Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012-13 Northwest Division Breakdown: Los Angeles Clippers Vs Oklahoma ... - Fully Clips

This photo describes games between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Who is the stronger team â€" Griffin holding Westbrook up â€" and who will be on top â€" Westbrook trying to sail over Griffin and Caron Butler. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

This is where the breakdown gets serious, the Los Angeles Clippers against the best team in the Western Conference in the 2011-12 season â€" the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If ESPN or NBA TV has been on a near TV set, you’ve heard the Los Angeles Lakers and the Thunder are the two favorites to represent the west in the upcoming NBA Finals. However, Clipper fans will tell you, the red, blue and white have a chance as well.

To make their chance become reality, the Clippers would eventually have to play one of the two favorites in Las Vegas. Between the two, I think the Clippers have a better chance against the Thunder than the Lakers.

I’m not going to blatantly say the Clips or Kevin Durant and company would win because both have the opportunity to leave a game against the other victorious. Although, if I was a betting man, I’d put money on the Clippers.

Here’s why:

The Thunder and the Clippers’ roster are three deep when it comes to productive low post players. The Thunder have Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka  and Nick Collison, while the Clips have Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Lamar Odom.

With these three players listed in front of you, which side are you going to take? I hope you said Clippers.

This says it all â€" DeAndre Jordan blocking Kendrick Perkins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Perkins is a bum. The only reason he is in the league is because of his size. He is a big guy who isn’t afraid to step in front of LeBron James or get dunked on by Griffin, but he is relatively useless since he can’t score unless he is close enough to dunk and in 9-NBA seasons has only grabbed 6.2 rebounds a game. A 6-foot, 10-inch man who weighs 270 pounds should be able to body up people and grab more rebounds.

The problem is, he is too slow and doesn’t know how to position himself.

Jordan, at 6-foot, 11-inches, grabbed 8.3 rebounds per game last season. He knows how to get in front of someone and is athletic enough to quickly move a few steps if the ball doesn’t land in his lap â€" Perkins is not.

Ibaka is the best of the three for the Thunder. He can step out and hit a mid-range jumper, crashes the boards and is arguably the best shot blocker in the league with 3.7 per game last season. At the same time, people have said he is overrated as a shot blocker because he only swats shots into the bleachers if either him or the offensive player are cutting to the basket. He very rarely makes a good one-on-one move to block a shot.

The Thunder’s power forward is a legitimate threat, but compared to Griffin, he’s old news or news unworthy of B3 in today’s sports page.

Griffin is a better low-post scorer, a better rebounder â€" 10.9 to 7.5 last season â€" and is just an overall better basketball player. Both of them are extremely athletic, but Griffin has more of a presence on the court and a better NBA IQ. Ibaka is simply a great help defender, while Griffin is a top 20 player in the league.

Nick Collison’s performance in the 2012 NBA Finals is the highlight of his career at this point. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Collison would all but be forgotten if it wasn’t for his performances in last year’s NBA Finals. Collison stepped up with crucial rebounds and big buckets when the Thunder needed someone other than Durant and Russell Westbrook to take charge.

However, I would rather have Odom come off the bench than any other power forward in the NBA. Honestly, I’d probably start him over at least 15 starting fours in the league, right now. Collison is a great player for 15-to-20 minutes a game but Odom can be a presence for an entire game.

The only position the Thunder win hands down is the small forward spot. Anyone who would put the Clips’ Caron Butler over Kevin Durant is a LA homer and not a true fan or student of the game. Durant is arguably the second best player in the game behind James and should be on everyone’s top 5.

Enough said.

Westbrook is a stud, but he chucks up a lot of bad shots and doesn’t look for one of the best shooters in the league, Durant, half as much as he should. Westbrook’s offensive game does his team an injustice from time to time as he pushes for the bad play instead of making the smart pass.

This will never be said of Chris Paul as he is the best decision maker in the NBA. Lob City would not be possible if it wasn’t for Paul’s court vision and his ability to thread the needle with his passes. Paul makes everyone in a Clippers’ jersey better while Westbrook only makes himself look good or bad.

Chauncey Billups is a better player than Thabo Sefolosha. The Clippers’ shooting guard is definitely a better shooter and is still a solid defender although he has slowed down. Sefolosha is an elite NBA perimeter defender, but his lack of an offensive game does not make him as effective as Billups.

