SportsNation Blog Archives Nick Collison
Kevin Durant cried after the Thunder lost the NBA Finals, and for good reason: Despite his best efforts, Oklahoma City simply couldn't challenge the Heat beyond five games. It's got to be a huge disappointment for Durant, but let's not forget that he and the rest of the Thunder's core are all quite young, which bodes well for their future as contenders. Are they at the level where they can be perennial threats to win the Finals, or do they need to consider making some changes?
A return trip?
Neither the Heat nor the Thunder is on track to lose any of their superstars in the near future.
If a few things had gone differently, the Thunder still might be playing in these Finals, which suggests they should consider standing pat.
Russell Westbrook was feast or famine in the Finals. Would Kevin Durant be more effective with a different point guard?
The list of teams that have come back to win their series after going down 3-1 in the NBA finals is short. Actually, it's nonexistent. That's probably not what the Thunder want to be thinking about after losing Game 4, especially considering the awkward fashion in which they fumbled the game away. Russell Westbrook had a costly and bizarre foul after an otherwise stellar performance, James Harden was a non-factor, and Kevin Durant started looking an awful lot like a guy who can only score. There's a first time for everything, but history is against the Thunder as they gear up for Game 5.
Russell Westbrook was unstoppable for most of the game, but seemed to think that the shot-clock had reset when he fouled Mario Chalmers with only seconds remaining.
Harden a factor?
James Harden was supposed to be the Thunder's secret weapon in these playoffs, but last night, he managed a mere eight points in 37 minutes.
LeBron James seemed to be hurting after a hard fall late in the fourth quarter, but the Heat may have just been careful with their superstar.
Thunder fans will no doubt not be happy if their team loses, especially in this fashion, but we know another fanbase that does not want to see LeBron James win a title.
It started out pretty well for the Heat: LeBron James was throwing down dunks, Shane Battier was hitting 3s, and the Thunder were having difficulty making shots. Then, gradually, without a real turning point, the Thunder came back and won. You might blame Dwyane Wade for his subpar performance. You might blame James for scoring only seven points in the fourth quarter. You could say that the Thunder's role players really stepped up. We just think it's a matter of one great team temporarily being better than another great team. Sounds like a good thing for the series to come.
LeBron or Wade?
Dwyane Wade managed just 19 points, but many point to LeBron James not stepping up in the fourth as the reason for the Heat's loss.
Should LeBron defend Durant?
Defending an offensive Swiss army knife like Kevin Durant is no small task, but it might be worth it for LeBron if it means fewer points for the Thunder.
Should Durant defend LeBron?
By the same token, defending LeBron James is a nightmare. The Thunder started with Durant but moved Thabo Sefolosha and others on James as the game progressed.
Sefolosha, Nick Collison and Derek Fisher all came up with big plays when it counted in Game 1.