SportsNation Blog Archives Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron, Durant in tight MVP race
We might have ourselves an NBA MVP race after all. Long considered a firm second behind the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant, LeBron James poured in a career-high and Miami Heat-record 61 points on Monday night against the Charlotte Bobcats -- Miami's eighth straight win. James still trails Durant in scoring and player efficiency rating, but the Heat (43-14) now sit above the Thunder (45-15) in the overall standings. Who gets your vote today? Who will win it in the end?
pollcenter:category=5090+lebron,durantintightmvpraceMark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports
Struggles for Russell Westbrook?
It's just two games, but they haven't been pretty. Since Russell Westbrook returned to the Oklahoma City Thunder's lineup, the West's No. 1 team has lost twice at home -- Thursday in blowout fashion to the Miami Heat, and Sunday in a closer game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Further highlighting the correlation has been Westbrook's play; he's scored just 29 points on 7-of-25 shooting, with eight assists and seven turnovers. Again, it's a very, very small sample. But OKC was rolling before it welcomed back this All-Star ...
pollcenter:category=5059+strugglesforrussellwestbrook?Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports
Heat hammer Thunder in OKC
It's one game, it's one game, it's one game. But when opposite-conference teams play just twice during a long NBA season, it's hard not to read at least a little something into major matchups. Which brings us to Thursday, when the Miami Heat traveled to Oklahoma City, and slammed the Thunder 103-81.
The top individual battle, too, was intriguing, with LeBron James (33 points on 22 shots) getting the better of sudden MVP favorite Kevin Durant (28 points on 22 shots) -- all despite leaving with 5:50 left after getting smacked in the face while dunking on Serge Ibaka. The Heat's performance was so overwhelming, it overshadowed the return of Russell Westbrook, out since Christmas with a knee injury (Westbrook scored 16 points in 24 minutes, but had four turnovers to just two assists). Let's not forget, though, that a Westbrook-less Thunder smashed Miami 112-95 in South Florida less than a month ago.
Kevin Durant's nickname?
Can we all agree that you're not allowed to just up and give yourself a nickname? The whole point of a nickname is that it reflects what other people think of you, not what you think of yourself. That's our main objection to Kevin Durant saying he likes "The Servant" as a nickname for himself. Durant told Grantland's Bill Simmons of the nickname during a recent interview, saying he didn't like the nickname "Slim Reaper." It's too bad, honestly. You'd think a variation of "Grim Reaper" would come up more often as a sports nickname.
pollcenter:category=5042+kevindurant'snickname?Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA second half predictions
Mathematically, the NBA passed its halfway mark some time ago. Unofficially, the second half of the season doesn't begin until after the All-Star break. And with that behind us, it's time to look ahead. Will the Indiana Pacers finally end the Miami Heat's reign as Eastern Conference champions? Will the Oklahoma City Thunder -- with Russell Westbrook coming back Thursday, according to Kevin Durant -- rule the West and, ultimately, the league? Cast your votes below!