Rockets-Thunder Game 5: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Categories: Sports


4. Kevin Durant
The box score will make it look like Durant did his best to carry the Thunder (11-23 from the field, 13-16 from the line, 36 points), and maybe he did. Maybe sans Russell Westbrook, this was his best. If that's the case, just know that Durant's best included a fourth quarter in which he took two shots in the first 9 1/2 minutes. TWO SHOTS. And he was on the floor the whole time. Can you name one marquee scorer who would only take two shots with his team trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter of a crucial playoff game? You can't. The gap between LeBron and Durant is much bigger than the gap between Jordan and any of the guys who played the role of "second best in the league" back in the 90's. I stand by that, and that dynamic was on display last night.

3. Scott Brooks
That said, there were entire possessions throughout the second half that the Thunder would go down the floor on offense and Durant wouldn't even touch the ball. Every possession that went something like "Jackson dribbles, hands off to Sefolosha who gives to Ibaka, Ibaka with a fifteen footer...CLANK", that's a win for the Rockets. And every one of those Durant-less possessions is further fodder for anyone who thinks Scott Brooks should be fired.

2. Kendrick Perkins
In honor of Perkins penchant for starting the game and then winding up with only about 15 minutes of playing time seemingly every night, I will keep this one short: what the fuck does Kendrick Perkins do that earns him a chair in a soup kitchen, much less $8 million from an NBA team? Seriously, tell me. I don't know one thing he does average, forget doing it well.

1. Kevin Martin
It's funny, in the games earlier in the series, Kevin Martin's pattern had been decidedly, well, Kevin Martin-ian, scoring efficiently early in the game and/or with the Thunder holding a big lead, and then disappearing late in games when the Thunder were barely holding on. It's what Kevin Martin does. It's what he's always done. His entire game consists of scoring meaningless points off of spot up jumpers and the occasional dribble drive where he flails his body in the air like he was shot by a sniper in the third deck. Kevin Martin, bitch ball specialist. Well, on Wednesday, he decided to cut out the middleman and just suck the entire time. 1 for 10 from the field, 0 for 6 from three point range, and trust me, there is no player in the NBA where you can be more truthful than Martin when you say "If he's not scoring, he's useless on the floor."

Non-scoring Kevin Martin is useless. Scoring Kevin Martin barely has use.

I can't wait to boo him in Game 6 Friday night.

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FattyFatBastard topcommenter

The Wall Street Journal believes that Jordan wasn't even the best player of his era.  Media can do weird things to folks.  Remember that Jordan couldn't win without Grant, (the argument that he wasn't "ready" in 95 is invalid.  He was still getting 30+ in the playoffs) and Stern had to weasel Rodman out of San Antonio for nothing and subsequently guarantee them the first pick in the draft for Jordan to continue his success. That trade was so lopsided it was laughable.  Stern doesn't do that, and Jordan is exactly like what Durant was last night.  Jordan was a whiner.  Fortunately for him, his marketing for the NBA was through the roof.  Always amazing to me that folks didn't see it.


The second best during Jordan's 6 title years was either Barkley (93 MVP) or Malone (97 MVP).  Jordan was MVP the other 4 years.  If you believe that Jordan is better than LeBron, then you have to believe that either Barkley or Malone was better than Durant.  If you do not believe this then your statement cannot be true. 


@kevin I think LeBron right now is playing at a level that at least matches Jordan's best. I"m not saying LeBron's body of work is better than Michael's, I'm just talking about the gap between 2013 LeBron and 2013 Durant. BTW, who says that I think Barkley or Malone was second best during the entirety of Michael's career? I think during 80's, 2nd best would be Bird or Magic, early/mid 90's could be Hakeem (Malone is right there, too). Durant is clearly behind the 80's guys, also behind Hakeem, and you'd have a tough argument against Malone.


Do you think that there is a year where you can say that MJ was #1 and either Magic, Bird, or Hakeem was clearly number 2? I could not think of one. That's why I picked Barkley and Malone. In the 92-93 season MJ was the best player but Barkley won the MVP.  In the 96-97 season MJ was the best player but Malone won the MVP.  That's why I picked those two.  It's not a perfect methodolgy, but I think that it's hard to come up with a better way to pick who was #2.

Anyway, after further consideration, I think that arguing when the biggest difference between #1 and #2 occurred is a pointless endeavor. We aren't just arguing one player vs another player.  We are arguing the relative position of 3 known players and one unknown player.  I really enjoy your afternoon show. Let's hope 1560 keeps you and John together for longer than a couple of months.


Sean, I think in your post you said "during the 90s" so perhaps that's where Kevin's getting his "title years" range.  Certainly a lot of guys to choose from, Barkley, Malone, Hakeem, D Robinson, all of whom are quite a bit better than Durant right now.   To expand it to the course of MJ's career - Bird was in decline (missed almost an entire year to injury) in the late 80s, so I wouldn't consider him, but Magic was practically 1a to MJ's 1.

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