Tag Archives: Kendall Marshall

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder preview (Game 65 of 82)

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers

  • When: Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 8:30 PM CST
  • Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

Never, in recent memory, has this team been what I like to call “consistently inconsistent”. But that’s what the Thunder have been in the past 9 games. The results of their last 9 games have gone as followed: Lose 3, Win 3, Lose 2, Win 1. The win against the Houston Rockets in their last game may have quieted some of the rumblings concerning team unity, but consistent play may be the only way completely silence those concerns.

This will be the 4th and final meeting of the season between these two teams. The Thunder lead the season series 2-1. The season series has been a clash of styles, especially for the Lakers. In the first game, the Lakers were still getting acclimated to life with Kobe Bryant and lost 122-97. The second and third games of the series have been a different story. Both games have been decided by 4 points, with the Thunder winning one and the Lakers winning the latest one.

The Opponent

gasol meeks marshall lakers

With the news that Kobe Bryant will officially be out for the season, the Lakers can fully immerse themselves in the D’Antoni ball experience. Even though he only played 6 games for them, the Lakers were a different team with Bryant. The offensive pace slowed and the ball stuck in Bryant’s hands more. With him out, the Lakers are highly dependent on transition opportunities and 3-point shooting. That lends itself to a frenetic, fast paced style of basketball that leans on points and not defense. The wing heavy line-up of Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar, and Kent Bazemore spreads the floor out with their 3-point shooting. Kendall Marshall does a good job of setting up his teammates, while Pau Gasol does his thing from the post. The bench is inconsistent, but can be effective at times due to the Lakers’ style of play.

Probable Starting Line-ups

Los Angeles Lakers

  • PG – Kendall Marshall
  • SG – Jodie Meeks
  • SF – Wesley Johnson
  • PF – Ryan Kelly
  • C – Pau Gasol

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PG – Russell Westbrook
  • SG – Perry Jones III
  • SF – Kevin Durant
  • PF – Serge Ibaka
  • C – Steven Adams

3 Keys to the Game

1. Perimeter defense – The Thunder focus a lot of their defense on the interior and hope that their length disrupts opposing shooters into missing shots. And that works most of the time, especially when legs begin to tire in the 4th quarter. But if a team catches fire, similar to what the Lakers did in the 2nd half of their previous meeting with the Thunder, then the Thunder can find themselves in a hole, quickly.

2. Andre Roberson – While I like Perry Jones in the starting line-up against most teams, the Lakers don’t have a traditional line-up. Putting Jones on a player like Meeks does not make use of Jones’ strengths. A player like Roberson is more apt to better defend a shorter, quicker player like Meeks on the perimeter.

roberson ibaka gasol thunder lakers

3. Keep your foot on the pedal – The Thunder don’t have a problem building leads. They’ve led by double digits in each of the past 3 games. But their problem is complacency once they build the lead. They get careless on offense and porous on defense. The Thunder did  a much better job of staying focused in the Rockets game. They held the Rockets at bay most of the second half and held on to win the game.

(Bonus) 4. Reggie Williams – This is the final game in his 10-day contract. Can we please get this man some playing time???

Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns preview (Game 62 of 82)

westbrook tucker durant bledsoe thunder suns

  • When: Thursday, 06 March 2014 at 8:00 PM CST
  • Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

With their recent 6 game home stand behind them, the Thunder hit the road for the first time since February 13th. With 21 games left, the final quarter of the regular season is about positioning and health. With two starters down because of injury, it’s the Thunder’s depth (and their two superstars) that has been their saving grace. Having the ability to spring a player like Perry Jones III or Andre Roberson off the bench to be a starter is a luxury most teams do not have. Bringing a player that has only logged 44 minutes the entire season, only to have him play 53 quality minutes over the next 3 games like Hasheem Thabeet has, is a testament to the Thunder’s “next man up” philosophy.

This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams. The Thunder, and the Phoenix Suns for that matter, have come a long way from that early November game. In that game, which the Thunder won 103-96, Russell Westbrook made his regular season debut after missing the last 9 games of the playoffs the previous season and the first two games of this season.