In past seasons, James Harden would be an X-factor for a Thunder victory over LA. This season, the Clippers wised up by letting Mo Williams go and signed Jamal Crawford. Crawford is a great scorer, whether he jacks up too many shots or not. As hot as Williams got at the end of last season, Crawford could be all season long.

Not only is Crawford a great shooter, but he takes the ball to the basket which would free up the big men for easy put backs or baskets after they accept a pass.

I’m not saying Harden is any less of a player than Crawford, he is actually probably better because he does more in terms of handles, passing, rebounding and the intangibles. However, as a scorer, they are neck and neck to no longer make Harden as dangerous as he once was.

The NBA is all about match-ups. Any team can beat any team if they see a potentially beneficial match up on the court. The Clippers Vs the Thunder pose a lot of favorable position plays whether it’s Griffin-Ibaka, Jordan-Perkins, Paul-Westbrook or Billups-Sefolosha.

If the cards are dealt right and the Clippers play the Thunder at full-health, I definitely think Paul, Griffin and company can take OKC in a single game or in a seven-game playoff series.

Brandon LaChance can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @LaChance_Writer.

Tags: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka

Oklahoma City Thunder 2012-13 Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves - Thunderous Intentions

Thunderous Intentions will begin to preview the 2012-13 NBA season by going through every team in the league and breaking down how they match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Be sure to check out the previous matchups we have previewed: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota Timberwolves Team Overview

The Timberwolves finished last season with a 26-40 record missing the playoffs by 10 games. Last season started with a lot of promise and excitement as Ricky Rubio became one of the most entertaining players in the league. When Rubio went down with a knee injury though, Minnesota’s season went down with it.

Kevin Love continued his rapid progression last season turning in MVP-like numbers averaging 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds per game with a 25.41 PER.

The other pleasant surprise for Minnesota was Nikola Pekovic’s development who averaged 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season while shooting .564 percent from the field.

Minnesota made some roster changes this offseason taking a chance on Brandon Roy who is coming out of retirement and signing Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved as well. They also traded for Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham, signed Greg Stiemsma and drafted Robbie Hummel.

Wesley Johnson, Darko Milicic, Martell Webster, Wayne Ellington and Brad Miller will not be on the roster next season.

There is some unknown with how the Timberwolves will look next season with so many new faces. Also, Rubio probably won’t be ready for the start of the season and is aiming for a December return to the court.

Minnesota made a leap last season and is expected to be contending for a 7-8 seed in the Western Conference if all goes well.

Last year

The Oklahoma City Thunder played the Timberwolves three times last year and beat them each time. Every game was very close and entertaining though and the two teams seem to be developing a nice little rivalry.

The Thunder played Minnesota in the first game of the season last year in Minnesota and won 104-100. Kevin Durant led the way with 33 points and Russell Westbrook had 28. James Harden scored 16 off the bench.

Love had 22 and 12 and Rubio had six points and six assists in 26 minutes of his NBA debut.

The next meeting between these teams was perhaps the game of the year in the NBA. The Thunder won 149-140 in double-overtime as Love and Durant exchanged clutch baskets down the stretch.

Love scored a career-high 51 points to go with 14 rebounds in the game. J.J. Barea had a triple-double for the Timberwolves off the bench with 25 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

Durant had 40 points and 17 rebounds for the Thunder. Westbrook scored a career-high 45 points on 17-for-28 shooting. Harden had 25 points, six assists and six rebounds off the bench.

In the final meeting between these teams, Love and Rubio did not play for Minnesota and the Thunder won 115-110.

Durant scored 43 while Westbrook had 35. Harden had one of his worst games of the year going 1-for-11 from the field with just six points.

Durant averaged 38.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game vs. the Timberwolves in the three games. He shot .583 percent from the field and .529 percent from three.

Westbrook averaged 36.0 points and 6.7 assists per game. He shot .527 percent from the field and .400 percent from three.

Harden averaged 15.7 points and shot .211 percent from three.

The matchup

The Timberwolves played well against the Thunder last year but overall had just the 21st best offense in terms of points per possession while the Thunder defense was 5th best.

Minnesota was best at the pick-and-roll, ranking 7th in the league, thanks to Love’s great ability as a pick-and-pop threat and their cast of point guards. That is the only real advantage they have against the Thunder defense which was 11th best defending pick-and-roll plays last season.

The Timberwolves were also solid scoring in the post led by Pekovic and Love. They were 13th best in the league but the Thunder were 4th best defending post-up plays.

