upcoming Games: Dec 09 Dec 12 Dec 14 Dec 15 at vs vs at 8:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm 7:00pm
Projected Starting Lineup: HIBBERT WEST GEORGE STEPHENSON HILL Projected Starting Lineup: PERKINS IBAKA DURANT SEFOLOSHA WESTBROOK
Danny Granger - left knee tendinosis (out)
Perry Jones - left ankle sprain (day-to-day)
Perpetually Disappointing to Trader Joe Minimally Relevant Video:
Eight Points, Nine Seconds Review: Jared Wade: Breaking Down a Broke-Down Offense
This week, the Pacers have edged out a win in Chicago and out-classed Portland at
home to bring their record on the season above .500 for the first time since
November 3. Given how depressing this team looked over its first 10 games of the
year, that is actually a big step forward. But for a franchise that entered the season
expecting to have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, this
season has still been a disappointment.
I always tell everyone that November in the NBA is glorified preseason. New players
are still meshing with the old guard, guys are recovering from injury, some players
need to get into game shape, and the collective rust of the offseason must be shed.
Still, with 19 games of evidence, it’s officially fair to say it: the Pacers’ offense is
Everyone I talk to asks me why. Why can’t a team with four capable scorers in its
starting lineup put any points on the board? How is that a team whose starting
unit(s) produced some of the best numbers in the league last year (especially in
the playoffs) get so, so, so very bad just by losing Danny Granger, who hasn’t
made an All-Star team since 2009?
The short answer is: I don’t know. The longer answer is: I can identify some of
We’ll get to those soon.
First, just take a look at their game log so far this season in terms of the Four
Factors. Cumulatively, the Pacers have put together the second-to-worst offense
in the league this season (in front of only the Wizards). Somehow, it looks even
worse if you break it down by game. They have finished only 4 games out of 19
that with an above-league-average offense.
The only reason they have 10 wins is because they have the league’s second best
defense (and best in eFG% against). And more than that, the only way they have
been able to eek out, let’s say, four of these wins is because excellent play down
the stretch by...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Welcome to Loud City: JA Sherman: Durant and Westbrook are passing the test
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook continue to evolve as playmakers.
The Thunder offense has a new look this year. Forced to abandon the iso-heavy
offense that carried the day a year ago, the Thunder have made great strides in
executing actual offensive sets with intelligent playmaking, and the transition is
beginning to take hold on a regular basis. The Thunder have run off five
consecutive wins (3 against potential playoff teams) by an average winning
margin of 22 points. What has made these wins satisfying is that in a way, the
Thunder are still learning to play consistent offensive basketball, but because of
the way they are learning to play, their offensive talent is better leveraged even
when they play a good defensive team like the 76ers. The result is that the
Thunder offense is improving and better yet, the team passing is one the rise.
OKC is now 7th in the league at 22.7 assists per game, whereas in the past they
had been almost always dead last.
There were two passing plays in particular in the Thunder's win over the Hornets
that I felt were indicative of this positive growth. In fact, these plays are
becoming a regularity so I feel that it is important to point them out now
specifically because if you are coming late to the Thunder party, you might not
know that these plays rarely worked in the past. Basic sets like pick-and-rolls
would get rushed, fast break opportunities would get wasted, and we were left
wondering what would happen when the young Thunder would fix these
fundamental issues. Our patience is being rewarded now.
1. Dragging the Net
In this first pass, Kevin Durant collects the rebound and brings the ball up the
court himself, much like LeBron James might do. It is not a fast break opportunity,
as the Hornets are all in good defensive position. What Durant does once he gets
to the 3-point line is an extremely subtle but noticeable playmaking read; he does
what I like to call 'dragging the net.' Here is the video sequence, first
uninterrupted and then with some annotation.
Even though Durant can see that the Hornets are back in time, he also sees that
there is nobody protecting the rim. If he can break down one defender, an easy
In the past, (and probably still in the future), Durant would drive hard at the rim
himself. In this case, he eyes an opportunity to break down both his own man as
well as his teammate Thabo Sefolosha's man, Greivis Vasquez. After a nifty move
to elude Al-Farouq Aminu, Durant sets his sites on Vasquez and engages with this
second Hornets defender. By dragging his fishing net across the Hornets' perimeter
defense, Durant has occupied 2 different players who are chasing him horizontally,
thereby freeing up Sefolosha to cut straight to the rim. Durant's playmaking
created the space and Sefolosha read the play by cutting as soon as Durant made
The biggest key...CONTINUE READING AT WELCOME TO LOUD CITY
The Classical: Danny Chau: Why We Watch - Perry Jones III, The Next
Perry Jones III is an uncommon talent. Everything else about him is unfinished.
What better reason to watch could there be?
For most my life I thought I would be able to escape the trappings of a life built
around superstition. My father is the most logical man I know; my older brother
falls in the same quadrant. But my mother could not be more attuned to signs and
coincidences, to fate and faith. I am the last link in the chain, so I figured it’d only
be a matter of time before I confirmed my own suspicion that a servitude to mystic
semiotics is an inheritable trait. I always was a momma’s boy.
My tentative relationship with the supernatural reached a weird zenith, quite
logically if also a little weirdly, during the 2012 NBA Draft. Perry Jones III was
freefalling down the draft board, as all the reporters and draftologists had
predicted. Apparently his reticence on the court during his two years at Baylor—
a dazzling moment or stretch of moments; longer stretches of self-conscious
invisibility—had induced a parallel reticence in NBA executives. Or maybe it was
the word around the league, amorphous but all the more menacing for it, that
Jones wouldn’t last five years because of some previously undisclosed knee issue.
Here was a ticking time bomb, a player whose hindrances cast a long shadow
over his potential as a transcendent NBA player. Teams just didn’t want to take
They didn’t want to take the risk 10 years ago, either.
Qyntel Woods was a top-five lottery talent in 2002. Everyone agreed. He was the
first “next Tracy McGrady”, which makes sense, considering that McGrady was
already 22 when Qyntel declared for the draft. Surely the next McGrady couldn’t
have arrived any sooner. It’s hard to embrace the next when we were just getting
settled in with the original of the species. But Woods’ stock took a significant dip by
draft night. Maybe it was his attitude. Maybe it was the junior college stigma at the
time, with JuCo trailblazers like Kedrick Brown ruining it for everyone thereafter.
Whatever the case, he fell to the 21st pick, and the Portland Trail Blazers.
And so a decade later, watching Perry Jones III’s descent, I felt an alien rush of
revelation. I had become a messenger of a 10-year prophecy. Jones was to be
picked 21st; he would begin the cycle anew as a tale of redemption, only this time
with a more fortunate timeline. He would be the redeemer of Woods’ ill-fated
career, a decade on, a world different.
Fixating on imaginary career narratives...CONTINUE READING AT THE CLASSICAL