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Tuesday , Feb , 28 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal: the Boston Celtics ‘miss me’

“It’s a different team,” said O’Neal, at All-Star weekend as part of the TNT broadcast. “They (the Boston Celtics) miss me.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal will thrive as a broadcaster once he gets over his shyness.

O’Neal, the new darling of TNT’s Emmy-winning cast, is declaring that the Boston Celtics 'miss' him.

On the one hand, he’s right. O’Neal provided a post presence in limited minutes for the green-and-white.

On the other hand, he’s forgetting about Kendrick Perkins, the club's heart and soul.

O’Neal was signed, in large part, to fill in for Perkins who was out with knee troubles. The Celtics then dealt Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the deadline for Jeff Green because they believed O’Neal would be healthy.

Well, The Big Shamrock wasn’t healthy. He got hurt in February and never played again. So, the Celtics were without their heart-and-soul down-low, Perkins, and O’Neal in the playoffs. Not surprisingly, they lost in the second round.

And GM Danny Ainge hasn’t replaced either -even if Brandon Bass can score.

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

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Thursday , Feb , 09 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

LeBron: Kendrick Perkins should be embarrassed by Blake Griffin dunk

"For me, social media and Twitter is all about connecting with your fans," James said. "From day one, that's why I got to Twitter, to connect to my fans."I would never apologize for anything like that when I'm connecting with my fans." James said he certainly never "called out" Perkins."I can see why he may have felt embarrassed," he said. "I don't think I was the only one that reacted to that unbelievable play by Blake, and that's what it was all about, me acknowledging how great of a play it was. If Kendrick Perkins had dunked on somebody else on the other end, I would have done the same thing. "I'm an easy target, let's leave it at that."


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Kendrick Perkins and LeBron James have no problem telling us how they feel, especially about each other.

Clearly, Perkins didn't like James teasing him on twitter after he got poster-jobbed by Blake Griffin in a recent game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.

So Perkins responded. Now it's James' turn. Of course, the back-and-forth between these two isn't surprising.

Perkins and James have history. They two spent years battling each other for Eastern Conference supremacy with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

They may have changed teams, but are still rivals. 

James' Heat could meet Perkins' Thunder in the NBA Finals. Both players know this. And both players are attempting to gain an edge during the dog days of the regular season. 

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

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Wednesday , Feb , 01 , 2012 Hoopsvibe

LeBron on John Lucas III or Blake Griffin on Kendrick Perkins?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Anything LeBron James can do Blake Griffin can do better, right?

During Sunday‘s clash between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, James hurdled John Lucas III on a backdoor alley-oop that left fans in awe.

The highlights were just starting, though.

Just one day later, Griffin left Staples Center speechless with his poster-job on Oklahoma City Thunder post Kendrick Perkins.

So, which dunk is play of the year? LeBron making like Vince Carter on that French dude at the Sydney Olympics or Griffin giving Perkins the ‘Mozgov’ treatment?

Watch both videos and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.


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Friday , Dec , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kevin Durant’s game-winner against Dallas Mavericks

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: What altercation with his co-star?

The world wide web is abuzz with reports that Oklahoma City Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook got into a dispute on the bench of Wednesday’s game.

Well, Durant was so distracted he hit the game-winner on Thursday evening against the world champion Dallas Mavericks.

Watch the video, form an opinion, and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.


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Tuesday , Dec , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Did Rusell Westbrook break ankles or did Luke Ridnour fall?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Yesterday Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook blew by Minnesota Timberwolves table-setter Luke Ridnour.

Here’s the question: did Westbrook break Ridnour’s ankles with a killer crossover or did the T-Wolves reserve lose his footing?

Watch the video, form your opinion, and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below. 

--HoopsVibe News.

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Sunday , Dec , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Thunder buyout Nate Robinson

Oklahoma City is close to completing a buyout of guard Nate Robinson's contract and the seven-year veteran is likely to become a free agent as soon as Saturday morning, a source close to the situation told SI.com.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s all caught up with him. And now he’s without a team.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have decided Nate Robinson isn’t worth the hassle, buying-out the controversial but talented combo guard.

Robinson, who can score in bunches, may be hard pressed to find a team, and if he does get a contract he won’t have a major role.

