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Monday , Sep , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant and Team USA win FIBA World Championship -without LeBron, D-Wade, or Melo

Kevin Durant scored 28 points to lead Team USA to an 81-64 victory over Turkey to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Istanbul.

It marked the American's first World Championship title since 1994. Durant set a record at the tournament for the most points scored by a U.S. player.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who needs LeBron? Who needs D-Wade? Who needs `Melo?

Not Team USA.

Mike Krzyzewski’s squad didn’t need the superstars from their gold medal winning team in Beijing –most of whom passed on the FIBA World Championship to rest and relax the summer away.

This version of Stars and Stripes had Kevin Durant, who scored at will. They also had a collectivist, team-first approach that would have made Mao, Che, and Stalin proud.

For their efforts, they also have a gold medal, beating the host Turkish side 81-64 to win America’s first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

Here’s where it gets interesting: will Coach ‘K’ take this squad to the 2012 Olympics or will he take the superstars who decided to skip the World Championship?

Either way, it’s a rather nice problem to have.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Durant sets record with 38 points, USA beats Lithuania in semi-finals laugher

Kevin Durant is unlike most of America's biggest basketball stars. He couldn't wait to wear the red, white and blue this summer.

Especially on Sept. 11.

With a special memorial message on his sneakers, Durant carried the United States into the gold-medal game at the world championship, scoring a U.S.-record 38 points Saturday in an 89-74 victory over Lithuania.

"I just wanted to remember everybody back in the States, everybody that was affected by 9/11," Durant said. "And to play on this day was a great honor and we just tried to do our best to play hard for our country and our families."

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Tuesday , Sep , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Can Durant and Thunder stop Kobe and Lakers from three-peating?

Coupled with the stiff resistance that the Thunder offered the Lakers last spring, the coming of age of both of these players bodes well for the immediate and long-range success of the Oklahoma City Thunder ... That leaves Dallas and Oklahoma City as the Lakers' only viable competition.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No doubt about it, the Oklahoma City Thunder is on the rise.

The upstart franchise pushed the world champion Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Western Conference Quarter-Finals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s best players, have represented USA well at the FIBA World Championships.   

So the student, the Thunder, is learning. However, they aren’t ready to challenge the master in 2011, the Lakers. After all, the purple and gold has improved, too.
 
For instance, Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol have spent this summer getting healthy; a leaner, meaner Ron Artest will have another year in the triple-post; and Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, and Theo Ratliff will bring consistency to the second-unit.

The Lakers are primed for a three-peat. In 2011, the Thunder won’t be ready to stop them.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Thursday , Sep , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Andre Iguodala: ‘Kevin Durant will be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer’

Kevin Durant, Team USA's scoring leader after three games, is coming off a season in which he led the NBA in scoring -- something Andre Iguodala believes we should get used to seeing. "Kevin Durant will be the NBA's all-time leading scorer when it's all said and done," Iguodala said emphatically. "He loves the game and has a knack for putting the ball in the basket." Through three NBA seasons Durant is 33 points shy of 6,000 for his career. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the league's all-time leader with 38,387 points. Karl Malone is second with 36,928 points, and Michael Jordan is third with 32,292.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: No doubt about it, Kevin Durant is a straight scorer. Like George Gervin and Bernard King.

While he’s on the verge of becoming, perhaps, the NBA’s best player, KD will be hard pressed to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer.

First, Kareem was able to preserve his body, in part, because he was a post. The Skyhook’s game was also methodical and efficient. As a perimeter player, Durant uses greater energy to get his numbers.

Second, Kareem’s slighter frame wasn’t an issue because old school players weren’t so muscular. Durant is especially skinny and long, which may become an issue in today's physical NBA.

Finally, Kareem had a superb pass-first point guard in Magic Johnson. ‘Mr. No Look’ and 'The Architect of Showtime’ hooked Kareem up with easy hoops. Durant doesn’t have this luxury because Russell Westbrook, a good table-setter, is still developing as a distributor.

Durant will have a Hall of Fame career, however, he’s unlikely to replace Abdul-Jabbar as the game’s all-time greatest scorer.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 

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Sunday , Aug , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Team USA remains undefeated after thrashing Slovenia

The United States beat Slovenia 99-77 for its second lopsided victory in two games and Lithuania also went 2-0, while Angola and China bounced back from opening-day losses to win their first games at the basketball World Championship on Sunday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s some surprise at how Team USA has fared in international play so far.

