If the Thunder win a game and no one was there to see it, did it really happen?
That’s the question the team answered on Saturday of this past week. While everyone in this state was watching a football game, the Thunder played the Memphis Grizzlies in Tennessee. Everyone in Memphis apparently had something better to do, because only 11,000 supposedly showed up to watch. Based on eye-witness accounts, that number had to be fudged.
The good news? The answer to the question above is yes. According to the official NBA standings, the Thunder’s record stood at 2-15 after a 111-103 final score. The even better news is that the team has to start over if it wants to eclipse the record for consecutive loses. While the Thunder’s streak ended at fourteen straight defeats, the record will remain with the Grizzlies who once lost twenty-three in a row back when the team was still in Vancouver.
The bad news?
Statistic of the Week: .125
Coming into this season, the worst team to ever play in the National Basketball Association was the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers who finished the season at 9-73. In order to avoid having the worst single season winning percentage in NBA history, this week’s Statistic of the Week is the clip the team will have to win at over their remaining sixty-four games.
As of today, in which the Thunder lost to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, the team has a .111 winning percentage. Before the win against Memphis, they had won .066.
Goat of the Week: Johan Petro
The improved play, meaning not embarrassingly lopsided loses, coincided with two things. One was the jettisoning of P.J. Carlesimo and subsequent hiring of Scott Brooks. The second was the shrinking of the player rotation. Two players that were receiving serious minutes prior to the regime change, Johan Petro and Robert Swift, now see themselves in the boxscores as a “DNP”. Swift at least has the excuse of a sore back. Petro, however, is perfectly healthy.
It has to hurt when the team performs better when you are not involved, but it’s about time the Thunder managment, including the coaching staff, realized that the three headed monster of seven-foot draft busts is a sunk cost that needs to be written off. Swift (drafted 13th overall in 2004), Petro (late first rounder in 2005) and Mohammed Saer Sene (10th in 2006) have been and will likely always be worthless. Which brings me to….
This Week’s Reason to Love the Thunder Even Though the Product on the Floor is Awful: Small ball
Another great decision on Scott Brooks’ part was moving Jeff Green from small forward to power forward and moving second string power forward Chris Wilcox to the starting center position. This style of play is more in line with where, I believe, the NBA is going to continue to encourage teams to play. With a more athletic, quicker players like Jeff Green at power forward it encourages faster paced play and creates a more exciting game to watch.
Green, also, could become a star at the power forward position. Like Shawn Marion when he was in Phoenix or David West for New Orleans, Green is a match up problem for most opposing four-men. He can run the floor better than the traditional PF and has shown some range out to the three point line. Given some time to learn the position, he should become a formidable defender.
It gives us something to look forward to…unless the team makes a splash and hires Avery Johnson who will probably demand the team play a traditional style without the talent to play a traditional style.
Quote of the Week: Kevin Durant
On the mood in the locker room after the team won for the second time in seventeen tries:
Everybody came into the locker room, and we were all smiles.
This Week’s Silver Lining: Saturday’s Road Game
The Thunder have a game against the Miami Heat on Saturday. Normally, it would be exciting to see Dwyane Wade, super-rookie Michael Beasley, and Shawn Marion coming to town, but for once it’s a better deal that this game will be else where. With the game scheduled during the Big XII Championship, the Ford Center was going to be empty with or without a game. So, it’s better there not be one.
But you should probably flip to the Thunder game during commercials.
On a side note: I’d like to wish my little sister a happy birthday.