After all, the Thunder, who are one of the best teams in the Western Conference, decided they’re better off without Robinson.

They don’t want the distraction. They don’t want his drama. And they don’t want his shot first approach.

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

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Sunday , Nov , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kendrick Perkins on Boston trading him: ‘It still hurts’

“Hurt, surprised, I think it really still hasn’t hit me yet — not really,” he said later. “I think everything happened so fast, last year coming back from my ACL injury and getting traded to Oklahoma City where I had to be a leader. “It still hurts that I got traded, but then the city of Oklahoma has been great to me. They’ve embraced me with open arms, and I have no complaints about the city of Oklahoma and the whole organization.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Kendrick Perkins reminds me of John Starks.

There are differences: Perkins is a center, Starks was a guard; Perkins is a defensive anchor, while Starks played both ends of the floor; Perkins won a championship with the Boston Celtics and Starks’ New York Knicks fell short in the NBA Finals.

However, Perkins and Starks are both fiery and have massive hearts.

Consider that the veteran-laden Celtics fell apart after Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last February. Part of this had to with the hole Perkins left down-low, but this was more about the hole he left in the locker room.

Rajon Rondo missed Perkins, his best friend. Kevin Garnett cried when told of the trade. And the green-and-white never recovered.

Yesterday Perkins received a massive ovation while at an exhibition game near Boston.

Starks, a real life Rocky, had a similar impact in New York. He played at several colleges, semi-pro leagues, and bagged groceries before sticking with the Knicks.

Fans could relate to Starks` blue-collar work ethic. Eventually, he became an All-Star and a key part of some rugged Knick teams.

He was immortalized with his dunk on THE GOAT and when the Beastie Boys declared 'I got heart like John Starks'.

The lockout has shown what’s wrong with the NBA. The league needs more players like Perkins and Starks.

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

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Saturday , Sep , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Russell Westbrook: point guard is ‘my natural position’

Dan asked if he was going to introduce him before the game, what position would he say. “You’d say at point guard,” Westbrook said. “That’s my natural position.”

Dan asked why Westbrook thought he was criticized so much last season for not being a true point guard. ’I really don’t know. That comes along with playing in this league,” Westbrook said.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The great Chuck Daly believed the turning point for the Detroit Pistons was when Isiah Thomas decided he'd sacrifice his individual numbers for the collective good of the team.

Thomas could have easily averaged 25-30 points per game, however, his lofty scoring average made it difficult for the Pistons to climb the Eastern Conference standings.

The Pistons only evolved from good to great to two-time champion once Thomas scaled back his individual numbers and engaged his much-improved supporting cast.

Now Russell Westbrook is not Thomas, the Hall of Fame point guard. And his Oklahoma City Thunder are not the Detroit Pistons of the late eighties.

Like Thomas, Westbrook, a score-first point guard, must decide if he too will sacrifice. After all, he looked for his own offence at the expense of teammates during last year's playoff, which led to coach Scott Brooks pulling him in key situations.

That said, it’s a positive that Westbrook considers point guard his 'natural' position, and hopefully he has decided to set-the-table for teammates.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Aug , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Jeff Green: Joining Celtics was ‘Tough’

“They’ve been together for a number of years,” Green said of the Celtics. “They’ve already won a championship, they’ve already have a system, they already have their chemistry and that bond on that team. “It was tough to go into that situation.”


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Three future members of the Hall of Fame. One All-Star point guard. One championship. One NBA Finals appearance. And a heap of pressure on a young forward to replace the team's heart-and-soul.

Welcome to Jeff Green's world last February.

The Boston Celtics acquired Green from the Oklahoma City Thunder at the trade deadline. The green-and-white gave up Kendrick Perkins, their burly center, in the deal. 

It didn't matter that Perkins was coming off knee surgery or that his contract demands were impossible to meet.

Trading Perk' didn't go over well. Kevin Garnett cried, Rajon Rondo went into a funk, and the team lost their tough, blue-collar identity.

Worst of all, fans and players felt GM Danny Ainge had given up on 2011 to prepare for the future.

All of this impacted Green, who came into an impossible situation. The expectations were sky-high, while fans and teammates were slow to embrace him.

The Celtics, however, will make every effort to re-sign Green, a restricted free agent. In time, this trade could work out.