After all, Stars and Stripes’ biggest names –Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others- all said thanks, but no thanks to the FIBA World Championship.

However, this group of youngsters defend, play together, and work hard. They also have budding superstar Kevin Durant, who could soon emerge as the world’s premier player.

On Sunday morning, USA’s air-tight defense got them through a few rough moments, as they cruised to an easy victory over Slovenia. Durant had 22 points before sitting the entire fourth quarter.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

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Monday , Aug , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The evolution of Kevin Durant: young superstar’s block saves USA’s 86-85 win over Spain

HoopsVibe’s Very Call Quick Call: The great ones play defense.

Michael. Kobe. Tim Duncan. They all got stops, both individually and collectively.

On Sunday, we may have witnessed young Kevin Durant take another step towards greatness when he blocked Rudy Fernandez’s last second shot attempt to preserve Team USA’s 86-85 win over Spain.

After all, Durant is already a top-five player for the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder. And like the young Thunder, he took significant steps on defense in 2009-10.

If he continues to evolve on both ends of the floor, the lanky swing could soon be the NBA’s premier player.

Watch the highlights of Team USA’s 86-85 victory over Spain to win the Global Community Cup. And get at us with thoughts on Durant’s block and continued development into a great player. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Aug , 22 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Eddie House on Miami: ‘This is going to be Boston on steroids’

"I compare it to the year I went to Boston when the Big 3 got together in 2007," House said. "But this is going to be even bigger. This is going to be Boston on steroids."

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HoopsVibe's Very QUick Call: Eddie House, sharpshooter for hire, is in a unique position.

Three years ago, around this time, House signed a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics. His role was simple: hit jump-shots and punish opposing defenses for double-teaming superstars Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

Of course, the charismatic journeyman also witnessed the hoopla surrounding the green-and-white’s Big Three. Expectations were high; night-in, night-out, opponents got up for the Celtics.

House is right: the Miami Heat will face even greater pressure in 2010-11 than the Celtics of 2007-08. After all, South Beach pulled off the all-time free agent coup, re-signing superstar Dwyane Wade, while adding Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

Wade and James are two of the NBA’s top four players. Bosh is a perennial All-Star and legit’ 20-10 guy down low.

However, it’s not what they did, but how they did it. Resentment lingers at Miami’s Three Kings for how they handled free agency, especially James for turning ‘The Decision’ into a spectacle.

Now the Heat is public enemy number one. They’re controversial rock stars. Their every move will be chronicled. And many are hoping they fail.

So House’s steroid analogy works. This year should be awfully interesting.  

--Oly Sandor.
 
Got a call on this? Get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Jul , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant to lead undermanned Americans at World Championship

For the NBA's youngest scoring champion, Kevin Durant has displayed some kind of maturity. With Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest of the Beijing Olympic team taking the summer off, USA Basketball's roster is wide open for next month's world championships in Turkey. championships.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He will be the leader for USA Basketball at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

Three years into his NBA career, Kevin Durant has impressed. He has helped the Oklahoma City Thunder become the team to watch. He has become an elite player. And he has handled himself with class.

However, the global spotlight will be unlike anything he has ever faced.

The international game is different than the NBA. Other national teams have played together for years, establishing chemistry, while the Americans are making do with a summer training camp.

And stars and stripes are undermanned, with every player on the gold medal winning squad from China passing on Turkey. That's right: No Kobe, LeBron, 'D-Wade', 'Melo, Chris Bosh, or even twelfth man Carlos Boozer.

The entire Redeem Team is out. They all said thanks, but no thanks. 

Whether by default or not, Durant is The Man. He and his teammates will face a significant challenge.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.   

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Wednesday , Jul , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Durant signs extension with Thunder, shames Bosh, James, Stoudemire, and Wade with his class

Kevin Durant has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Thunder, according to his official Twitter page. The terms of the deal are unclear, but the Thunder`s star can`t sign the deal until Thursday when the NBA`s moratorium is lifted.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: There was no celebrity pitch. There was no rock star tour. There was no discussion of filming a documentary. And there were no demands for a superstar teammate.

Once again, the Oklahoma City Thunder and their superstar Kevin Durant hit exactly the right note, quietly agreeing to terms Wednesday on what will surely be a maximum extension.

While Durant broke the news on twitter, he was, as usual, gracious, honest, and appreciative.

Kevin Durant: Exstension for 5 more years wit the #thunder.... God Is Great, me and my family came a long way...I love yall man forreal, this a blessing!


How novel?