Minnesota had just the 20th best defense in terms of PPP last season and it is no secret that the Thunder put up a lot of points against them, Durant and Westbrook in particular. Minnesota had no one who could slow down either.

The Timberwolves weren’t horrible defending the pick-and-roll and isolation plays last year, ranking 15th in both.

Next year

If Minnesota is healthy next year, they should be able to give the Thunder some good games again. They will play each other four times, first on Dec. 20 in Minnesota, then Jan. 9 in OKC, then Feb. 22 in OKC and finally March 29 in Minnesota.

The Timberwolves will have more of a European flavor next season with the additions of Kirilenko and Shved. Kirilenko may be one of the best options in the league to defend Durant but still should have a lot of trouble slowing him down.

Westbrook plays particularly well against Minnesota too which really makes the Thunder a tough team to beat.

The Thunder and Timberwolves gave us some of the most entertaining games in the league last season and hopefully they continue with that trend.

Tags: Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder

#73 Oklahoma State Cowboys: College Basketball 111 in 111 - The Sports Bank

oklahoma state dance team

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Travis Ford has picked up a pair of elite recruits in the each of the past two seasons.  For the Oklahoma State Cowboys to get back on track this year in the new look Big 12 Conference, both LeBryan Nash and Marcus Smart will be asked to be major contributors.

Last Season: 9th, 6-10 in Big 12, 20-14 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 7th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Michael Cobbins (So)/Phillip Jurick (Sr)/Marek Soucek (So)
F: LeBryan Nash (So)Kamari Murphy (Fr)
G/F: J.P. Olukemi (Sr) or Brian Williams (So)
SG: Marcus Smart (Fr)/Phil Forte (Fr)
PG: Markel Brown (Jr)/Kirby Gardner (Jr)

Gone: G-Keiton Page, PG-C.J. Guerrero (transfer-Fresno State), PG-Fred Gulley (transfer-Arkansas), SG-Reger Dowell (transfer-UT-Arlington)

2012-2013 Outlook:
The former McDonald’s All-American Nash was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season.  He is built like a linebacker and excels off the bounce using the combination of his strength and elite explosiveness to rise above the rim.  Nash is still developing his perimeter game and can really take the next step if he can show more consistency with his outside shooting.

The other marquee recruit is freshman Marcus Smart who was also a McDonald’s All-American and considered by many as the top shooting guard in the 2012 class.  Like Nash, Smart is very physical and athletic, and also plays with an incredible competitive fire.  He is further along with his perimeter skills than Nash and can also run the point if needed this year for Ford.

The transfers of Cezar Guerrero, Reger Dowell, and Fred Gulley in the past year has hurt Okie State’s depth at guard.  Markel Brown does return though and will share the backcourt with Smart.  Brown is another high flyer at the rim but doesn’t possess the true distributing ability of most college point guards.  JUCO transfer Kirby Gardner will provide depth at the point while undersized sharpshooting two guard Phil Forte will remind many Cowboy fans of Keiton Page due to his ability to bomb it from deep.

Brian Williams had a solid freshman year for OSU, filling in admirably for J.P. Olukemi whose season ended prematurely due to a torn ACL.  Those two figure to compete for a starting spot on the wing with Olukemi’s experience and ability to play bigger than his 6’6 stature might suggest likely to help him win the job.

The Cowboys don’t have a ton of skill or size inside.  Michael Cobbins became a starter as a redshirt freshman using his athleticism to be an effective shot blocker and rebounder.  He is still fairly raw on the offensive though.  Depth will be an issue inside since Phillip Jurick, whose season was cut short last year due to a torn ACL is suspended indefinitely after being arrested this off-season for possession of marijuana.

Assuming he is not cleared to play this season, that leaves seven-foot Czech center Marek Soucek as the lone reserve big man on the roster.  Soucek played sparingly a year ago but must make a bigger impact in his sophomore campaign since OSU figures to be thin inside without Jurick.  Freshman Kamari Murphy will give Ford another option inside.