After all, Green has talent. He can guard multiple positions, score, and stuffs the stat-sheet with the all-important little things.

For now, things are tough, though.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Blake Griffin on lockout: ‘My first three seasons, I could play 82 games’

"I haven't stopped working out really since May," Griffin said. "It's been every day, sneaking it in whenever I can." Griffin says it's frustrating for him to think that the NBA games may be interrupted after his first season playing in the league. Griffin missed all of the 2009-10 season with a broken kneecap after he had been the No. 1 draft pick out of Oklahoma. "Now my first three seasons, I could play 82 games," Griffin said. "So, we'll see what happens."


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last year was overwhelmingly positive for the NBA.
The sporting world was galvanized by Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James joining forces and becoming the ‘Heatles’ in Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd’s hard work was rewarded with an NBA championship, guaranteeing both immediate entry into the Hall of Fame when they retire.

Derrick Rose won the MVP award, leading the Chicago Bulls to the league’s best regular season record and a place in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder took another step winning two playoff series before falling to Nowitzki and Kidd’s Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals.

The Memphis Grizzlies made the playoffs and upset the San Antonio Spurs. After years of futility, the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers were relevant and entertaining.

There are other storylines I’m missing.

For instance, high on this list is the emergence of Blake Griffin, whose aerial antics reminded the world there’s a professional basketball squad in Los Angeles not called the Lakers.

(And this squad, the Clippers, can compete and delight despite being owned by the twisted and incompetent Donald Sterling.)

Suppose there’s a lockout. One that wipes out the entire season. Griffin, who missed 2009 with injury, will have played just eighty-two games in his first three seasons.

Fans would have to wait a year to see Griffin assault the rim. Fans would have to wonder what Griffin would do to defend his crown at the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest. And fans, the purists, would have to wait a year to see Griffin’s above average passing and skill-set develop.

This is tragic. And just another thing Commissioner David Stern, the owners, Union Head Billy Hunter, and the players are risking with their posturing and rhetoric.

I hope they know what they’re doing. Griffin missing another year should be a last resort.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Russell Westbrook: There’s no beef with Kevin Durant

Westbrook also argued with his coach, Scott Brooks, and his star teammate, Kevin Durant, on the court, leading to speculation that he was feuding with both. And when the Thunder were eliminated by the Dallas Mavericks, Westbrook shouldered most of the blame. In the two months since, Westbrook hasn’t lost much sleep worrying about the criticism.

“I refuse to let myself do that,” Westbrook told Yahoo! Sports. “I’ve been working too hard to get to the position we were in last season to worry about anything somebody else was saying.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Superstars need each other.

In today’s NBA, one superstar isn’t enough to win a title. The crème de la crème of talent know they must partner up to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy in late June.

For instance, the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and San Antonio Spurs have a few premier players working towards a collective goal.

(The 2011 world champion Dallas Mavericks were, perhaps, the exception, surrounding their sole superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, with five or six very good players.)  

The Oklahoma City Thunder, if they are to join the ranks of legit contender, need Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook working together. Durant knows this. Westbrook knows this, too.

These two will never tell media or fans if there was tension over Westbrook’s questionable shot selection in the playoffs. They’ll keep it in-house, which shows they’re mature beyond their years.

However, coach Scott Brooks may want to clarify roles by reminding Westbrook that he is Robin and Durant is Batman. Not the other way around.

Brooks might also want to remind Westbrook he needs to focus on setting-the-table for teammates -as well as getting his own points.

Of course, this could be tricky. Once the lockout is settled, Westbrook and the Thunder will be ironing-out the details on a new, long-term extension.

Such declarations, if handled poorly, would do permanent damage to the Thunder‘s relationship with Westbrook.

All parties must proceed with caution. They need each other.

--Oly Sandor.

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

Examining Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks back to back title potential. Vol. REPEAT
Thursday , Jul , 21 , 2011 J.N.

Examining Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks back to back title potential. Vol. REPEAT

This can be discussed even during a lockout. Dirk and the Mavs are still riding high from their hard earned 2011 NBA title. They swept Kobe’s Lakers, beat Durant/Westbrook Thunder, and then took out the Miami Heat. The team is battle tested especially with the grand fail against the Golden State Warriors in the 2007 playoffs. The Mavs lost a lot with a solid roster in the past. They overcame all of that in 2011.What’s next? Repeat. Duh. 