An NBA superstar actually acknowledging he’s blessed, and not treating the negotiating process like an opportunity to manipulate fans.

To be fair, the three-man was not an unrestricted free agent, so he had significantly less leverage than the big names in this year’s free agent class.

Still, at 21, Durant may be the youngest of the NBA’s elite; however, the maturity with which he handled the process is something the current crop of greats - like Chris Bosh – can learn from.

If the small market Thunder can keep his supporting cast together, they should be rewarded with playoff success.

Let’s hope so. Right now, Durant is hard not to cheer for.

--O.Sandor

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 

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Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Sam Presti leaving OKC for Portland?

Sam Presti, who yesterday celebrated a third anniversary as Sonic/Thunder GM, making him a rising free agent according to my records, claims he's perfectly happy in Oklahoma. However, a Northwest source claims he interviewed in Seattle (home of Portland owner Paul Allen) for the Blazers' job. Oh, that's right, the job's taken. Kevin Pritchard owns one year on his contract but he and everyone else (I do believe the Post had it months ago,) believe he'll be fired immediately after the draft.

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HoopsVibe's Quick Call: Where there's a little smoke, there's bound to be a ‘blazing’ fire, right?

Well, change will surely be burning through the Portland Trail Blazers' front office. Here's what we know:

1) GM Kevin Pritchard has been on the hot seat for months. He allegedly doesn't gel with longtime coach Nate McMillan. And there's a feeling he lacks the experience to turn the Blazers into a contender. 

2) Pritchard is heading into the final year of his deal. An extension does not seem to be forthcoming and owner Paul Allen probably doesn’t want a lame-duck executive.

3) As the New York Post is reporting, Pritchard’s dismissal is probably imminent.

4) Oklahoma City Thunder executive Sam Presti is highly sought after.

5) When asked if he had interest in the Blazers’ gig, the former San Antonio Spurs whiz kid shot down this rumor.  

6) Presti has assembled the NBA’s best young team in Oklahoma City, so it’s unlikely he’d bolt with Kevin Durant and company heading into their prime.

7) Allen, the man behind Microsoft, has far greater resources than Clay Bennett and the small market Thunder.

Conclusion: Allen is looking to stabilize Portland’s front office, especially with news of another scandal in his organization. He wants Presti. And he’s phoned friends around the league for information about the Thunder’s architect.

It seems Presti is content in Oklahoma City, though. He has full control of basketball operations. He clicks with owner Clay Bennett. And his organization is poised to benefit from him drafting wisely.

There is one wildcard: money. Allen has too much of it, while Bennett and his partners were hit by the economic downturn. Still, Presti - unless he receives a massive offer he can't refuse - isn’t heading anywhere.   

Is Presti leaving Oklahoma City for Portland? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.

How can any Western Conference squad defeat Kobe’s Lakers?
Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 J.N.

How can any Western Conference squad defeat Kobe’s Lakers?

This is an intriguing challenge because ever since the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol as a gift from long time former general manager Jerry West, the team is unbeatable. The squad can be beaten in one game because it’s just one game – mad random. In a seven game series, however, no team in the West can knock off the Purple and Gold. I just do not see this happening as long as Kobe Bryant is at his peak running the team. What does a team have to have to be able to defeat them?

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Thursday , Apr , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Sells More Jerseys than LeBron in ’09-’10

The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant once again tops the NBA’s list of most popular jerseys, where he has reigned as No. 1 since the start of the 2008-09 season. The list is based on sales at the NBA Store in New York City and on NBAStore.com since the start of the 2009-10 NBA season through April 2010. Both stores are having record sales years with a combined increase of 20 percent over last year.

Thirteen players competing in the 2010 Playoffs appear on this year’s list. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James remains No. 2 and the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett climbed one spot from last year to No. 3. Chicago Bulls sophomore Derrick Rose continues to make a name for himself, coming in at No. 4, while the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard rounds out the top 5. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant debuts in the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 9, while the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony moves from No. 15 to No. 10.
 
The 2009-2010 NBA Year End Awards AKA The Hoopties
Sunday , Apr , 25 , 2010 J.N.

The 2009-2010 NBA Year End Awards AKA The Hoopties

The regular has ended some time ago and it’s time to touch on the players and moments that made this season memorable. The playoffs just started and it is going to take awhile to determine the champion, but I’d like take this time to look back at stuff that impacted the season and future to come. Hold up. There will be some moments that did not impact the season. It was just funny to point out.  Dwight Howard wins another Defensive Player of the Year, Scott Brooks wins Coach of the Year, and Aaron Brooks won Most Improved Player. We can safely assume that LeBron James won Most Valuable Player.

