25 January 2011
Have you all heard that expression, "Whats good for the goose is good for the gander?" I never really understood this saying. I knew what it meant, but I had no idea that a gander was a male goose. I thought they were both just called geese. How many people go around talking about ganders? Really?
But even though I always understood it's meaning, I never bought into the whole theory. Just because something is good for someone, why is it necessarily good for someone else as well? The bottom line is that it isn't, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just fooling themselves.
Take last night, for example. The New Orleans Hornets and Oklahoma City Thunder were tied at 89 with about 10 seconds left. The Hornets are a very strong team at home, so this could have been a huge road win for the Thunder, had it not been for that damn gander.
In this story, the role of gander will be played by David West.
New Orleans got the inbound pass into West, who posted on Serge Ibaka. After holding the ball facing the hoop, West was able to create some space between himself and the defender by lowering his elbow into Ibaka's chest. He followed that up with a fall away jumper that would give the Hornets the win with just a half a second remaining. Oklahoma City could do nothing with their final possession.
If you recall their last game, the Thunder were able to defeat the New York Knicks with a buzzer beating fall away three pointer by Kevin Durant.
Therefore, if you are still following our little story, that would make Durant the goose.
Unfortunately, this is nothing knew for West when it comes to Oklahoma City. Now to follow this part, you really have to pay attention.
West never played for the Thunder. He also never hit a game winner against the franchise either. So just where in the world am I going? Keep reading.
If you go back to the 2005-2006 NBA season, the Hornets were playing their home games in Oklahoma City due to Hurricane Katrina. If you're completely new to this game, that was able to take place because the Thunder's franchise was still calling Seattle their home and referring to themselves as the Super Sonics.
Confused? I can't say that I blame you.
So West, although a member of the Hornets, hit three last second shots for game winners while playing his home games at the Ford Center.. for the Hornets.
That concludes that portion of our story.
This game was all about each team making runs and taking the lead. The Thunder got off to a great start to take a 33-19 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter. But in the second quarter, the Hornets outscored the Thunder 31-12 to take a five point lead into the half. Oklahoma City outscored New Orleans by five in the third quarter, so it was fitting that the game came down to the final seconds. This one just happened to finish the wrong way in comparison to the last game.
Durant was held to 22 points, but that was not the biggest difference. Russell Westbrook finished with 18 point and 10 assists, while Jeff Green rebounded with a big 19 point, 7 rebound performance. West finished with 20 points, while Chris Paul dropped 24 points and 9 assists. But those were not some of the greatest differences either.
Each team shot fairly similar from the free throw and three point line, while the Thunder outrebounded the Hornets 41-33. But if I were to look at a couple of categories that caused the biggest separation last night, it would be the turnover to steal ratio. The Thunder turned the ball over 17 times and recorded just 2 steals. The Hornets turned the ball over just 10 times, yet were able to pick up 9 steals. That led to 27 points for the home team.
Up next for Oklahoma City are two fairly winnable games. In fact, they are very winnable. They will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road on Wednesday night and then host the Washington Wizards at home on Friday night. The Timberwolves are just 8-13 at home, while the Wizards are still winless (0-21) on the road.
But following that somewhat easy two game stretch, it really gets tough for the Thunder. This is when you have to hope that when the going gets tough, the Thunder get rolling - and not going - like Jay Cutler.
Sorry, I just had to throw that one in there for everyone.
The Thunder will have a very challenging schedule over the next week or so, including their first game against the new look Miami Heat at home, a home rematch with the Hornets, two road battles with the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz and then a home game against the Memphis Grizzlies and Zach Randolph - again!
This could be when we find out just what type of team this will be as the season progresses.
* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24, as he was named One of the Most 1,000 Influential Sports Writers on Twitter.
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