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Saturday , Jun , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Nate Robinson Arrested for Public Urination

Three-time NBA slam-dunk champ Nate Robinson was busted early yesterday for relieving himself on a downtown White Plains street, police said. Cops caught the ex-Knick, whose 5-foot-9 height belies his 43½-inch vertical leap, in flagrante delicto at 1:53 a.m. across the street from City Hall.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The problem isn’t public urination. The problem is it happened at 1:53am.

If Nate Robinson was serious about his craft, if he was serious about being more than a marketing gimmick, he’d be living like a professional athlete.

The key word is professional. That means early to bed, early to rise, and dedicating himself to improving every summer.

Nothing good happens in the wee hours of the morning, especially if you’re an athlete. You’re either drunk, fighting, or wooing a member of the opposite sex, who isn’t you’re significant other.

In today’s interconnected world, Robinson can’t be out doing god knows what at 2am in the morning. It will be on twitter, facebook, the net, or all three in a matter of hours.

Of course, Robinson’s career is in a lull. He revived things with his play in the 2010 NBA Finals, only to end up injured and on the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This won't help. Not one bit.

Eventually, he’ll run out of chances. And nobody will care what time, when, or where Robinson urinates.

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Wednesday , May , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant on last play of regulation: ‘I didn’t know what else to do’

On the biggest play of the series, the final play of regulation, Kevin Durant caught the ball at halfcourt, but when he looked toward the basket, he saw three Mavs coming at him. So, he shot from at least 8 feet behind the three-point line. “I didn't know what else to do,” he said, the frustration obvious in his voice. “I didn't want to run into their defense and get another turnover.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If the Oklahoma City Thunder ever wants to win an NBA championship, they have to do better than a Kevin Durant prayer from eight feet behind the three-point line.

The game was tied. There was 6.5 seconds on the clock. And the Thunder had used a timeout to design a play.
In these situations, great teams get a basket or, at a minimum, a good shot. The Thunder wasted the possession, and the Dallas Mavericks won game four in overtime to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The Thunder may have been reeling from surrendering a double-digit lead in the final stages of the fourth quarter. Perhaps the moment got to them.
They have to be better. It starts with superstar Kevin Durant.
Point blank: Durant has to know what to do in these situations. He has to exude confidence. Most importantly, he has to produce.
Anything else won’t do. Not if the Thunder are serious about winning a championship.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
Dallas vs. OKC: Age Before Beauty
Tuesday , May , 24 , 2011 Paul Eide

Dallas vs. OKC: Age Before Beauty


It’s almost impossible to quantify in a tangible way, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The value of having experienced, battle tested veterans on an NBA roster during the playoffs is priceless and accounts for unexpected game and series victories every year.  
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Tuesday , May , 24 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

OKC blows fourth quarter lead, Dallas takes 3-1 lead

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Choke job. This is the only way to describe the Oklahoma City Thunder squandering game four of the Western Conference Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Thunder held a massive lead in the fourth quarter before losing 112-105 in overtime. Bottom line: they lost their focus.

For instance, the Thunder had the ball with 6.5 seconds remaining. The score was tied. However, all they got was a Kevin Durant heave off a broken play.

The Mavericks now lead the series 3-1, and are on the verge of returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2006.

Click the link to watch the video highlights of game four and get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.   

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , May , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kendrick Perkins: Thunder ‘didn’t trust each other’

The Thunder has toyed with this disturbing trend throughout the playoffs. Oklahoma City has trailed after one quarter in 11 of its 15 games this postseason. But this was as bad as it's ever been. “Tonight, we didn't trust each other,” said Kendrick Perkins. “We just got to have trust in each other. That's the bottom line.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Kendrick Perkins a touch too assertive right now?

Yes, he has playoff experience. Yes, he has a championship. Yes, he has a tell-it-like-it-is personality.

Still, it's a bit harsh to publicly declare that the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t trust each other in game three.

Perkins, after all, is new. He joined the Thunder at the trade deadline. He’s a valuable player, but hardly a superstar. That role belongs to Kevin Durant, who isn’t calling out teammates to reporters.

