The Oklahoma City Thunder own the best record in the NBA at 24-7. But there is minor panic down here concerning the defending Western Conference champs.
See, the Thunder has won only half of their past six games and they did get blitzed, 110-93, Wednesday by the visiting Brooklyn Nets. According to local reports, there have been a couple of spots in recent games in which the team hasn't played particularly well.
If only the Sixers had such minor concerns. It was funny to pick up the local paper today and read a very long story detailing miniscule moments over the past couple of weeks in which the Thunder has not played up to par. When asked about it, stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shrugged it off, both basically saying that you can't play well every night during an 82-game season and lulls, no matter how minor they appear, are going to happen.
The Sixers couldn't have visited at a worse time. Not only is the Thunder coming off that loss, but Durant was also ejected late in that game for the first time in his career. Think they are going to have a little bit of a chip on their collective shoulders tonight?
I asked Royal Ivey, who spent the past two seasons here, what it might be like for the Sixers tonight. He shook his head and said: "Oh, they're going to be ready. They don't lose two in a row here. They're competitors. They're going to come with their hard hats and we just have to be ready. The first five minutes are going to be key because this place will be on fire. It's always sold out and the energy will be all around the arena."
Jrue Holiday, we were told at the morning shootaround, is hampered by a slight right groin pull but should be fine to play. Another side note: Many members of the team were awoken around 6 this morning when a pipe burst on an upper floor in the team hotel. Leary of a leak or flooding, hotel workers knocked on doors to alert people to gather their stuff and move to elsewhere in the hotel.
I thought that stuff only happened in Boston.