It stands to reason that most folks in these parts are rooting for the San Antonio Spurs to beat the heat for the NBA Championship.
Thunder fans probably don't see to see LeBron and Company win another title and a lot of pro basketball fans here were fans of the Spurs before the Sonics moved to town and became the Thunder.
With a dominating win last night in San Antonio the Spurs are now just one win away from their 5th NBA title. But the next two games are scheduled for Miami and since the Heat have't lost consecutive games since early January it sure oooks as though this series is heading for a Game 7.
Game 6 is tomorrow night in south Florida and then Game 7 would be Thursday night. Should be a fun couple of games ahead.
The Thunder are sure keeping the lid on what players they've invited in for workouts leading up to next week's NBA draft. That's not all that surprising, the Thunder have never released names of players who've been in and have never allowed the media to interview them unless we've come up with it on our own.
Many teams send out all that information and for most of the few who don't usually the players themselves start talking about who they've woprked out for or what teams they will be showing off their games to.
So far even that hasn't happened with the Thunder. We assume the team's brought in several players they may have a shot at with that 12th overakll pick and even some they might be interested in grabbing later in the draft.
Since we don't know who's been brought in, it's kinda hard to figure what the team may be thinking leading up to the draft. The Thunder could go any number of ways. Most fans are probably thinking big man and there are a couple good ones who might be available at #12 but the Thunder could also grab a shooting guard or even a point guard with that pick too.
A trade up or a trade down has also probably been discussed.
These mysteries aren't likely to be solved until draft night. The players chosen could then give us some pretty good clues as to what the Thunder might do as far as free agency is concerned and whether they might try to bring back Kevin Martin.
Should be an interesting late June and July for OKC hoops fans.
The Heat's hot again. LeBron James got a little help from his friends, especially Dwyane Wade, and cruised past the San Anotnio Spurs last night 109-93.
James scored 33 points last night and Wade added 32, that combo proved too potent for the Spurs to overcome. The Heat used a big second half to pull away, the game had been tied at halftime.
With the win Miami still hasn't lost two games since early January. The series is now tied 2-2 and Game 5 will be played Sunday in San Antonio before the series shifts back to South Beach. If the Spurs are going to win the title they will have to win at least one game on road.
Former Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks says he's ready for the challenge that is the Detroit Pistons. Cheeks spoke with reporters yesterday after being formally introduced as the Pistons fourth coach in the last six years.
Cheeks was asked if that apparent revolving door in the head coach's office concerned him, " if we all thought like that none of us would be coaches," he responded.
Cheeks has previously been the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Philadelphia 76ers. He's been here in Oklahoma City as an assistant to Scott Brooks.
Brooks hasn't spoken to reporters since Cheeks left the staff and hasn't given any indication what he plans to do about filling that job opening, whether promoting someone within the basketball operations staff or bringing in someone new.
Cheeks was mostly responsible for coaching point guards with the Thunder and has been credited with the development of Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Eric Maynor.
The reigning NBA Coach of the Year, the now fired George Karl, blasted his former bosses with the Denver Nuggets yesterday. Karl told the Denver Post, "I never had a meeting where there was disappointment voiced to me. I'm sorry 57 wins isn't enough to make them happy. I think it was a special season because of the connection this team has with each other and with the coaching staff and with the city. And now to blow up that connection now is in my opinion extremely disrespectful to coaching."
Karl has been mentioned in connection with both the Clippers and the Grizzlies head coaching jobs.
Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks is leaving ther Thunder to take over as head coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Cheeks had a third interview with Pistons owner Tom Gores over the weekend and that apparently sealed the deal. The Pistons had also strongly been considering former Portland Trail Blazer head coach Nate McMillan.
Cheeks is also a former Blazers head coach and he also headed up the Philadelphia 76ers. Cheeks has been with the Thunder for four seasons after being hired by Scott Brooks after Brooks took over the fired P.J. Carlesimo.
Brooks now has some options to consider as far as replacing Cheeks. He could move all his current assistants up a spot and maybe promote one of the members of the basketball staff to an assistant coaching spot. Or bring in someone new.
Brooks is very loyal to his current staff bvut since Cheeks was a former head coach in the NBA there may be some pressure on Brooks to bring in another former head coach.
Kurt Rambis, who now works for ESPN, was head coach in Minnesota and spent several years on Phil Jackson's Lakers staff. Rambis has spent some time in the past at the Thunder practice facility.
But if Brooks decides to bring in someone new he may very well wait to see how things settle out as far as former head coaches go and top assistants.
Speaking of new former head caoches you can add Lionel Hollins name to that list. Hollins has now been told his contract will not be renewed and that he's basically been fired. This after Hollins led the Grizzlies to the franchise's best finish by making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
But Hollins and Griz management did not see eye-to-eye on several basketball related issues and Hollins at times openly criticized his bosses.
Recently it seemed some of that had been smoothed over but obviously not. The Grizzlies are expected to promote lead assistant Dave Jaeger to head coach.
Coming into last night's game with the Spurs the Miami heat hadn't lost two straight games since early January and after last night's game they still haven't.
