Brian Davis’ bag of quotables finally got him in trouble (although I don’t think he had racial intentions while saying it): “We think, obviously, the use of that term was offensive and inappropriate, and I expressed that to Brian last night,” Dan Mahoney, the team’s vice president of broadcasting, told The Norman Transcript on Thursday. “Brian assures me that it was not meant in any derogatory way, and he apologizes. But again, we feel strongly that it’s inappropriate and offensive.”
And now he’s been suspended for Game 1.
Neil Paine (FiveThirtyEight) on playoff odds and the best playoff matchups: “CARM-Elo says the closest matchup of the first round is the aforementioned clash between the Thunder and Jazz. Oklahoma City is a slim favorite at 52 percent, by virtue of having home-court advantage. But these teams are very evenly matched: Both posted 48-34 records, and only 5 points of CARM-Elo separate their ratings. This one might be a referendum of sorts on the importance of playoff seasoning — the Jazz are the least-experienced team in the postseason field, while the Thunder rank fourth-highest behind only the Cavaliers, Warriors and Spurs.”
Royce Young (ESPN) on the stories surrounding the Thunder during the playoffs (and other NBA writers talking about every other playoff team): “One reason OKC is so tough? They out-hustle opponents. The Thunder rank first in the NBA in both deflections and loose balls recovered. Leading the way are their two best players: George’s 3.9 deflections per game led the NBA, as did Westbrook’s 2.2 loose balls recovered per game.”
Ryan McDonald (Desert News) looks at what the Jazz can learn from the four regular season meetings between the Jazz and Thunder: “Utah and Oklahoma City played each other four times during the regular season, but it’s been a long time since the final game of the season series, which took place back on Dec. 23. As such, both teams look considerably different because of injury and the trade that brought Jae Crowder to the Jazz.”
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) with Thunder awards for the year.
Jon Hamm (Bleacher Report) on the historical aspect of Russell Westbrook’s triple-double feat: “He also happens to be an outstanding rebounder. What is often overlooked is how Westbrook pursues defensive rebounds from well outside the paint. Instead, people latch onto the idea of teammates boxing out for his statistical benefit.”
Marc Hinton (Stuff NZ) on Steven Adams not taking making the playoffs for granted: “Adams’ Thunder will meet the Utah Jazz of Aussie star Joe Ingles in a best-of-seven first-round Western Conference matchup that begins on Monday (10.30am NZT) in Oklahoma City. And the 24-year-old New Zealander has emphasised what a “privilege” it is to be part of the playoffs experience.”
Cody Taylor (ThunderWire) on the Thunder being unsure if Alex Abrines or Corey Brewer will play in Game 1.
Eric Horne (NewsOK) on OKC’s part in making Rudy Gobert the player we see today: “At the February 2015 trade deadline, the Thunder, Jazz and Pistons pulled off a three-way trade. It was a guy who stayed put in Salt Lake City who benefitted the most — a then-22-year-old center a year-and-a-half into his career with only eight starts to his name.”