Player to Watch: LeBryan Nash
Improving his outside shot will help Nash take the next step in his game but he must also become more conscious of his shot selection which was too often wild last season.  He is considered a lottery caliber prospect in the 2013 NBA Draft and the addition of Smart and getting Olukemi healthy will certainly help take some pressure off Nash’s shoulders.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. Akron (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/16 vs. Tennessee/UNC-Asheville (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/18 vs. N.C. State/Penn State/UMass/Providence (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
12/1 at Virginia Tech
12/5 vs. South Florida
12/31 vs. Gonzaga

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#74 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#75 USC Trojans
#76 UConn Huskies
#77 Harvard Crimson
#78 Xavier Musketeers
#79 Ole Miss Rebels
#80 Clemson Tigers
#81 Oregon State Beavers
#82 Texas A&M Aggies
#83 Providence Friars
#84 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#85 Oklahoma Sooners
#86 Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#87 Washington State Cougars
#88 Long Beach State 49ers
#89 Belmont Bruins
#90 Vanderbilt Commodores
#91 Dayton Flyers
#92 Houston Cougars
#93 UCF Knights
#94 Old Dominion Monarchs
#95 Oregon Ducks
#96 LSU Tigers
#97 South Carolina Gamecocks
#98 Seton Hall Pirates
#99 Georgia Bulldogs
#100 DePaul Blue Demons
#101 Boston College Eagles
#102 Penn State Nittany Lions
#103 Arizona State Sun Devils
#104 Virginia Tech Hokies
#105 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#108 TCU Horned Frogs
#109 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#110 Utah Utes
#111 Nebraska Cornhuskers

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

Kansas State Wildcats vs. Oklahoma Sooners: Complete Game Preview - Bleacher Report

After a disappointing season opener, albeit a victory nonetheless, the Oklahoma Sooners seemed to figure out a few kinks in their Week 2 matchup against Florida A&M. Behind a strong performance from junior running back Damien Williams, the Sooners coasted to a 69-13 win in their home opener.

While the score may look impressive, it's hard to take much away from itâ€"praising a highly ranked FBS team for thrashing a FCS team just doesn't feel right (see: Oklahoma State fans).

We will all finally see what the Sooners are actually made of this upcoming weekend.

In what is likely going to be a much better game than last season's matchup, the No. 15 ranked Kansas State Wildcats travel to Norman to take on the No. 6 ranked Sooners. After falling to the Sooners at home by a score of 58-17 in 2011, the Wildcats will come into this game looking for revengeâ€"it's not going to be easy, though. 

Here is a preview of absolutely everything you'll need to know for this weekend's game. 

Where: Norman, Okla.

When: Saturday, September 22 at 7:50 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox Sports Regional Coverage

Live Stream: Sooner Sports

Listen: Sooner Sports Radio Network

 Betting Line: Oklahoma (-14), according to Sportsbook

Hi-res-151703307_crop_exactBrett Deering/Getty Images


Key Storyline: Kansas State Rushing Attack vs. Oklahoma Defensive Line

This was also the key storyline going into last season's matchup, and the Sooners did give up 182 rushing yards, including 92 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Collin Klein. However, after the Sooners went into halftime only up by six points (23-17), the defense completely shut down the Wildcats offense in the final 30 minutes. 

Through three games this season, the Wildcats are averaging 252 rushing yards per game. Junior running back John Hubert is averaging just under 100 yards per contest, and Klein has already found the end zone four times.

While it may be the same rushing attack the Sooners faced last season, the fact is this: Hubert and Klein have gotten better while the Sooners defensive line has been depleted. 

The Sooners defensive line has looked rather thin through the first two games of Oklahoma's season. Losing defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis to the NFL was a huge hit, but the Sooners have also been without senior defensive tackles Stacy McGee and Casey Walker through their first two games. 

McGee has been suspended indefinitely for violating university policy, and Walker has missed the first two games of the season due to personal reasons, though his return seems imminent.

Seniors David King and R.J. Washington are going to have to step up this week in order for the Sooners to have an impact on the Wildcats ground attack. 

Injury Report

Kansas State Wildcats

Questionable: LG Nick Puetz (foot) 

Doubtful: RG Boston Stiverson (foot) 

Oklahoma Sooners

Probable: DT Casey Walker (personal) 

Out: DT Stacy McGee (suspended), DE Chaz Nelson (MCL), DB Quentin Hayes (suspended), WR Jaz Reynolds (suspended), WR Trey Franks (suspended) 

Top 25 Implications

This is a matchup between two top-15 teams, so the implications on the surface are obvious. If the Wildcats pull off the on-the-road upset, they will most likely be graciously rewarded with a spot in the top 10.

