Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Chesapeake Energy Arena
10:00 a.m. PST
February 8, 2015
Video of the Day
The moment you’ve all been waiting for…
1. True or False: Russell Westbrook is a legitimate MVP candidate.
Royce Young, Daily Thunder, (@royceyoung): False. For now, at least. While he’s been outrageously good, the Thunder haven’t exactly been dominant or anything when he’s played. They’re 25-25 overall but 22-15 when Westbrook’s played. Not an overwhelming difference. If the Thunder finish strong, Westbrook could catapult into the conversation.
Law Murray, (@LawMurrayTheNU): The key word here is “candidate.” Westbrook is certainly putting up MVP-type numbers at 26.2 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, 7.2 assists per game, and 2.3 steals per game. The two things working against him are what holds most candidates from winning the award: health and team status. Westbrook has already missed 14 games; no MVP has missed more than 11 games since Bill Walton in 1978. And those 77-78 Portland Trail Blazers were the best team in the NBA — right now, the Thunder wouldn’t even make the postseason.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): False, not only because of the Thunder’s mediocre record, but also because the same people who cast votes are those who’ve been whinging about Westbrook’s conduct in post-game interviews. I’m not saying it’s impossible for a surly competitor to snag an MVP — and surly Russ has been outstanding— but let’s not pretend narrative doesn’t matter with this award.
2. Finish this sentence: “The Dion Waiters experiment…”
Young: …is meh. Some nights, Waiters looks like a perfect addition, complementing Westbrook and Durant as another attacker and scorer. Other nights, he’s a net negative because of his bad shots and poor decisions. Waiters was worth the risk because of how low the Thunder bought. And if he can find consistency, he’ll add something the Thunder truly need.
Murray: … is inefficient. Waiters “fits” right into Oklahoma City’s sloppy offense, which isn’t a good thing. He’s a volume shooter who can’t really shoot, averaging 11.2 points on 11.9 shots per game in 15 appearances with the Thunder. Waiters is shooting well under 30% from 3, but he also fails to get to the free throw line, which is frustrating considering his body type. The deal has also cut Reggie Jackson off (15.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.2 APG in 32.8 MPG before Waiters trade, 8.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.3 APG in 20.1 MPG since Waiters trade).
James: .. was worth a shot (and isn’t finished yet). You’d like to see Waiters shoot better than 38 percent from the field (and 25 percent from three) but sometimes you get what you pay for. And with him you’re banking on someone who changes the course of a few games (or quarters in the playoffs) more than having a reliable roll player. If he were knocking down a few more shots each night, he’d be a tremendous value.
3.What’s the most worrisome part about the Clippers’ recent three-game slide?
Young: Lack of competitive spirit. The loss to the Nets was just bad, but those kinds of games happen throughout an 82-game schedule. But not showing up in consecutive games against the Cavs and Raptors showed a lack of focus and edge. Correctable issues, of course, but they weren’t ready to play and it showed.
Murray: The most worrisome part about the losing streak is that it finally came. I had been touting the fact that Doc Rivers never lost three straight games with this team. Cross that off the list. The team is already running on fumes and needs the All-Star break in a bad, bad way. The question is, will they go into the break losing three more games?
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