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Russell Westbrook

  1. What the Thunder should do when the lockout ends

    Sep 14, 2011, 4:05 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six

    Oklahoma City is out latest stop on our “what your team needs to do when the lockout ends” tour. To see the teams already covered (we’re working our way through the Western Conference right now) click here. Last season in Oklahoma City: We saw growth. The young Thunder team took the steps forward we all expected…

  2. Success and failure through the lens of Russell Westbrook

    Aug 8, 2011, 8:08 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Two

    Russell Westbrook isn’t the most hated player in the NBA, nor is he the most criticized. Yet the baffling misreads of Westbrook’s game — which paint him as either incompetent of villainous — have persisted into the offseason, so much so that his name alone was somehow deemed a suitable taunt for Kevin Durant. It’s…

  3. Westbrook not fazed by criticism

    Jul 21, 2011, 5:04 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five

    Russel Westbrook was an impure point guard — shoot first, pass second. Which doesn’t fly when the you have two-time league scoring champion Kevin Durant on your team. You want to get him the rock. That was the conventional wisdom after the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs. Conventional wisdom is there for a reason.…

  4. Would a hard cap really be good for small markets?

    Jul 4, 2011, 4:55 PM EST

    Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Four

    When we talk about a hard cap, we wonder how the Lakers at $90.4 million, or the Magic at $89.9 million, or the Mavericks at $86.6 million would get under those numbers. (For all of you out there that thought Dallas winning the title was a triumph of building a team over buying one, know…

  5. NBA lockout tour of China being considered by agency

    Jun 29, 2011, 3:00 PM EST

    Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four

    NBA players are looking to do things during the lockout other than workout and improve their Halo 3 skills. Well, some of them are, some just want to get better at Halo. Which leads to this interesting note out of the Sports Business Journal (via SLAM): Armed with its star-studded NBA client list, Wasserman Media…

  6. Thunder want Kendrick Perkins to get healthy this summer

    May 31, 2011, 10:06 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets - Game Four

    Some people in Oklahoma City blamed Kendrick Perkins for the fall of the Thunder in the conference finals to Dallas. Those people are wrong. Perkins was not causing Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to miss shots at the end of games. Jeff Green would not have saved them (people continue to overvalue him). Perkins was…

  7. Kevin Durant looks to bulk up for next season

    May 29, 2011, 11:33 PM EST

    kevin-durant-game-2

    Kevin Durant is the NBA’s leading scorer two years running, but the playoffs have shown there are some things he could work on. For one, he told the Boston Globe, he wants to add a little muscle. “I could get stronger and go from there,’’ he said. “I realize I’m not going to be 250…

  8. Thunder need to be patient, let Westbrook grow into PG they need

    May 26, 2011, 4:02 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Five

    People’s impatience is amazing. The Oklahoma City Thunder just went to the Western Conference Finals with a team that had none of its core players over age 22. They are athletic, they played with passion, and while they struggled under the weight of the moment and Mavericks, that is how teams learn to win. Does…

  9. NBA Playoffs: Fittingly Mavericks’ execution sends them to finals

    May 26, 2011, 12:56 AM EST

    Mavericks' players celebrate against the Thunder during Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Final basketball playoff in Dallas

    It was fitting. Maybe it was the only way it could be, with Dallas coming from behind again. Game 5 was a microcosm of the four before it in the Western Conference finals. Oklahoma City came out and played with energy and passion. Their amazing athleticism caused problems for Dallas, but the Mavericks countered with…

  10. NBA Playoffs: Thunder have fight in them, is that enough?

    May 25, 2011, 5:06 PM EST

    Mavericks' Nowitzki celebrates near Thunder's Westbrook during NBA Western Conference Final playoff in Oklahoma City

    Do not question the toughness of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Don’t question their heart. No doubt the collapse at the end of Game 4 Monday was ugly, but it was not about toughness. You don’t reach the Western Conference Finals with all your key players 22 or younger without being tough. Without heart. You can…

  11. NBA Playoffs: Thunder learning lessons. The hard way.

    May 24, 2011, 3:53 AM EST

    Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Four

    These are hard, painful lessons for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are the hard, painful lessons virtually every championship team has had to learn. Michael Jordan and his Bulls were knocked out three straight years by the Detroit Pistons, teaching him hard lessons. It’s true of champions since. Even the two-time, soon-to-be-dethroned Lakers had to…

  12. NBA Playoffs: Nowitzki closes out Durant, Thunder in Game 4

    May 24, 2011, 3:37 AM EST

    Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Four

    Shortly after Kevin Durant entered the NBA, he was given the label of the NBA’s Next Great Closer. Everything about him suggests that he should be able to close teams out. He has a quiet confidence about him, is never afraid to shoot the ball, and never seems to break a sweat as he coldly…

  13. NBA Playoffs: Incredible comeback has Dallas one game from the NBA Finals

    May 24, 2011, 1:38 AM EST

    dirk-game-4

    The Thunder had this. They did just about everything they had to do from the opening tip to secure a series-evening victory against Dallas in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. OKC jumped out to a fast start, got a superstar-level performance from its best player, and played active team defense for the vast…

