After another fantastic week of Thunder basketball, the team has amassed a 11 game win streak. It’s nothing remarkable in the scope of the NBA, with 10+ game win streaks happening virtually every year. But it’s easy for the mind of the passionate fan to race. What if the Thunder could win 34 straight games and beat one of the NBA’s longest-standing records?
In order to find out, it’s best to go straight to the source. The 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 straight games. Before the streak, the Lakers weren’t a particularly heralded team. They were full of household names that you might know, like Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich. But despite their talents, they were the Buffalo Bills of the NBA. Throughout the 60s, they got continually beaten in the NBA Finals by Bill Russell’s Celtics, and hadn’t won a championship since the franchise was in Minneapolis.
Going into the 71-72 season, it looked like the Lakers were about to let their dynasty fall. The year prior saw injuries to both Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, leading to a first round playoff loss. Most of their stars were old, and no new players had come on to the scene.
But something was different this year. The Lakers got a new head coach in Bill Sharman, who had previously been a part of the Celtics teams that continually whipped Laker tail. He brought in a new philosophy to Los Angeles, using the up-tempo offense he had learned in Boston. You see, basketball was a very different game back then. There was no three-point line, and the general philosophy was that the center touched the ball at least once before the team ever took a shot. The 24-second shot clock had just been invented, and most teams thought that they should use all the time they could in order to get a good look, rather than taking the first opportunity that came up. In other words, imagine if the Thunder made sure Kendrick Perkins got the ball in the post during every possession, and Russell Westbrook slowed down fast breaks so he could set up the offense.
Last night, while watching the Thunder stumble their way to a sloppy victory over the Hornets, I grabbed my phone to see what people were saying on Twitter. Of course, the first thing I saw was this terrible tweet from Jenni Carlson:
Remember, #Thunder fans, this same Hornets team lost last night to the Wizards. The Wizards!
— Jenni Carlson (@JenniCarlson_OK) December 13, 2012
Yes, the Hornets lost to the Wizards. The Wizards! Know what other team has lost to the Wizards? The Miami Heat. Yes, the Heat! Maybe this is a newsflash to Jenni, but NBA teams have professional athletes and play 82 games, therefore random upsets and trailing a bad squad early in the first quarter of a game isn’t all that unusual. That’s why the tweet was stupid. She made it seem like a big deal and that Thunder fans should worry and panic. Naturally, she followed the Tweet with this:
#Thunder showing a little spark. Down 36-32 with 2:35 left in the first half.
— Jenni Carlson (@JenniCarlson_OK) December 13, 2012
Once again, that’s why her original tweet was so stupid. The Hornets did lose to the Wizards. They’re a bad team and bad teams tend to blow leads and lose winnable games. That’s why Thunder fans didn’t care they were losing to a team that lost to the Wizards.
So I replied to her tweet with this:
Last night the Thunder played a crazily close game with the Hornets. Reggie Jackson and Eric Maynor basically saved the day, and some undrafted rookie out of Dayton decided to drop 16 points. If the Hornets weren’t the second-worst team in the NBA, it would have been called an instant classic.
Speaking of classics, with the Thunder having been in existence for 5 years, they’ve had a good amount of time to create some classic commercials, both on national and local TV. Who doesn’t like watching abnormally tall muscular dudes awkwardly try to sell you something?
So I thought I’d take us down another beaten path today and discuss some of the best commercials featuring Thunder players ever to hit the airwaves. To keep the list clean, each advertiser gets only one commercial.
You can see the latest commercial above, in which Kendrick Perkins is totally not reading a pre-prepared script. I like how he says we should “inbound” to Mitchener Ferrand, when, in fact, he almost never inbounds the ball. HA! Basketball jokes!
Without further ado, here’s the list!
#7: Basketball Never Stops
This one might not be to everyone’s taste, but it holds a special place in my heart for two reasons. For one, it features actual Oklahoma City locales in a national TV spot, finally proving that our city has actual buildings, gas stations, and basketball courts. For two, I was living in Austria during the lockout and it made me really homesick and nostalgic. Still, it serves as an excellent reminder that basketball can go on anytime, anywhere, and with anyone.
(New Contributor Alert: For the rest of the season, Zorgon — yes, that’s what he wants to be called — is going to write some random Thunder columns for us. For fun, I think I may change his name to Zorgon James. Or maybe Zorgon Matthews. Anyway, Zorgan currently writes about the team over at Welcome to Loud City. Here’s his first column for us.)
You might have heard that Russell Westbrook, fashion expert extraordinaire, recently signed on with Jordan Brand. Basically, that means that he now has free license to wear the most absurd shoes he can find. Luckily for us, Westbrook did not disappoint.
Yes, in the game against the Brooklyn Nets last night, Russell Westbrook wore a pair of those….uh….boots? It’s like a permanent representation of what would happen if you decided to put your sweat pants on backwards over your shoes. On top of that, the material looks incredibly cheap for a shoe that clocks in at $250.
Still, you can’t deny that these shoes are 100% Russ. They’re no more absurd than the red fashion glasses or fishing lure shirts that he chooses to wear. The shoes are also kind of representative of Russell on the court. When the shoes are zipped up, it represents a passive Westbrook, one willing to dish the ball, support his teammates, and focus on defense. But when you unleash the lime green innards of this shoe, then you reveal Westbrook’s true nature. He’s a 100 mile an hour freight train with tank treads, and there’s nothing you can do to stop him. (Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.)
These shoes might be weird, but they’re still a drop in the bucket of a long line of crazy Thunder kicks. It’s more like “Kevin Durant kicks” since he’s the only other player notable enough to cop his own shoe, but still. Here’s the top 5 wackiest designs Durant has worn over the past few years.
5. The KDIII “Fan Design”
Kevin Durant wore these shoes….while playing against the Lakers. ‘Nuff said.
Earlier today, Wayne Coyne posted the following picture on Instagram of him and Nick Collison getting drunk at The Other Room. In the photo, he claims they just did six shots each.
Here’s the pic:
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