Tag Archives: NYC

Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks preview (Game 28 of 82)

durant shumpert knicks thunder

  • When: Wednesday, 25 December 2013 at 1:30 PM CST
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

One of the major storylines heading into this season was the Battle of New York. Who would take the Big Apple: the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets. While there may still be a competition between the two teams, the two teams have woefully underachieved to the point where their meetings are only of regional importance, not national importance. The good news for both teams is that the Eastern Conference is so bad that they are still in the thick of things as far as playoff seeding goes.

This Christmas match up is the first meeting of the season between the two teams. The teams split the season series last season as Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony battled for the scoring championship. Anthony ended up winning the scoring title 28.7 ppg to Durant’s 28.1 ppg.

The Opponent

iman-shumpert-knicks-carmelo-anthony-tyson-chandler

The Knicks come into the game with a 9-18 record, which surprisingly finds them only 2 games out of the 8th seed. The Knicks came into this season with high expectations, but the season started in turmoil after JR Smith was suspended for the first 5 games due to a substance abuse violation and Tyson Chandler came down with a broken leg a week into the season. Add to that the unknown that is Amare Stoudemire’s health and the seemingly frayed relationship between the team and SG Iman Shumpert, and you have a recipe for chaos…which has ensued. The Knicks, thought to be one of the more offensively minded teams with Anthony, Smith, and Raymond Felton at the helm, find themselves scoring only 95 ppg, good for 25th in the league. Surprisingly, they are one of the better defensive teams in the league, in terms of opponent’s ppg at 97.9 ppg, good for 8th in the league.

Probable Starting Line-Ups

New York Knicks

  • PG – Beno Udrih
  • SG – J.R. Smith
  • SF – Iman Shumpert
  • PF – Carmelo Anthony
  • C – Tyson Chandler

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PG – Russell Westbrook
  • SG – Thabo Sefolosha
  • SF – Kevin Durant
  • PF – Serge Ibaka
  • C – Kendrick Perkins

3 Keys to the Game

1. Perimeter Defense – The Knicks are currently a jump shooting team that isn’t making their jump shots. That doesn’t mean that they don ‘t have gunners on their team that can’t catch fire on any given game. This will be key to the Thunder’s success in this game. Stay on the shooters and limit their opportunities at open looks.

westbrook smith thunder knicks

2. Bench play – With the Knicks bench being so decimated by injury, especially at the guard position, look for the Thunder to take advantage of this with Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, and Derek Fisher.

3. Wounded animal – Don’t discount the Knicks being at home and playing with a mentality of a wounded animal. Primetime game, MSG, prime Western Conference opponent. You can be sure the Knicks will be giving the Thunder their best shot. Hopefully, the Thunder remember the Toronto game and come out sharper for this one.

To all my readers – Thank you for your support and Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy your day with friends and family, and as always, THUNDER UP!!

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WHO DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS?

I am of the opinion that everyone should stick to what they know. Everybody has an expertise in something, not an expertise in everything. There are very few Renaissance men left. So when someone tries to venture into other arenas, this can rub people the wrong way. They will react one of two ways. They will either enjoy when you fail with the backdrop that they already knew you were going to fail. Or they will be completely surprised by the gall of someone trying to succeed at more than one thing……and actually doing it.   

Which, of course, leads us to Kevin Durant. We thought last season was the summer of Durant. He started it by almost leading the upstart Thunder to a 7th game against the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in an extremely competitive 1st round series. Then he became the poster boy for the Anti-Lebron campaign, after quietly signing his extension with no pomp and circumstances other than a heartfelt tweet. He even signed an extension with no strings attached (fully guaranteed with no player options for the entire length of the contract). Then he made guest appearances at the NBA draft and at the Orlando Summer League to represent the Thunder and show how much of a great teammate he is (and, of course, to reiterate that he is the Anti-Lebron). Then, to top it off, he led Team USA to its first World Championship gold in 16 years with the “B-team”. He did so much that you could have had this guy working the drive thru line of his offseason.   

 Lead an overachieving team…

 And then????

 Represent the team at the draft…

 And then????

 Quietly sign a max extension….

 You get the picture.

 Now, most mortals would be satisfied with that type of offseason. But, oh no! Not Durantula. Apparently last offseason was just the appetizer. Something to whet our collective palates. With an offseason with little to no activity because of the lockout, what is an NBA player to do to stay on the conscious of the masses??? You could…

A)    Win your first championship (hello, Dirk).

B)     Lose your second championship in Houdini-like fashion (hello, Lebron)

C)    Make threatening statements that you are taking your talents outside of theUS(hello, ½ of the league).

D)    Become basketball’s version of a gypsy and preach the hoops gospel at every stop.

 Well, @KDTrey5 decided to choose D. After leading the Thunder to the Western Conference finals and starting a fashion revolution (I have my backpack on right now as we speak), No. 35 decided he was going to rest up a little bit and see the world (on Nike’s dime, of course). So he visited China, did a couple basketball camps, saw the Great Wall, took some pictures (1, 2, 3), and gained about 1 billion fans. After that, with no summer league basketball on the horizon, he decided to become a one man streetball show. He literally became an overnight street legend. The street tour he did in NYC (66 in Rucker Park, shutting down a shit-talker the next day with 44 and a game winner, and averaging about 50 ppg for the weekend). Wrecking up the Goodman League in D.C. Then leading the Goodman League past the Drew League in what I’m hoping will be a yearly summer classic.

To add to the streetball legend status, he further solidified his street cred with this picture  

That would usually be a good summer for most, but then he decided to pick up, of all things, cycling. Cycling? Really? Who the hell still rides a bike? When was the last time you rode a bike? You know who rides bikes….middle-aged white men who are ultra-competitive and need to get in 35-40 miles per week. There you go….another market KD has cornered.

 And now I hear that KD is going to star in a movie. A movie? I mean, I know he has an affable personality, but I never once thought he was thespian material. But, guess what else he does if he goes through with the project in OKC? He brings in more economy to OKC. If they film this movie in OKC, they’ll need hotel space for the crew, work permits for the sets, and food for all the employees. In a time where business might dip a little if the lockout cuts into the NBA season, KD could possibly serve as a small economical conduit to bridge the time between lockout and NBA season for some OKC businesses.

 If anyone can pull it off and be successful, I’m betting my money on KD. While some people may ask, “Who does this guy think he is?”, I, in turn, ask of you, “What have you done this summer?” And this is nothing compared to what KD is planning for next offseason. Curing cancer and world hunger in the same week, anyone?