On the flip side, if Oklahoma loses, they will likely plummet to about where Kansas State is ranked currentlyâ€"maybe even lower depending how other top-20 teams do this weekend. 

However, losing this game for either team means that the rest of the season is going to be an uphill battle.

Being that this is the first conference game for each team, both still have to face a rigorous conference schedule that includes matchups against West Virginia, Texas and TCU (all of which could win the conference this season). 

Hi-res-131935940_crop_exactBrett Deering/Getty Images

Losing this game doesn't necessarily mean that either team should lose all hope for winning either a conference or national championship, but it certainly doesn't make the journey to those coveted prizes easy.

Kansas State Player to Watch: QB Collin Klein

I'm sorry if you were looking for anybody different here, but Klein is going to be the difference in this game for the Wildcats. There's a reason that he, not anybody else on the roster, is considered a Heisman hopeful. 

Even though he ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns against the Sooners last season, he was, for the most part, contained. His passing stats were virtually nonexistent against Oklahoma last season (eight completions for 58 yards), and that is going to have to change for the Wildcats to have a chance in this game.

So far, so good through the first three gamesâ€"Klein has completed 73 percent of his passes, thrown five touchdown passes and has racked up a really impressive 180.8 quarterback rating. Klein has to continue this trend and keep the Sooners secondary on its toes.

A solid passing game from Klein will only open up more options on the ground for both Hubert and the QB.

Oklahoma Player to Watch: RB Damien Williams 

After racking up 156 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries, Williams was the star last week against Florida A&M. Through two games, Williams is averaging 130 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game.

Did I mention this guy is the backup? 

Hi-res-151617476_crop_exactBrett Deering/Getty Images

His backup status could change this week, as Williams has consistently out-performed current starter Dominique Whaley. Big things were expected from Whaley this season after his stellar pre-injury performance last season, but Williams, a junior-college transfer, has sort of spoiled Whaley's return to the field. 

While Williams' performances have been impressive thus far, it will be interesting to see how he fares against a big-time opponent like Kansas State. Williams is also the player to watch this week for other interesting storylines, such as: Will Whaley continue to start, and will the Sooners focus more on the passing game this week?

Fun fact: Williams currently leads the nation in yards per carry (13). 


I honestly don't think we've seen the true identity of either the Wildcats or Sooners through the first few weeks of the season. While the Wildcats looked unstoppable against Miami in Week 2, they stumbled out of the gate and looked pretty average against North Texas last weekend. 

The Sooners also played well below their talent level in their Week 1 matchup against UTEP, and even though they racked up 69 points against Florida A&M, that doesn't necessarily mean that they've figured everything out. 

This game will be a great test for both teams, but I'm giving the Sooners an advantage for a few reasons.

First, it's a home game, and the Sooners almost always play better at home. Second, the Sooners overmatch the Wildcats at nearly every position. If they play up to their potential, the Sooners should have no problem covering the -14 spread. 

However, I'm not sure the Sooners have put it all together yet, and I expect this game to be much closer than last season's blowout. 

Oklahoma 37, Kansas State 24 

Preview: No. 16 Kansas State Wildcats at No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners - (blog)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oklahoma City Thunder 2012-13 NBA TV Schedule - Yahoo! Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder finished the 2011-12 season with an overall record of 47-19. Kevin Durant led the team with 28.0 points per game, Kevin Durant led the team with 8.0 rebounds per game, and Russell Westbrook led the team with 5.5 assists per game. The Thunder ranked 3rd overall averaging 103.1 points per game while ranking 17th overall allowing 96.9 points per game.

Note: All start times Eastern. Check your local listings for local television broadcasts in your area.

November 2012:

Thu. 1: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)

Fri. 2: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Sun. 4: Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m.

Tue. 6: Toronto Raptors at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Thu. 8: Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Fri. 9: Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Sun. 11: Cleveland Cavaliers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m.

Mon. 12: Oklahoma City Thunder at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m.

Wed. 14: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Fri. 16: Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Hornets, 8 p.m.

Sun. 18: Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m.

Wed. 21: Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Fri. 23: Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)

Sat. 24: Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m.

Mon. 26: Charlotte Bobcats at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Wed. 28: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 30: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

December 2012:

Sat. 1: Oklahoma City Thunder at New Orleans Hornets, 8 p.m.

Tue. 4: Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m.

Fri. 7: Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. 9: Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m.

Wed. 12: New Orleans Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 14: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Mon. 17: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Wed. 19: Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m.