Think about that. Miami hasn't lost two straight games since the first part of January. Yikes.
The Spurs were right there with them until suddenly they weren't. A 33-5 run by the Heat put away the guys from San Antonio. During that run the Spurs must have felt a little like the heroes of The Alamo, outnumbered about 5,000 to 1.
Of course most everyone figured the Heat would bounce back and win Game Two of The Finals but pretty much no one expected the thing to be blown apart.
Now the Spurs will try to figure out what went wrong and get ready for Game Three which is coming right up tomorrow night. The good thing, for Spurs fans at least, is that the next three games will be played in San Antonio.
No further word coming out of Detroit on the future of Thunder assistant coach Mo Cheeks.
Several media outlets both in Detroit and nationally reported Thursday and Friday that Cheeks was not only the leading candidate to replace the fired Lawrence Frank, he was about to be offered the job.
Some reported the two sides were already in contract negotiations.
Over the weekend though only the sound of crickets could be heard coming from the Motor City. It still appears though that it's Cheeks job if he wants it.
The Brooklyn Nets are looking for a head coach too and now the just retired Jason Kidd wants to throw his hat into the ring. No question about Kidd's basketball IQ but the fact that he's only been retired for a short time and hasn't spent time coaching at all would lead you to believe the Nets will say thanks but no thanks. There will be a lot of staff shakeups though with all the firings and hirings so he could very well wind up as an assistant on someone's staff, maybe even the guy who eventually gets the Nets job.
TNT's Kenny Smith has been talking to the Sacramento Kings about taking over as general manager. The Kings are not going to re-sign current GM Geoff Petrie when his contract ends at the end of the month.
Smith played in Sacramento back in the day and admits he and the Kings new ownership have "been talking" about the GM job.
The Oklahoma City Thunder coaching staff has been about as steady and consistent as can be during the tenure of head coach Scott Brooks but that may be about to change.
Lead assistant Maurice Cheeks is believed to be close to closing a deal to become head coach of the Detroit Pistons, it would be Cheeks third head coaching job in the NBA.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Cheeks is the front-runner to replace Lawrence Frank who was fired in April.
Cheeks has largely been responsible for the development of All-Star Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and his backup Reggie Jackson.
If Cheeks leaves for the Pistons, Brooks would be in the market for a lead assistant and could very well promote from within. Both assistant Brian Keefe and Rex Kalamian are highly thought of and Keefe has even been mentioned as a future head coach candidate in the NBA.
Both Keefe and Kalamian have also worked with Thunder guards. Mo Cheeks could close his deal with the Pistons this weekend or early next week.
SPURS BEAT THE HEAT
The San Antonio Spurs are continuing their streak of winning the first game of an NBA Finals series. After beating the Heat in Miami last night San Antone is 5-0 in Game Ones of The Finals.
In fact the Spurs have never lost a Finals series, winning the Championship all four of the previous times they've played in it.
Of course we in Oklahoma City know all too well that winning Game One doesn't guarantee anything. The Thunder took Game One last season but then lost five straight to lose the series.
The difference this season is that the Spurs took Game One on the road and will play three of the next four at home. It was just the opposite for the Thunder last season.
Next week, we'll start to breakdown some of the players who might be available to the Thunder in the NBA Draft at the end of the month.
Usually in this space we write about points and rebounds and free agents and injured knees.
This column will be a bit different.
Sunday and Monday many Oklahomans suffered through horrific hours dealing with tornadoes. Two people were killed in their homes on Sunday and dozens of other folks were injured and many more lost pretty much everything they had when it comes to property.
Then Monday things went from bad to worse when that giant tornado followed a well worn path through Moore, following much the same route as two previous twisters over the last 14 years.
24 people lost their lives in that monster, including nine children.
Our NBA team and its players are putting their collective arms around the community.
The Thunder organization is donating $1 million dollars to the Red Cross and Salvation Army to help with relief efforts and Thunder superstar Kevin Durant is writing a check for another million bucks.
Even though he grew up just outside Washington, DC and went to school at the University of Texas, Durant considers Oklahoma City home now and he new immediately after the twister hit that he had to do something.
Writing a check with a bunch of zeroes seemed to make the most sense so K.D. didn't hesitate to hand out the biggest assist of his career.
His teammates are donating money also and their time. Not all of the Thunder players are still in Oklahoma City, many of left to either go back to their off-season homes or go on vacation.
But Russell Westbrook is still in town and so is Hasheem Thabeet and so is DeAndre Liggins. All three of them spent time yesterday visiting with tornado victims at OU Medical Center.
They spent most of their time visiting with the youngest victims, several children remain hospitalized with injuries.
Westbrook and his Thunder buddies helped put a lot of smiles on a lot faces.
The NBA Players Association is also stepping up and handing over a big check. The NBPA is also donating $1 million to the relief efforts.
Several individual players including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Andre Iguodala have made personal donations to the Red Cross and are urging others to do the same.
We'll get back to points and rebounds, free agents and draft choices soon...right now though it's all about assists.