So why should Perkins?

Another question: why is Perkins calling a timeout early in the third quarter of game three? That's the coaching staff's job. Only a few great players can get away with calling for a stoppage in play.

To be fair: I like the burly center. I like the simplicity of his game. If healthy, he’s probably the difference between the Boston Celtics winning and losing game seven of the 2010 NBA Finals.

He just needs to take it down a notch.

--Oly Sandor.

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


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Sunday , May , 22 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: James Harden and the power of ‘THE FLOP’

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: I like James Harden. I do. However, I disliked his flop in game three of the Western Conference Finals. 

For those that missed it: Harden’s face gently grazed Tyson Chandler’s elbow, but he still hit the floor like a member of the Italian national soccer team.

Chandler got a technical. Oklahoma City went to the free throw line.

Two things are worth noting. First, Harden’s ‘performance’ could’ve changed the series. Suppose Chandler already had a technical; something that was not unlikely given his battles with Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins.

Harden’s flop job would have led to Chandler getting ejected, which would have had ramifications on game three and the series.

Second, Stern and the suits at head office should fine and/or suspend players for flopping. Other sports like hockey and soccer punish players for embellishing infractions.

The NBA should do the same, which may deter flopping.

Anyway, watch the video and get at us with thoughts on Harden in the comment box below. 

--Oly Sandor.

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

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Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

In defence of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook

Westbrook, the Thunder's most misunderstood, puzzling or overanalyzed player, depending on your perspective, wouldn't flame the scrutiny on coach Scott Brooks' decision not to play him a single second of the fourth quarter in OKC's Game 2 win over Dallas on Thursday. The play of the Thunder's second-best player has been publicly picked apart throughout the postseason. Does he shoot too much, take bad shots and not pass enough?


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Russell Westbrook has a giant bulls-eye on his back.

The critics allege the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard shoots too much, knocks heads with Coach Scott Brooks, and wants to establish himself at the expense of his team.

The critics argue Westbrook should be the Thunder’s third option, with superstar Kevin Durant and super-sub James Harden as primary scorers.

Perhaps this is fair. Perhaps, the Thunder would be better with Westbrook using his athleticism to set-the-table for teammates and averaging a balanced 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The criticism is, to an extent, unfair. Especially since the Thunder won game two of the Western Conference Finals in Dallas. 

Sure, Brooks sat Westbrook for the entire fourth quarter. Sure, the Thunder won in spite of Westbrook, not because of him.

They still won, though. They still achieved a split on the road. And they have home-court advantage.

The world isn't ending. Westbrook isn’t the devil. He’s just a 22-year old point guard, who sometimes struggles with when to pass and shoot.

Others have had issues with decision making. Like Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. Like Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. And like Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls.

By the way, these three figured 'it' out and won a combined 13 NBA championships.

Don’t get it twisted: Westbrook is not the next Zeke, Kobe, or MJ. It takes time for players, specifically point guards, to figure ‘it’ out.

Take Chauncey Billups. Before he became Mr. Big Shot with the Detroit Pistons, Billups was a nomad, playing on four teams between 1997 and 2002.

Critics said he lacked a position, couldn’t involve teammates and was a bust. Billups suddenly figured 'it out. Over the last ten years, he has won an NBA championship, been a Finals MVP, and made regular appearances in the Conference Finals.

Bottom line: Billups has had an excellent career. And he isn’t done. Like Westbrook, he needed time. Westbrook, at this age, is mch further along than Billups.

Critics need to appreciate Westbrook for what he is and can do. Soon enough, he’ll figure ‘it’ out. Then opponents will have to watch out.

--Oly Sandor.

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

“Durantula” And Who Else?
Thursday , May , 19 , 2011 Paul Eide

“Durantula” And Who Else?


The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t want to get into high scoring games with the Dallas Mavericks every game in this series because they just can’t hang; Dallas is too deep and is loaded with scorers. By comparison the Thunder really only have three options; Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden who were the only three players to average double figures during the season. In the playoffs Serge Ibaka is averaging 10.2 ppg but as a defensive specialist in the middle he is a fourth scoring option but only out of necessity. After that it gets thin in a hurry as Nick Collison is the fifth leading scorer averaging 5.8 ppg. And that’s pretty much it.