The big stories from week 16 in the NBA created enough material for 3 seasons of a poorly written day time soap opera. A former NBA enforcer was ejected from the Garden, lots of people in Oklahoma City wore cupcake shirts, and Phil Jackson is tweeting like an old entitled wealthy man who doesn’t know how the internet works.
As always we start with the triple double update. Westbrook earned his 26th triple double of the season this week. His assist average is getting closer and closer to single digits, but it looks like he is going to be averaging a triple double going into the all-star break. I actually watched some basketball this week on Thursday when the Thunder played the Cavs. As I watched the first quarter of that game, I was amazed by how many rebounds Westbrook collected as a guard. The dude always seemed to be under the rim next to guys much larger than him but he had no issue with obtaining the rebound.
Everybody knows that OKC had a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals over the record setting Golden State Warriors last year. The Thunder only had to win one game out of 3 to upset the best team in the NBA, something they weren’t able to accomplish. Durant was a free agent last summer and instead of rejoining the organization he has played for his entire career, he jumped ship and signed with the team that beat him in the conference finals, the Warriors. Regardless of what you think about his signing, you knew his return to OKC to play against the super angry triple double machine Russell Westbrook was going to be highly publicized. Westbrook and Durant reportedly haven’t talked since free agency last year. Ever since Westbrook has been on a hate fueled rampage on the court and has given subtle hints at his feud with Durant off the court.
Durant announced his signing with the Warriors on the 4th of July last summer. On that same day Westbrook posted a photo on Instagram of some patriotic cupcakes. Rumor has it that the cupcake photo was a subtle way of throwing shade at Durant as calling soft players cupcakes was, and still is, a thing in the OKC locker room. Ironically this term was coined by Kendrick Perkins when he played for the Thunder, a man who crushed many cupcakes in his day.
The OKC crowd used this cupcake moniker as a method to express their disappointment with Durant. Most of the crowd was wearing a cheaply printed shirt with a cupcake on it or a shirt that says KOWARD with the K and the D in a different color. The upset OKC fan didn’t have a lot of impact on the game as they were crushed by the historically good Warriors.
The most notable event of the night was a verbal exchange between Westbrook and Durant. As the two players passed each other at mid court going to their own benches, Westbrook shouted at Durant emphatically, “I’m coming!” Westbrook was walking backwards and had a lot of emotion behind his statement. Durant responded cool and calmly with, “you’re losing.” A perfect comeback from Durant. The broken arm sporting Kanter hilariously charged towards Durant from the bench in an expensive suit to support his teammate.
The dumpster fire analogy was created for organizations like the New York Knicks. They gave huge contracts to old broken players such as Rose and Noah who are taking away crucial development time from Porzingis. To make things worse, Melo and team president Phil Jackson are not getting along. It has been known that Jackson wants to trade Melo but is unable to as there is a no trade clause in his contract. This has forced Jackson to do the only thing a well-respected and accomplished man in the basketball world can do; subtweet Melo over the internet.
Personnel issues aside, the Knicks had even more drama this week. Charles Oakley was ejected from the crowd in a highly public manner last Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Oakley played for the Knicks for 10 years and is famous for being trill and not tolerating any bullshit. He bought tickets to the Clippers/Knicks game, sat down in his seat for about 4 minutes and then was escorted out of the facility Garden by 12 security guards and a police officer who eventually put him in had cuffs. Knicks owner James Dolan has been feuding with Oakley for years, released a public statement and appeared on the Michael Kay radio show claiming that Oakley was verbally and physically abusive and implied that Oakley has a drinking problem.
Dolan is a fuck. He actually said the sentence “he may have a drinking problem, we don’t know” which is completely irresponsible. Everyone, and I mean everyone sided with Oakley on this situation (LeBron James and Chris Paul most notably). Dolan banned Oakley from the Garden after the incident and before the conflict went through the legal process, a conference call with commissioner Adam Silver, James Dolan, Charles Oakley, and Michael Jordan (he is a close friend with Oakley) ended the feud and the Oakley ban was lifted. What a stupid but yet fascinating situation.
Carmelo Anthony passed Charles Barkley for 25th all-time in career points scored and Dirk moved to 10th all-time in total career field goals made.
LeBron called Frank Isola and his article trash in his new crusade to be an unapologetic anti-media public figure. He also hit one of the more impressive shots of his career last Monday against the Wizards to send the game into overtime. The fade away contested bank three pointer was dope, but the pass from Kevin Love that wen the length of the court without hitting the ground to give LeBron enough time to make the shot was more impressive. I don’t think Brady and Rodgers could have thrown a football that accurately; well they could but Loves passing ability is among the best in the league.
Heat are Cold
The Miami Heat’s win streak ended at 13 games in a loss to the 76ers on Saturday night.
Draymond Green recorded a triple double with only 4 points, Jabari Parker blew out an ACL for the second time and is out for the rest of the season, Bazemore is a Trump supporter, and Portland traded Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second round pick to Denver for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round pick which used to be the Memphis pick and is top five protected.