NBA has OKC #3: (2) Reggie Jackson is the back-up point guard du jour for the Thunder. Individually, he’s played better than Eric Maynor, but the Thunder’s efficiency numbers are better with Maynor on the floor. As long as Russell Westbrook is scoring as efficiently as he has the last five games (25.6 points per game on 52 percent shooting), the identity of his backup doesn’t matter much.
ESPN thinks OKC is Second: (2) Tough to move the Thunder up after the shock of (A) OKC getting spanked at home by the Nets and (B) Kevin Durant getting ejected near the end of that spanking. Can’t get too worked up about it, though, when KD & Co. are 17-3 in their last 20 games and 23-1 when they score 100 points.
FoxSports says OKC is #2: (2)A loss to Wizards will usually drop you in rankings (just ask Heat). But at least Kevin Durant has pledged not to get thrown out anymore. That means Thunder have a chance to beat anyone, anywhere, anytime.
CBS has OKC #2: (2) Climbed back on top before Monday, then slipped on a Wizards banana peel and collapsed down the mountain.
OKC rises to #1 at USA Today: (2) Kevin Durant does not lead the NBA in scoring but does lead in smiles.
SB Nation drops OKC to #3: (2) OKC’s got a whale of a January schedule ahead. The strength of schedule doesn’t look too terrible, but 10 of the next 12 games are on the road, where the Thunder are 9-4 thus far. This is a good time for Russell Westbrook to relocate his scoring touch after a mid-December slump.
OKC Jumps to #1: (2) They move up despite a sloppy loss to the Nets midweek. Their defense has been a little better of late which keeps them winning most nights. OKC has 10 of their next 12 on the road including an interesting game Friday night when they travel to L.A. to face Lakers.
SI has OKC at #2: (3) The Thunder put their humbling loss to the Wizards behind them with a feel-good win against Minnesota, the team that started their recent three-week slump, in which they suffered four of their eight losses. Oklahoma City will always be known for its offense, but it was its defense that keyed the Minnesota victory and impressed Rob Mahoney of The Point Forward. Mahoney explained that Oklahoma City’s “selective-switching” defense can fluster teams and he pointed out that its athletic big men are actually more flexible on defense than people think. Indeed, the Thunder rank sixth in points allowed per possession.
Sporting News moves OKC to #1 too: (2) Have to wonder if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had flashbacks during that loss to P.J. Carlesimo’s Nets last week. Carlesimo was 1-12 as a head coach in OKC.