(#4) Thunder 101 (#5) Nuggets 104 Thunder lead series 3-1 Box Score | Recap
The Duncan Era Spurs are 0-5 when down 3-1 in a series (ESPN Stats/Info). San Antonio is good at closing out on 3-pointers and are best when they stop teams in the paint, but Memphis doesn't shoot 3s and they're bigger (Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk).
The difference between Russell Westbrook taking 30 shots in a loss and Derrick Rose is that Westbrook "also has this dude named Kevin Durant on his team," Royce Young wrote, later adding: "Westbrook was 12-30 from the field while Durant was 8-18. Russell Westbrook took 12 more shots than the two-time scoring champion.... I think a big reason behind Westbrook's ball-hogging was he sensed what I was seeing. The Thunder didn't look comfortable in their own offensive skin. They were throwing the ball away, taking dumb shots, forcing things and not moving off the ball. So he tried to take over a bit. A lot of the stagnant offense is probably the fault of the point guard, but Westbrook is the new hybrid point like Derrick Rose and Deron Williams. He looks for his own as much as he looks for other." (Eye on Basketball).
Yeah, there's no serious excuse for the shot selection. If he were taking it to the hole hard, OK, but he was chucking jumpshots, kicking defenders in mid-air, and wondering why kicking people didn't send him to the FT line. "Westbrook made only 35.4 percent of his shots from 15 feet or greater this season, according to ESPN Research, and just 4 of his 15 attempts from there tonight. Seven of those tries were 3-pointers, including three in the final 30 seconds; none went in." (John Hollinger, TrueHoop)
Judging the Heat's clutchiness by their record in games with close final scores is flawed, Tom Haberstroh noted. There are close games that don't end with close scores. The Heat are 6-15 in games decided by five points or less, but they're 24-21 in games within five points at some point in the final five minutes of play (Heat Index). So, in those situations, the losses are closer, but their wins are more decisive.
Kobe Bryant will play Game 5 in L.A. with a sprained ankle. He refused an MRI (Helin). Dumbass.
Stan Van Gundy said after Game 4: "We don't have the Jamal Crawford or a Joe Johnson, guys who can break you down off the dribble." (Michael Wallace, ESPN; h/t: Evan Dunlap).
Brandon Roy's awesome, but Portland lives an dies on LaMarcus Aldridge and Dallas' bigs attacking him. LMA scored 12 points on 6-for-15 and never getting to the FT line in over 40 minutes.
Andrew Tonrey after Game 5 (Portland Roundball Society): "LaMarcus Aldridge's early scoring is no longer a given. Tyson Chandler's physical play has rocked Portland's foundation for two-straight games. And when Aldridge can't get establish a presence down low the Blazers' offense sputters into a mess of shot clock beating flails, Andre Miller bailouts and missed three-pointers."
NBPA decertification could prevent a lockout and they've already collected the signatures to do so, according to Executive Director Billy Hunter (Ken Berger, CBSSports.com). Amazing precedence is being set with the legal interpretation of the NFLPA decertification that ended the 45-day NFL lockout in the courts, allowing for antitrust lawsuits against the NFL owners. A huge difference between the two leagues is that the staunchiest NBA owners the NBPA will be facing at the negotiating are the ones who can't withstand the legal battle of antitrust litigation.