You can get a lot of my thoughts from the quarter-by-quarter updates I added to the game thread post. With a game in Utah tomorrow night, I won't be writing a super-detailed recap of this one. Not sure what I would write if I wanted to go detailed. It's like this - I'm trying to think of questions to ask Kim Hughes in the post game press conference, and there's nothing to ask. "Hey coach, why did the team shoot 37%? Hey coach, were they trying to make shots?" You can't win when you shoot 37%. You can't win when your staring backcourt is 5 for 22. That's it. That's the end of the story.
It's especially disappointing coming from Eric Gordon of course. He had unbelievable success against the Thunder last season, so to come out and have one of the worst games of his career is disappointing and surprising. Kim Hughes said in his post game comments that he thinks EJ has a sore leg - that he could see him favoring it, and that he was struggling with his shot and on defense because of it. I guess that's good news if it explains his extremely sub-par performance - but it's bad news if it keeps him out of the Utah game. The coach did not know how or when the injury might have occurred.
The Thunder remind me a little of the Nuggets on defense (when the Nuggets are good). They are very active and aggressive - reaching in, getting their hands on a ton of balls. They had 13 steals and 11 blocks tonight, and who knows how many more deflections. It's frustrating when a team does that much reaching, and yet gets called for six fewer fouls. But it doesn't mean it's wrong.
Hughes had an interesting take on that subject, at least as concerns the bigs. To set the stage a little, Chris Kaman came out of the game directly after a Restbwook steal on a double team, where Chris clearly felt he had been fouled. Hughes' point is this - bigs shouldn't dribble in traffic. If you do, and you get slapped by a point guard, you're probably not going to get the call, because refs have a sense of how the game is supposed to played also, and they don't think bigs should be dribbling in traffic. And Hughes doesn't want them to get that call, because he doesn't want them to dribble in traffic.
It's interesting - you certainly don't see Hughes working the refs they way MDsr did. Which is great - unless it isn't. Who knows if that working over you give a ref in the first half pays off in the second. Maybe they're inclined to help you out, or maybe they just go out of their way to stick it to you even more.
As for Kevin Durant, what can you say? The guy is a preternatural scorer. I honestly don't know how you stop a guy that big, that quick, that skilled, who shoots that well. And clearly the answer is, you don't stop him. Let's be clear - he's on the cusp of leading the league in scoring, at the age of 21, playing on a defensive-minded team. How many points would this guy average playing for Don Nelson? For Mike D'Antoni? And how many is he going to score when he's 25?