Peace, Love and Thunderstanding: Moral Victory Edition
8:43 AM EST on December 18, 2008
I took a week off from writing a formulaic Peace, Love and Thunderstanding column and instead let Patrick post fifteen ideas for improving the Thunder experience. While that article was well received, the real reason for the delay was hope that the team might give me something to write about if I gave them an extra week to do something. Since the last true P, L & T ran, would anyone like to guess how many times the Oklahoma City Thunder have won a game? Here's a hint, there have been seven games since that point.
For all of you who disheartedly mouthed "zero", you win. You may now proceed to crying into your keyboard.
This Week's Reason to Love the Team Even Though the Product on the Floor is Awful: Moral Victories
I'm a fan of OSU football and after the Texas game in which the Cowboys allowed the Longhorns to methodically drive down the field for the entire game, but still came an underthrown hail mary pass from winning, I felt good about my guys. They had stood toe-to-toe with the best team in the country #1 team in the country at the time and I wasn't going to hang my head about losing.
If you can wrap your head around that kind of thinking, the Thunder is your team. In back-to-back nights on a Texas road trip over the past week, the Thunder went into the 4th quarter tied with the Mavericks and nearly erased a 26 point deficit against the Spurs. In the end they lost both games by four and five points respectively, but they can't hang their heads in shame after those.
This Week's Odds of the Thunder Avoiding Becoming the Worst Team of All Time: 65%
As of this morning, the Thunder are 2-24, a winning percentage of .077. The current status of worst NBA team of all time belongs to the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers who ended that campaign at 9-73 (a winning percentage of .110). Those 76ers were also 2-24 through 26 games.
So, maybe 65% is an optomistic number, but the Thunder continues to improve and eventually, you have to think they will steal a few games they aren't supposed to win. At minimum, they might make a couple of teams pay for resting their starters (the way Phoenix did with Shaq). Of course, those odds are going to go down as the team continues losing winnable games (particularly at home) the way they did this past week against Memphis, Golden State, and the Clippers.
Statistic of the Week: 11
In the seven games since the last Peace, Love and Thunderstanding, that is the number of three pointers made by players other than Kevin Durant or Jeff Green. To contrast, the Magic hit 13 against the Thunder on December 5th. The margin of the game was ten points.
Some may wonder why I always eliminate the long balls made by Durant and Green when I bring up how poorly the Thunder shoot from outside. It's simple, those are they only guys making the shots, but they are also the guys who the team needs to be taking fewer outside shots. When those two are shooting from the outside, it's a sign that the opposing defenses have effectively shut off higher percentage shots for our two best scoring threats. That happens because those opposing teams know that no one else is going to make them pay for sagging back near the basket.
All Star of the Week: Kevin Durant
If for no other reason than he made that Golden State game worth watching. His 41 points put the team in the game despite no help from his teammates, particularly Russell Westbrook who turned the ball over 6 times and shot 4-14 from the field. Durant adding ten rebounds, three blocks, and a steal was also very helpful for my fantasy team.
Quote of the Week: Patrick
Thunder TV just cut away to a funeral.
A text message in response to me marvelling at how dead the crowd was during the first half of the Warriors game at the Ford Center.