Thu. 20: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves, 7 p.m. (TNT)

Tue. 25: Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat, 5:30 p.m. (ABC)

Thu. 27: Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Sat. 29: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets, 8 p.m.

Mon. 31: Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

January 2013:

Wed. 2: Brooklyn Nets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 4: Philadelphia 76ers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Sun. 6: Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors, 1 p.m.

Mon. 7: Oklahoma City Thunder at Washington Wizards, 7 p.m.

Wed. 9: Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 11: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. 13: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers, 9 p.m. (NBATV)

Mon. 14: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns, 9 p.m.

Wed. 16: Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 18: Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. 20: Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets, 8 p.m.

Tue. 22: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

Wed. 23: Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m.

Fri. 25: Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings, 10 p.m.

Sun. 27: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Thu. 31: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)

February 2013:

Sat. 2: Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m.

Mon. 4: Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (NBATV)

Wed. 6: Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 8: Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Sun. 10: Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns, 8 p.m.

Tue. 12: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz, 9 p.m.

Thu. 14: Miami Heat at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Wed. 20: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets, 8 p.m.

Fri. 22: Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. 24: Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Wed. 27: New Orleans Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

March 2013:

Fri. 1: Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. 3: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Tue. 5: Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)

Thu. 7: Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)

Fri. 8: Oklahoma City Thunder at Charlotte Bobcats, 7 p.m.

Sun. 10: Boston Celtics at Oklahoma City Thunder, 1 p.m. (ABC)

Mon. 11: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBATV)

Wed. 13: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Fri. 15: Orlando Magic at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Sun. 17: Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks, 7:30 p.m.

Tue. 19: Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Wed. 20: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies, 8 p.m.

Fri. 22: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m.

Sun. 24: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m.

Wed. 27: Washington Wizards at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Fri. 29: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8 p.m.

Sat. 30: Oklahoma City Thunder at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:30 p.m.

April 2013:

Thu. 4: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)

Fri. 5: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Sun. 7: New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder, 1 p.m. (ABC)

Tue. 9: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz, 9 p.m.

Thu. 11: Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)

Fri. 12: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. (NBATV)

Mon. 15: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.

Wed. 17: Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.


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Paul Rados is a Cleveland based freelance sportswriter and Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados or leave him a message on Facebook.

Temeka Johnson blogs: Tulsa Shock notches back-to-back wins -

Temeka Johnson, Kenner native, Bonnabel and LSU graduate and the point guard for the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA, will be filing reports this season.

photo.JPGTemeka Johnson had a book signing event last week in Phoenix.

Happy Tuesday to each and everyone of you. I cone to you today sharing some good news. This past weekend we were able to gather back-to-back wins on the road against the Phoenix Mercury and San Antonio Stars. I also had great book signing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Phoenix. The support their was amazing and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. I sold out of all the books. I didn't think so at first until I got a message saying whatever books are not sold, my friend Bryan was going to buy the rest and donate them. What an awesome outcome. If you haven't picked up your copy please do so on and let me know what you think.

We have four more games left and I'm still looking forward to our continued success. It's hard to fast forward to the end so for me Thursday's game is the next important one. We take on the New York Liberty for the first time this season; it should be a fun one. Stay tuned as I keep you all posted on these next few games and then back to Russia I go.

Until next time.

- Temeka

The Temeka Johnson file

Born: Sept. 6, 1982

Height: 5-3

College: LSU

High school: Bonnabel

Years pro: 6


Owns a home in Baton Rouge and has a horse, Dreamer, and a dog, Kingston

Founded and runs the charitable organization Heaven Opens People's Eyes (H.O.P.E.)

Initiated the Jewel Johnson Education Scholarship

Honored with Temeka Johnson Day in Kenner on April 16

Selected as inaugural athlete for UNCF's Athlete Ambassador program, promoting education initiatives for youth

Adopted schools in Kenner, Baton Rouge and New Orleans

Author of children's book series, Meek Moments, with its first title, "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions," published in August 2010.

Professional career highlights:

2009 WNBA champion with the Phoenix Mercury

2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Averaging 9.4 points, 4.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds in two seasons with the Mercury

Collegiate career highlights:

AP All-American second team (2005)

AP All-American honorable mention (2004, 2003, 2002)

SEC Tournament MVP (2003)

Broke LSU's career assists record, single-season record and tied her single-game assist mark in 2003-04 season.