The Opponent

frye dragic morris green suns

The Thunder’s last opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, were what the Phoenix Suns were supposed to be this season. Heading into this season, many thought the Suns would be one of the main contenders for the Number 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Suns even appeared to be playing the part of a tanking team before the season started by trading starting C Marcin Gortat, PG Kendall Marshall, and SG Shannon Brown to the Washington Wizards for Emeka Okafor, who was probably going to be out for the season with a neck injury, and the Wizards’ 2014 1st round pick (that was top 12 protected). Then the season started, and something weird happened. First year coach Jeff Hornacek allowed the team to play to its strengths, instead of trying to integrate his system. The Suns won 5 of their first 7  games with a run and gun style that is very reminiscent of the “7 Seconds or Less” Suns of a couple seasons back that featured Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Instead of Steve Nash, the Suns have the two-headed combo guard duo of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. And instead of Amare Stoudemire, they have Miles Plumlee and Channing Frye. They’ve kept on winning, and currently find themselves with a record of 35-25, good for 7th in a tough Western Conference. They are a rag-tag bunch of good athletic players that were mostly cast-offs from their previous teams. Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker are perennial journeymen who have seen their NBA dreams take them to different leagues in different countries, the Morris twins have been reunited, and Leandro Barbosa has found the fountain of youth in Phoenix (actually, its probably just Phoenix’s medical staff working their old man shaman magic).

Probable Starting Line-ups

Phoenix Suns

  • PG – Goran Dragic
  • SG – Gerald Green
  • SF – P.J. Tucker
  • PF – Channing Frye
  • C – Alex Len

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PG – Russell Westbrook
  • SG – Perry Jones III
  • SF – Kevin Durant
  • PF – Serge Ibaka
  • C – Steven Adams

3 Keys to the Game

1. Battle of Rookie Big Men – This past draft was touted to be one of the better ones to find a quality big man. Alex Len, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, and Gorgui Dieng are all playing rotational minutes for NBA teams. Nerlens Noel would be playing if it wasn’t for his recovery from an ACL tear. This is the first regular season match-up between the two rookie centers. They met in the preseason and Len was a DNP-CD in their first meeting of the season.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns

2. Perimeter Defense – Phoenix is not afraid to jack up the 3’s. They are top 3 in 3-point field goals made and in the top 10 in 3-point FG%. They have a bevy of shooters (Frye, Green, Marcus Morris, Tucker) and a great paint attacker in Dragic. This is where the Thunder can lose this game.

3. Bench – Phoenix has been decimated recently by injury. Miles Plumlee, Leandro Barbosa, and Eric Bledsoe will all miss the game due to injury. While the Thunder have their own injury issues to deal with, they have better depth and should be able to take advantage of this. For the second straight game, the Thunder welcome another player, as recently signed D-Leaguer Reggie Williams will be active for tonight’s game.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers preview (Game 55 of 82)

durant young thunder lakers

  • When: Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 9:30 PM CST
  • Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

There was once a time when the Thunder looked up at the Los Angeles Lakers. A time when mostly everyone knew that they would have to go through Kobe Bryant and the Lakers if they wanted to seek NBA supremacy. That time, seems but a distant memory now. What once was a match-up you circled on the calendar is now just another game.

This is the 2nd of four meetings between these two clubs. The Thunder have dominated the series in the past 3 seasons, going 10-3 in the last 13 games between these two teams, to include the playoffs. It’s a clear case of one team’s window opening at the same time of another team’s window closing.

The Opposition

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Injuries. Injuries. Injuries. That’s all you have to say about the Lakers’ season. It started with Kobe Bryant rehabbing from a torn Achilles at the beginning of the season. It has since trickled down to 6 players being on the injured list (to include Bryant, again), and led to one of the rarer moments in sports, when an NBA team only had 4 players available after their 5th active player fouled out and 2 other players got injured. The Lakers are currently 18-34 and are probably reaching the point where they start to become sellers in the market. Their injury list includes 3 future Hall of Famers (Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash) and 3 good perimeter players (Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, and Jodie Meeks). The survivors include Steve Blake and Chris Kaman, probably the only players on the team capable of generating any offense on their own. Kendall Marshall has shown to be a capable game manager, but still lacks as far as offensive production. Up front, Jordan Hill has shown flashes, but is still a bit too inconsistent. The bench…LOL, what bench?.

Probable Starting Line-ups

Los Angeles Lakers

  • PG – Kendall Marshall
  • SG – Steve Blake
  • SF – Wesley Johnson
  • PF – Shawne Williams
  • C – Chris Kaman

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PG – Reggie Jackson
  • SG – Thabo Sefolosha
  • SF – Kevin Durant
  • PF – Serge Ibaka
  • C – Kendrick Perkins

3 Keys to the Game

1. Trap Game Potential – An emotional win in Portland and the All Star break coming up. This game has all the markings of a trap game. Even though Los Angeles is currently a wounded animal, they still have players that can score if given the chance.

2. Durant and Thabeet – I’m hoping Durant gives one more virtuoso performance before the All Star break. And I hope that performance includes him sitting much of the 4th quarter. And I hope Hasheem Thabeet get double digit minutes.

thabeet kelly thunder lakers

3. Great 1st half – This turned out to be a great first half of basketball for the Thunder. Hopefully everyone rests up and prepares for the second half of the season.