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Monday, March 30, 2009

Cavalier Attitude: Bennett Heads for UVA

From Wazzo to Wahoo.

Washington State men's basketball coach Tony Bennett has accepted the head coaching job at University of Virgina. Bennett replaces Dave Leitao who resigned after four seasons. Bennett helped guide the Cougars to three straight NCAA tournament appearances. He took over for his father, Dick Bennett, and continued the resurgance of the men's basketball program in Pullman. The Cougs had been a non-factor in the PAC-10 for years until the father/son duo resurrected the program with defense, discipline and fundamental basketball. It is unclear if any of his assistants will be going with him.

Bennett took over Wazzu's team from his father Dick Bennett, who made it a condition of his hiring that Tony replace him when he stepped down. He posted a 68-30 record in three seasons with the Cougars. His first two teams made the NCAA tournament and this year's squad was eliminated in the first round of the NIT by St. Mary's.

Bennett was the AP college basketball coach of the year in 2007.

Portland State's Ken Bone, who guided the Pilots to the NCAA tournament this year, is already being considered a top contender for the job. Bone was an assistant for three years under Lorenzo Romar at UW. This would certainly add more fuel to the UW/WSU rivalry. WSU AD Jim Sterk was an associate AD at Seattle Pacific for a year while Bone was men's basketball coach there.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Carolina Rumbles, Louisville Tumbles, Blunder Bumbles

A big day in hoops as number-one seeded Louisville is ousted by Michigan State, Carolina flexes it's muscles over Oklahoma and The Blunder lost their third in a row.

Michigan State stunned top-seeded Louisville with surprising ease, 64-52 as Goran Suton had 19 points and 10 rebounds. The second-seeded Spartans used a controlled-pace game to perfection to advance to their fifth Final Four in 11 years; tops of any team in the nation during that span. Michigan State heads to the final four at Detroit's Ford Field House for what is essentially a home game against another #1 seed, Uconn, on Saturday. Earl Clark led Louisville, who finish the season 31-6, with 19 points.

Ty Lawson had 19 points to lead North Carolina over Oklahoma, 72-60 in a game that wasn't really that close. Only a late 9-0 run by Oklahoma made the final score closer than the game actually was, as Carolina dominated. Blake Griffin led the Sooners with 23 points and 16 rebounds as Oklahoma finished the season 30-6. The Tar Heels advance to their record 18th Final Four to play Villanova, who upset Pittsburgh, on Saturday in Detroit.

The Celtics dumped the Blunder 103-84 on Sunday using a 32-16 fourth quarter to blow the game wide open for the easy win. The Blunder were led by Russell Westbrook's 21 points, the second straight night future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant did not lead the team in scoring. Nick Collison was back in form, going 1-for-7 in 26 minutes for four points, one game removed from a 21 point outburst.

"We did a pretty good job for three quarters," coach Scott Brooks said.

The Blunder lost their third straight and fifth of six as they position themselves for a run at the lottery pick. Curiously, Durant, who normally logs many heavy minutes, only played 33 minutes in a game the Blunder were technically in until the fourth quarter. Are they resting him for next years playoff push or just ensuring another loss to gain a higher pick? Interesting strategy in OKC; take your best player out when the game is on the line.

In other Blunder developments, The Blunder sent rookie forward D.J. White back for a second stint with their NBA D League team in Tulsa. Ironically, the Blunder are 20-53, which most people consider "D league" already.

Blunder: 20-53, last place.
Playoff outlook: we're tanking games now for a higher lottery pick.
Next loss: Wednesday vs San Antonio.
Outlook: Quest for 60!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BLUNDER LOSSES PROVE RECESSION PROOF

In a era of tumbling numbers on Wall Street, The Blunder defy the trend as they continue to show growth in the loss sector. Toronto raced out to an early lead and never looked back as they won their season-high third straight game by silencing the Blunder on Friday night, 112-96. Both teams, long since eliminated from the playoffs, are merely playing for pride, or perhaps losing to improve lottery-pick positioning.

Toronto center Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 21 points and 13 rebounds while Shawn Marion added 20 and 11. Nick Collison led the Blunder with 21 and 7, the first time he has led the team in scoring since the former Sonics moved to OKC. Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant had 18 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Chucky Atkins had 2 points on 1-for-7 shooting in 23 minutes, Durant and Westbrook both had 4 turnovers and Jeff Green was 0-for-4 from three-point range to lead the Blunder low-lights. OKC, 6-29 on the road this season, have not won back-to-back road games this year.

