Tag: Thunder


Not much of Durant’s film shot in OKC. Thanks lockout.

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We’ve told you that Kevin Durant is going to be a movie star. Clooney-like. He’s going to the big screen in a major motion picture.

And they will not be filming much of that in Oklahoma City now. Thanks a lot lockout. The Oklahoman spells it out.

This is an economic hit to OKC — filming brings a lot of people and a lot of money to wherever a production takes place. That money is now headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The entire project couldn’t be shot in Oklahoma City because of a snag with state incentives for film production. The state of Louisiana offers a tax credit of 85 cents on the dollar, making the state a premier destination for filming. Oklahoma offers a 37 percent rebate for companies filming in the state, but the Oklahoma Film & Music Office had already run out of funding for this fiscal year.

Understand this: making movies is a business. A lucrative business, but a business nonetheless. The money you save on a production is money that impacts the bottom line. So rather than putting up all of “CSI: Miami” cast and crew in Miami for months at a time they film chunks of it near my Long Beach home and around Southern California. (It’s no longer weird to see Miami Dade police cars in my California neighborhood.) Anywhere they can approximate a Miami look.

This is no different. But it sucks for Oklahoma City.

Filming of the movie is set to start mid-September. I wish Durant having to return to his day job would screw up production, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Ibaka says he will be an All-Star soon


Hoopshype’s Jorge Sierra recently sat down with the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka for an interview, and there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. Here’s a quick excerpt:

Do you think you have the potential to be an All-Star?

SI: Yes, I see it happening in one or two years.

Playing for a team like Oklahoma City, with guys like Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, do you think you can have a bigger role offensively than you’ve had so far?

SI: Well… I feel very good about my current role. They will both help me improve my offensive game. On the defensive end, the role I have is very important for me. If one day I become an All-Star, it will not be only because of my offensive game. My job on the defensive end will count too.

Ibaka had a breakout season last year. He established himself as one of the best shot-blockers and defensive players in the league, added a mid-range jumper and made huge leaps on the offensive end, and showed some shocking athleticism when he dunked from beyond the free-throw line at the dunk contest.

He along with Kendrick Perkins make maybe the best defensive front line in the league.

For more of Ibaka’s thoughts on his upcoming free-agency, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, which player in the NBA he idolized, and his charity work in the Congo, click through and read the full interview.

Is Westbrook’s perceived ‘selfishness’ a result of Brooks?

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has caught a lot of heat over the past couple weeks for his perceived “selfish” play, with many Twitter commenters suggesting the best defense against Kevin Durant is the fact he plays with Westbrook.  And while Tuesday’s 3-for-15 shooting performance isn’t going to help Westbrook’s cause, Durant’s struggles against Memphis, or the fact he took fewer shots than Westbrook did, were necessarily the result of Westbrook being a selfish, uncontrollable gunner.  

Scott Brooks was an NBA point guard and said recently that when a team struggles, the point guard and coach will inevitably take the blame.  And while the Thunder escaped an incredibly tough series against the Grizzlies, the point guard and coach for the Thunder have indeed been under a microscope.  I am a known Westbrook apologist and predicted a Thunder vs. Heat Finals at the start of the playoffs, but even so, was irritated watching him dribble around for 20 seconds and then forcing a shot up as his four teammates stood in their designated corners and watched him work.  But was that style of play really on Westbrook, or was Brooks to blame?

After watching Durant fight like hell on defense, and then stand in a corner, literally not moving, on offensive posession after posession against Memphis, it appears that he and Westbrook were just carrying out Brooks’ orders, or ‘master plan,’ if you will.  Brooks assumed that Durant wasn’t going to be able to create or be effective on offense with Tony Allen and Shane Battier draped over him, and thought that moving him out to the boonies would clear space for Westbrook to drive and create his own shots.  So while Westbrook was looking like the most selfish gunner of all time, I feel fairly confident that he was just carrying out orders from his coach.  In other words, Brooks thought his best chance to win was to with the ball in Westbrook’s hands at all times.

And now that Durant is free from the restraints of Allen and the Memphis D, maybe things will return to normal for the Thunder. Which means Westbrook will take his standard 17 shots per game, Durant will get his 20 shots, and the Thunder will give the Mavericks all they can handle.  Dirk Nowitzki gave the Thunder all they could handle in Game 1, putting on one of the great all-time individual playoff performances we’ve ever seen, yet the Thunder were still hanging around at the end – despite all of Westbrook’s misfiring.  And you have to give Brooks some credit for throwing his whole team, as well as the kitchen sink, at Dirk last night.  Durant, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins and James Harden all tried (and failed) to stop Dirk, while I think I might have even seen Shawn Kemp and Jack Sikma out there at one point trying to slow him down. 

I didn’t necessarily appreciate the coaching job Brooks did against the Grizzlies, and am not sure anyone did, but I think I at least understand it (although Harden should have started over Sefolosha that entire series, which is probably a topic for another time).  Now he’s got a whole new set of problems on his hands, starting with stopping Dirk.  The Twitter world might say that it’s too bad Westbrook doesn’t play alongside Dirk, or maybe all of Brooks’ problems would be solved.  But one thing is clear after Game 1.  Rick Carlisle is going to make sure that his best player is option No. 1 (and 2), regardless of who is trying to guard him.  And we can only hope that Brooks makes sure that Durant, and not Westbrook, is his No. 1 option going forward.