  14. NBA Playoffs: Efficient Westbrook, Thunder need to show up

    May 23, 2011, 4:10 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six

    Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are putting up numbers against the Dallas Mavericks: Durant is averaging 29.3 point per game (up from his league-leading 27.7 during the regular season), while Westbrook is at 22.7 per game. But they are not efficient about it. Durant is shooting 44 percent and is 2-of-18 from three. Westbrook is…

  15. NBA Playoffs: Mavericks defense looks good thanks to Thunder offense

    May 22, 2011, 1:41 AM EST

    Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three

    “Tonight we played championship-level defense for the first time in the series,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after the game in an interview broadcast on NBA TV. Maybe. But the Oklahoma City Thunder really helped them out with that — it’s a lot easier to cover a guy who is standing still. And the Thunder…

  16. NBA Playoffs: Slow start dooms Thunder as Mavericks roll in Game 3

    May 22, 2011, 1:04 AM EST

    dirk-game-3

    After stealing home-court advantage from the Mavericks with a win in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, one would think the Thunder would have come out firing once the series shifted to Oklahoma City, ensuring that the victory they worked so hard to get on the road wouldn’t be immediately wasted. But it was…

  17. Tyson Chandler: Mavs took Thunder ‘lightly’

    May 21, 2011, 3:16 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Two

    You would think that if you were to face a team with the NBA’s scoring champ the past two seasons, you’d recognize that they are a threat. You’d think that if you were facing a team with a diverse set of skill players with energy and youth, you’d understand that they have something going for…

  18. Russell Westbrook freaked out over a blown play

    May 21, 2011, 1:18 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Two

    The popular storyline coming out of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals was the benching of Russell Westbrook and his perceived frustration on the bench, despite his obvious celebrations of the team’s success in winning the game down the stretch. ESPN has the scoop on what exactly happened that made Westbrook so upset during…

  19. NBA Playoffs Thunder vs. Mavericks Game 3: Anyone’s Series

    May 21, 2011, 11:00 AM EST

    Mavericks forward Nowitzki shoots a fade-away jump shot in the second half against Oklahoma during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Final basketball playoff in Dallas

    What has made the Western Conference Finals so compelling, especially when compared to years past is the simple fact: we don’t know who’s going to win. In years prior, we flirted with the idea that San Antonio, Denver, or, sure, maybe Phoenix could knock off L.A. but in our heart of hearts we knew it…

  20. NBA Playoffs: Westbrook sits, maturity level now tested

    May 20, 2011, 1:28 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks - Game Two

    Russell Westbrook was emotional, he was hot when taken out in the third quarter. The plays that the Thunder were supposed to be running nobody was executing so he was left solo, and that led to some ugliness. He was yelling and we’re guessing they were words on George Carlin’s list. He was hot enough…

  21. NBA Playoffs: Can anyone slow Nowitzki, Durant?

    May 19, 2011, 3:08 PM EST

    Mavericks forward Nowitzki shoots a fade-away jump shot in the second half against Oklahoma during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Final basketball playoff in Dallas

    One player does not win a basketball game. But if Dallas or Oklahoma City can figure out a way to slow the other’s star player in this series — starting with Game 2 Thursday night — they will have a huge leg up. Because in Game 1 those two pretty much scored like Wilt in…

  22. Is Westbrook’s perceived ‘selfishness’ a result of Brooks?

    May 18, 2011, 3:28 PM EST

    Russell Westbrook

    Russell Westbrook has caught a lot of heat over the past couple weeks for his perceived “selfish” play, with many Twitter commenters suggesting the best defense against Kevin Durant is the fact he plays with Westbrook.  And while Tuesday’s 3-for-15 shooting performance isn’t going to help Westbrook’s cause, Durant’s struggles against Memphis, or the fact he took fewer shots than Westbrook…

  23. Western Conference Finals Preview: Mavericks vs. Thunder

    May 16, 2011, 3:21 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder's Durant hands the ball to Dallas Mavericks head coach Carlisle in the closing seconds of the second half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas

    SEASON RECORDS Mavericks: 57-25 (No. 3 seed in Western Conference) Thunder: 55-27 (No. 4 seed) SEASON SERIES Dallas won the regular season series 2-1, but the most recent of the games was Jan. 6 — back before the Kendrick Perkins trade, and when Caron Butler was healthy. Nowitzki didn’t play in the Thunder win. So…

  24. NBA Playoffs: Durant + Defense = Date with Dallas for Thunder

    May 15, 2011, 7:06 PM EST

    Memphis Grizzlies v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Seven

    No doubt, Kevin Durant was special Sunday. In the biggest game of his NBA career he remained undaunted through a slow start and hit 11 of his last 16 shots on his way to 39 points. He played smart, used back-door cuts to get easy baskets, and once he got rolling everything fell. But that’s…

  25. NBA Playoffs: Does Durant dominate Game 7 for Thunder?

    May 15, 2011, 10:53 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Six

    Kevin Durant has played on big stages before. Just this past summer he led Team USA to gold in the World Championships for example. But his first ever NBA Game 7 is maybe his biggest stage yet, and if the Thunder are going to advance they need more out of him. With Tony Allen and…

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