The Thunder had just two offensive rebounds in the first half, which Durant said was an indicator of the team's effort.

"We could have played a lot harder, obviously," Durant said. "That's tough because that's the easiest thing to do in basketball, to play hard. We've got another game coming up (vs. Boston) to redeem ourselves, but this one is tough because we could have controlled the game earlier by playing harder, getting into our offense better and stopping them on the defensive end."

Interim Thunder coach Scott Brooks said his players must produce an improved defensive performance when they visit Boston on Sunday. "Defense is two things," Brooks said. "It's a mind-set and it's also helping each other out and we didn't have either one tonight. We have to make sure we get back to that the next couple of games."

Makes you wonder why Brooks still has the 'interim' tag. Is he auditioning for a contract, or simply a stop-gap until they can find a bigger name? How many coaches would want to coach in OKC? The team has talent and draft picks, so maybe that's the lure they are counting on. With 10 games left, can the Blunder get 60 losses?

Blunder: 21-52, last place.
Playoff outlook: eliminated.
Next loss: Sunday vs. Boston

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Area 51: Where Blunder Enjoy Playoff Elimination!

Fresh off their eliminated from the playoff race, the Blunder padded their losses with a beat-down courtesy of the L.A. Lakers, 107-89 on Tuesday. The Lakers raced out to a 17-point first quarter lead and never looked back, emptying their bench early in the game. Pau Gasol had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Future ex-Blunder, Kevin Durant, led OKC as he always does, with 24 points. Russell Westbrook was 2-11 from the field and had four fouls, while Durant went 0-6 from three-point land and Tosha Sefalosha had a game-high five turnovers to lead the Blunder low-lights. As a team, the Blunder went 3-18 from three point range; that's 16.7%!

Blunder: 21-51; tied for last place.
Playoff outlook: Eliminated!
Anticipating: The draft.
Next loss: Friday vs Toronto.

More corndogs! More losses! More Blunder!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Top 10 OKC/Bennett Blunders This Season (So Far)

As the Blunder reach the 50-loss milestone, let's take a look at some of the top OKC Blunders of the season. Yes, the Blunder will eclipse the win totals of last season's decimated-to-move-it-to-OKC Sonic's franchise, but it has been a season filled with bumbling moves. Let's take a look;

10. Losing 50th game of the year to the Utah Jazz! I find myself loving the Jazz this season, something UNTHINKABLE when they Sonics were in Seattle.
9. Getting thoroughly embarrassed in their only nationally televised game (vs. the Hornets, ironically) which prompted the firing of hired-fall-guy PJ Carlisimo, cementing the teams status as a laughingstock for the rest of the season.
8. 14-game losing streak. Ouch!
7. Scott Brooks as interim coach for 70 games? What's the problem here? Give him the green light already. You ain't luring Phil Jackson to the Dustbowl.
6. Botching the Tyson Chandler trade. A perfect compliment to the young Blunder team and giving up next to nothing for him...and then rescinding the trade because of an alleged 'failed health exam'. Please. This felt like buyer's remorse from a bankrupt ownership afraid to take on his contract. Chandler has played great since coming off his injury. He's a consistant, athletic, nine-points/eight-boards a game performer.
5. Bumbling mascot choice. Unable to learn their lesson from #2, they name their mascot Rumble, a mascot which looks eerily similar to the Seattle Sonics Squatch, and ensuring it's nickname would be "Bumble".
4. Silly CBA uniforms that were completely unoriginal, minimizing the national merchandising revenue potential.
3. Revealing a lame, uninspiring Doritos logo that was immediately panned by the majority. It minimized the national merchandising potential of the team.
2. Naming the team "Thunder", which everyone immediately called "Blunder". You really couldn't see that one coming, Clay? Seriously?

1. MOVING TO OKC!

More corndogs! More losses! More Blunder!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blunder Get Bulled Over in 49th Loss

The Bulls snapped a seven-game road losing streak as they dumped the Blunder in OKC on Wednesday, 103-96. Derrick Rose went off for 25 points, 20 in the second half as the Bulls won their 32nd game and maintained their 8th seed by a game and a half game over Charlotte an Milwaukee. OKC maintained their death-grip on last place, one step closer to playoff-elimination. Good times in OKC!

