There was afternoon basketball on Sunday, with the Thunder tipping off in Toronto against the Raptors at 1 p.m. Eastern.
Toronto hosts more of these early starts than any team in the league, but it didn’t bother the Thunder as they improved their league-best record to 26-7 with a 104-92 victory.
Kevin Durant finished with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting, and he made sure to have some fun along the way.
Late in the fourth quarter, Durant finds himself isolated on the perimeter with DeMar DeRozan defending. After putting the ball through his legs, he crosses DeRozan not once, but twice before exploding past him into the lane for the easy bucket.
The scariest part about Durant is that his overall game is getting stronger, and he’s becoming a more complete player with each passing season. The improvement in both his passing and ball-handling has been evident on a nightly basis, and DeRozan was simply the latest victim of Durant’s devastating skill set.
76ers on blocking anthem singer wearing ‘WE MATTER’ jersey: ‘We use our games to bring people together’
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
This is a continuation of Carmelo Anthony‘s argument: The emphasis should be on action in communities and there’s no longer a place for gestures like Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
Sevyn Streeter says 76ers prevented her from performing national anthem due to ‘WE MATTER’ jersey
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.