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Can Oklahoma City Thunder really upset Kobe Bryant and L.A. Lakers?
Saturday , Apr , 24 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Can Oklahoma City Thunder really upset Kobe Bryant and L.A. Lakers?

The Quick Hit: It was supposed to be case of master versus student. It has become a case of student challenging master.

Quite simply, the Los Angeles Lakers, with all their star power and glitz, were expected to handle the talented but inexperienced Oklahoma City Thunder. After all, the Lakers had that Larry O’Brien swagger; the Thunder were unproven upstarts.

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Wednesday , Apr , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: I Had to Respond to Phil Jackson

Thunder forward Kevin Durant is tired of answering questions about Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

Durant, typically easy-going, got riled up when asked about his reaction to Jackson's comments about the referee's treatment of the forward last week.

"Do you think I overreacted?" Durant asked.

"Nah, I didn't overreact. Why, because I'm a third-year player I can't say nothing back to Phil Jackson? I'm standing up for myself and what I believe in. I really don't say nothing to too many people in this league who say stuff about me and our team and how I play and how we play. But I felt I had to say something back.

"I'm always quiet. I'm always nice and (respectful) to other people, not just on the basketball floor but off the basketball floor, like you guys. But I felt at that time I had to take up for myself. It is what it is. It's over with. It had nothing to do with this series."
 

 

The next big thing Kevin Durant versus The best thing now LeBron James
Tuesday , Apr , 20 , 2010 J.N.

The next big thing Kevin Durant versus The best thing now LeBron James

Brought to you by the makers of Michael Jordan versus series, LeBron versus line, Kobe versus and the barely visited Dwayne Wade versus LeBron debates, we bring to you the latest and greatest in the long line of internet debates, Kevin Durant versus LeBron James. Yes, it is another one in a classic barn burner debates spark by large usage of extreme GIF images to represent reaction and smart witty remarks with people using a lot of free time to dissect statistics.

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Monday , Apr , 19 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant: The Playoffs Don’t Feel Different

After Oklahoma City's 87-79 loss to the Lakers on Sunday in Game 1, I asked Kevin Durant what felt different about being out there during his first experience in the playoffs.

"Nothing really to be honest," said Durant. "A lot of people say it would be different, but it felt the same as the regular season and it was just fun and exciting to be out there. I wish we came out on the other side of the 'W', but it’s a long series."

Scott Brooks stressed multiple times that he didn't feel his team suffered from nervousness.

"There were stretches during the game where he was pressing," said Brooks of Durant. Brooks expressed liking that part of his performance, as well as what he did defensively.
 
Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC
Sunday , Apr , 18 , 2010 C.Y. Ellis

Liveblogging Game 1 of LAL-OKC

I'll be taking quick notes as I watch the game here. Feel free to drop in your comments below. They update in real time.

- What is Andrew Bynum drinking? A pre-game shot shows him chugging a foaming red liquid from a water bottle.

- OKC tosses the ball to Durant for the first play.  He dribbles around for a few seconds before tossing up an awkward brick. Bad opening.

- Pau connects on a shot with so much arc the ball came down with snow on it.

- That red stuff is obviously working for Bynum, who connects on his first attempt.

- Durant botches an open layup. Let's hope that's a fumble and not a sign of the pressure getting to him.

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Thursday , Apr , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

[vid] NBA Admits Missed Call on Durant Foul

Joel Litvin, NBA President, League and Basketball Operations, issued the following statement regarding the final seconds of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz game last night at EnergySolutions Arena:

"On the final play of last night’s Oklahoma City-Utah game, the officials missed a foul committed by the Jazz’s C.J. Miles on the Thunder’s Kevin Durant during a three-point shot attempt.” 
 
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Saturday , Apr , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Garnett Fined $25K for ‘Michael f*cking Jordan’ Comment

Boston forward Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 Friday by the NBA for criticizing game officials and using inappropriate language.

Garnett made the comments after the Celtics lost a 109-104 decision to Oklahoma City in Boston. He referred to a free throw discrepancy, in which Boston was 13-of-17 for the game as a team while the Thunder's Kevin Durant was 15-of-15 alone and Oklahoma City had 34 overall.

"We were playing Michael (expletive) Jordan tonight, the way he was getting the whistle," Garnett said in a post-game news conference. "Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team. That's the game." 

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