Hi, and welcome to another installment of The Ball Doesn't Stop Here, house organ for Relentless Optimism and/or Pessimism, depending on how I feel at the moment. After the game last night, the Thunder might be feeling the same. "We gave up 73 in the first half? Some defense." "We held them to 19 in the second? Some defense."
And we think the Dubs are volatile, eh?
The point: Reggie Jackson is good, kids. He's not Russell Westbrook, but he's doing an fine job for Scott Brooks. Jackson, like Jordan Crawford, has been starting in place of an injured all-Star and performing credibly. Tonight we may see them against each other at times, although Crawford may get matched on Derek Fisher when possible. Stephen Curry has been in a bit of a slump, but then again his "slumps" are well above average play. Edge to the Warriors
On the wing: Thabo Sefolosha is still an excellent 3-and-D guy. Lately, though, Jeremy Lamb has been taking minutes from him, and doing it productively. And then there is Kevin Durant, who this year has a clear lead on LeBron for MVP. Kevin is having a great year, and his offensive prowess is still increasing. Hold him to the low 20's and the Dubs have a chance - fortunately, Golden State has Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green. It's still an edge for OKC, because Durant.
Up Front: Steven Adams and Kendrick Perkins; Serge Ibaka, Perry Jones, and Nick Collison. While Perk is a perennial "why is he still in the league?" guy, he's still a pretty fair defender against offensive-minded centers. Steven Adams has been showing a lot of attitude (and elbows) lately. Both of them got chippy with Dwight last night - I can almost bet that Andrew Bogut will have "words" (for some physical value of "words") with one or both of them tonight. David Lee is still rolling along, and has lately even shown to the 3-point line defensively (and sometimes effectively). This is the first year since he's been here I've noticed him doing things on defense other than a matador wave. Speights will be Speights - and Draymond Green will be Draymond. Let's hope the "words" don't turn into a full-blown "discussion"
Overall: Two of the top-three defensive teams go after each other tonight. After the bizarre game against Houston last night, it's hard to say how the Thunder will respond. And it's hard to say how this Warrior team will come out. OKC is 5-5 in their last 10, and the Dubs are 8-2. It's a battle of Bestern Conference heavyweights, a set of great matchups, and too close for me to call.
Curry and Klay find their shots
Over/Under on technical fouls - 2
Derek Fisher tries the Discount Double Flop with Jackson. The refs laugh.
Which playoff round will see the Thunder meet the Warriors?
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