The Thunder lost to the Lakers in the Staples Center, a scene complete with dignitaries in front court seats wearing shades indoors, a Kevin Durant Welcome To The Playoffs career progression moment, and a reconfirmation of my Jeff Green Thesis.
First, Mr. Green. The Thunder are only playing the Lakers because Marcus Camby made Green his Aggie and I had to sit through watching Pau Gasol do the same (19-13-3, 3 blocks). Green is allergic to the paint and Pau Gasol is sprinkled with pollen. Watching Green actively avoid rebounding has gotten old. Green's offensive game is entirely predicated on Durant and Westbrook creating wide open looks and easy finishes, and his production is attainable in the NBA for 1/3 the cost of his contract renewal this off-season.
If he were a true "3 playing 4" he'd punish Gasol on the other end. Instead: 10 points on 4/12 shooting, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, poor defense. In 42 minutes of play.
In other news, the Lakers are huge, Bynum is healthy, Kobe Bryant does everything that needs doing, and they had a great plan for playing Durant. Lots of combo zone/man principles, all set up to deprive Durant of his spots, with Artest playing the role of gadfly with a drag queen dye job
There is some hope. The Thunder showed that they can roll the Lakers if they can get in transition with pace and Westbrook continues to treat Derek Fisher as a revolving door.
In other news, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki are really good. Is Tim Duncan the greatest power forward of all time? I say yes. Dirk gets into that conversation if the Mavs can win a couple of titles emerging from the stacked West.
The Texas Longhorns, third only to crickets and fruit bats as an existential threat to Aggie athletics programs, did what they wanted this weekend.
In a Roethlisbergerian sense.
This gave us a valuable point in the Lone Star Showdown, a contest designed for embattled athletic directors who communicate at a 4th grade level to deceive their fanbase that co-ed jai alai is as important as football, basketball, and baseball.
The Aggies played well in Austin in an extra inning 4-3 loss, and then lost the next two games in College Station by a combined score of 22-0, while managing more errors than base hits. And an enviable streak of 22 scoreless innings. Olsen Field also featured numerous empty aluminum seats, part of a Hide N Seek Crowd Promotion. Well played, Aggies. I hardly saw any of you on Sunday.
After watching A&M defensively, I'll never take Augie's commitment to that aspect of baseball for granted. His attention to detail is really what separates us from so many programs.
As absurdly good as Jungmann was on Friday, Cole Green pitched a one-hitter shutout complete game Saturday, and Workman limped in with mere a four hit shutout complete game on Sunday. Our bullpen was bored lighting farts and killing crickets.
Brandon Loy's defense is just terrific. Dude can't hit, but I don't care.
We have six batters that can punish a pitching mistake with extra bases. With Keyes coming on, we've got power up and down the lineup, and even our more limited hitters like Lusson and Etier can put one in the parking lot if you disrespect them. One example of that disrespect would be to have an Aggie pitch to them.
The Kansas State series - our rural Kansas JUCO kryptonite - in Manhattan is the only possible impediment to another Big 12 Title.
BIG 12 STANDINGS (thru 4/18)
Big 12 Overall
Texas 13-2-0 .867 30-7
Kansas State 9-3-0 .750 26-8
Texas Tech 8-7-0 .533 20-19
Oklahoma 6-7-0 .462 26-10
Kansas 5-6-1 .458 22-14-1
Texas A&M 6-8-1 .433 20-14-1
Baylor 5-8-0 .385 21-14
Oklahoma State 5-7-0 .364 21-13
Missouri 4-8-0 .333 19-16
Nebraska 5-10-0 .333 18-18
Viva Nigeria Diaspora
Lastly, Viva Acho Uno Ocho and Acho Ocho Uno.