Starting 5: Stern’s Linfection, OKC’s pretty good (so are the Spurs) & CP3 is staying put

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Every morning, we’ll give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.

1:  Even David Stern has been Linfected

Sorry.  As a paid member of the media, I’m contractually obligated to make one Lin pun a day for the rest of the month.  

Not one to miss a promotable moment, David Stern has now also weighed in on the Jeremy Lin phenomenon.

“I haven’t done a computation, but it’s fair to say that no player has created the interest and the frenzy in this short period of time, in any sport, that I’m aware of like Jeremy Lin has,” Stern said Thursday.

Lin is the perfect storm.  Kid about to get cut, major market team struggling, gets tossed in out of desperation and leads them to a winning streak.  Toss in the ancillary stuff like going to Harvard, being an Asian-American… which brought the international media into the fray… and you’ve got a mix of ingredients to this story that we’ve never really seen before. 

The story is so shocking, the NBA hasn’t even really taken advantage if it in its marketing campaigns.  I guarantee you the Jeremy Lin “Big” commercial will be in some NBA Entertainment editing room this weekend.  It’s coming.

2:  This just in… Oklahoma City is pretty good

The Thunder are beating everyone at the moment, going into the break tied with Miami for the best record in the league.  Last night they beat the Lakers in a win that demonstrated why they’re fulfilling their destiny (so far) as the West’s best.  

  • Superstar carrying the team?  Check
  • Multiple scoring options beyond the star?  Check
  • Staunch defense that protects the rim?  Check
  • Productive bench that maintains a lead?  Check

 It was all on display last night.  Holding Andrew Bynum to 5-15 shooting is the most impressive stat, because when Bynum gets going, the Lakers can be hard to stop.  Miami is scary good, but OKC is putting it all together.  It’s hard to argue against an OKC/Miami matchup… and it’s hard not to get excited about it either.

3:  HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Westbrook and Durant manage to hit a pair of back-to-back buzzer beaters 


   

LeBron sneaks by some horrible pick & roll D for the alley oop


 

Andrew Bynum goes baseline for the wrap-around slam

4:  Line of the Night:  DeJuan Blair – 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

DeJaun’s career high 28 helped the Spurs get back on track after a 40-point lay-down when they rested everyone against Portland.  The Spurs have now won 12 of 13 and after the All Star break, they start a seven game home stand. And oh, by the way, the Spurs are 13-1 at home.  When do the Spurs get noticed by the rest of the NBA?  And do they even care to?

5:  You can quote me on that

“It’s cool that we’re winning games but we can’t be complacent.  We’ve been on a good roll lately. We’ve got to just keep working hard. It’s not over yet. We’re glad we’re going into the break with some wins but I think it’s important for us to come out of the break with some energy and some momentum.”
     - Kevin Durant 

“[The decision] didn’t take long.  It didn’t take long at all. When you go to play somewhere for a season, it always helps to be around good people. Blake Griffin definitely changed the culture around here, and DeAndre Jordan, this is a great group of guys. Not only is basketball going well, but this is a great group of guys.”
     Chris Paul, on why he will pick up his option and stay with the Clippers 

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