Russell Westbrook for MVP

512px-Russell_WestbrookThe Oklahoma City Thunder marketing office called our church a couple of months ago, saying they were offering special deals for church groups.  So we got some folks together and got tickets to last Tuesday’s game.  They were playing the Milwaukee Bucks, the only other NBA team that I’ve seen in person.  The Thunder game began with a local pastor giving a Christian invocation–how common is that in professional sports?  (tell me if you know)–and after lots of opening razzle dazzle, the game settled in.  The Thunder won 110 to 79.  A good time was had by all.

We got to witness Thunder star Russell Westbrook tie the record for triple doubles (double figures in points scored, rebounds, and assists [passing the ball that leads to a basket]).  We can tell our grandchildren that we were there when Westbrook ties Oscar Robertson’s record of 41 triple doubles set back in 1962.  Actually, it will be easy for me to tell my grandchildren, since a number of them were with us and witnessed it too.  The next game Westbrook didn’t make a triple double, but he made enough rebounds so that his average performance for the year was a triple double.  And Sunday, Westbrook set the record after leading his team to a comeback win over Denver, which was leading 10 points in the last two minutes.  Westbrook scored 50 points.

The entire state of Oklahoma is Thunder crazy.  Kevin Durant was everyone’s hero until he signed with the hated Golden State Warriors.  But Westbrook stayed with the team!  One fan started a petition to change the name of Durant, Oklahoma, a small town that had that name long before the Thunder was even thought of.  The petitioners wanted to change the name of Durant to Westbrook, which is actually a good name for a town.  So, of course, all Oklahomans think Westbrook should win the league’s MVP award.

But how could he not win it?  Not only has he made history with his triple doubles.  He leads the league in points scored!  And yet some pundits and fans are championing former-Thunder James Harden of the Houston Rockets.  After the jump, I will make the case why Westbrook is the NBA’s most valuable player. [Read more…]

The Thunder rolls. . .

Now that I live in Oklahoma, I can’t help but get pulled into the vortex of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The NBA this season has been dominated by two teams for the ages, with astonishing records, hailed by many as among the best teams ever:  The San Antonio Spurs and (above all) the Golden State Warriors.

In the Western division playoffs, the Thunder first eliminated the Spurs and now has taken a 3-1 lead against the Warriors.  Winning one more game in the best-of-seven series will put them in the championship series, against either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Toronto Raptors.

These wins, every one an upset–and the last two blowouts–have been fun to watch, to make a huge understatement.  This has really united the state, as everyone–despite race, color, creed, social position, or politics–is insane over the Thunder.   [Read more…]

The NBA game of the year?

If you are playing football, say, and the opposing team has Superman as a player, it is going to be difficult and probably impossible to win.  The Golden State Warriors have a player, Steph Curry, with a super power.  He can sink three-point shots from virtually any place on the court, far beyond the three-point line.

In one of the best basketball games I’ve ever seen, in what some are calling the NBA game of the year, the Oklahoma City Thunder played Golden State (which has only lost 5 games all season) and actually led for most of the game.  It would have won, if a foul in the last .7 second didn’t result in two free throws that let the Warriors tie the game and sent it into overtime.

But Curry kept launching those three-point shots, bringing the Warriors back into the game again and again, tying the NBA record with 12 three-pointers.  And in the very last moments, Curry shot from what looked like 6 feet back from the three-point line.  It went in smoothly, and the Warriors won the game 121-118.

But I was proud of the Thunder, who gave the Warriors their toughest game all season, even if they did have someone with super powers on their team. [Read more…]

On the NBA championship

For the first time, I actually followed the NBA this season.  That was due to my Oklahoma nationalism–that being where I grew up–and getting hooked on the Oklahoma City Thunder, with MVP Kevin Durant and company.

I had always thought the playoffs, which involve a best-of-seven series on every level with days between games, lasted forever.  But now that I had a horse in this race, I found myself drawn in, as the Thunder advanced two levels–each filled with drama, soap-opera intrigue, and thrilling games–until they were beaten by the San Antonio Spurs.  That team just won the championship by decisively beating Lebron James and his superstar team the Miami Heat.  Watching the Thunder play the Spurs for so many games made me appreciate them, and I’m glad they won. [Read more…]

Predict the Final Four

It’s time to pay attention to college basketball now that the teams have been announced for the NCAA basketball tournament. [Read more…]

A Heat wave stifles Oklahoma City Thunder

Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder made it to the NBA championship series but got beat 4 games to 1 by the Miami Heat.  But I refuse to take the blame.  I’ve been enjoying watching basketball again, and I think I’ll continue to do so.