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant had 28 points in 42 minutes to lead the losing effort. Toshe Sefalosa had six points in 34 minutes, Nick Collison had four fouls and the Blunder as a team were 2-11 from three-point range to lead the lowlights.

Countdown to 50!

Blunder: 19-49
Next Loss (#50!): Friday vs Utah.

More corndogs! More losses! More Blunder!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Suns Set On Blunder, Sweep Season Series

Leandro Barbosa's 22 points in 21 minutes led Phoenix to a 106-95 win, pulling them within five games of Dallas for the last playoff spot as they swept the season series with the Blunder, 4-0. Dallas owner Mark Cuban was one of the NBA owners who voted against Bennett moving the Sonics to OKC.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin Durant, back from an ankle sprain, led OKC with 22 points in 39 minutes as the Blunder bumbled from 13 points ahead to notch loss #48. Nick Collison had four meager points in 22 minutes and fouled out, Jeff Green had eight turnovers and Malik Rose had zero points and three fouls in six minutes to lead the Blunder low lights.

Blunder: 18-48, Last place
Next Loss: Monday vs. San Antonio.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Countdown To 50: Mile High Blunder Bumble!

Bennett's Blunder inched closer to the coveted 50-loss milestone as Denver handed OKC a mile-high beat-down on Wednesday, 112-99. Renaldo Balkman (yes, THE Renaldo Balkman) enjoyed a career night with 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead Denver. Carmelo Anthony enjoyed 22 points. George Karl enjoyed a big gulp and a pizza.

The Blunder played without injured star Kevin Durant, something they better get used to. The face of the franchise is expected to bolt for greener pastures, literally, when his contract expires. OKC is not likely to be able to offer the max contract necessary to retain his services. Oh, but the Lakers and Knicks will.

Damien Wilkins was 0-2 for zero points in 11 minutes, Wazzu-alum Kyle Weaver enjoyed four turnovers, Malik Rose kicked in with four fouls and Thabo Sefalosha was 3-12 from the field to lead the Blunder low-lights. Chucky Atkins, Desmond Mason and Nick Collison did not play...no one noticed.

Blunder: 18-47, last place, 23 games out of first.
Losses to clinch 50: Three
Next loss: Thursday vs. Orlando

Blunder Ironic Factoid:
Blunder "Excellence Polo" on team website: $55. Team record: 18-47, last place.
Los Angeles Laker classic polo: $45. Team record 51-13, first place.
Once again, Bennett gives you less for your money!

Amusing stat from OKCBlunders' CBSsportsline Page:
Oklahoma City Thunder Groups
Oklahoma City Thunder Fantatics
Members: 57
Last Post: 6 days ago

More corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder! More Bumble!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Blunder Dissed, Dismissed, Clinch 46th...

...46th defeat of the season that is. Hey now! OKC strolled into the Big Easy and were 'Big Easily' dismissed by the Hornets, 108-90, who won their seventh straight, something the OKC Blunder have never done. Nor have they ever beaten the Hornets, who swept the season series, 4-0. That familiar stench of defeat swirled around OKC again as their team-record three-game wimming streak came to an end.

Future ex-Blunder Kevin did not play again due to his ankle injury. Rumors swirl he is worried about 'failing a physical', (ala Tyson Candler) and is resting up for when he eventually departs to LA or NY...or maybe even Chicago. Malik Rose shot 2-9 for four points and added five fouls in 31 minutes; Earl Watson had five turnovers and was 0-4 on three-point shooting while the Blunder, as a team, gave up 54 points in the paint. Tyson Chandler, in the middle, likely could have prevented some of those points, in spite of his 'failed physical'. He was healthy enough to have 12 points and eight rebounds against the mighty Blunder.

Chris Paul led six Hornets in double-figure scoring with 21 points and 13 assists, passing Byron Scott on the teams all-time assist list.

MAXIM hands out another Blunder dissing in March 2009 issue! On page 44 of "Sports", in a brief blurb about shuffling teams to help the league;
"Why not send teams to more deserving cities? No we're not talking about the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City; that was just messed up."

That's twice the Blunder have been given a Maxim beat-down.

Blunder: 16-46, last place, 23 games out of first.
Next Loss: Philadelphia on Sunday.

More Corndogs, More Losses, More Blunder!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Washington Clinches PAC-10 Title; Blunder Enjoy Last Place!

The Washington Huskies clinched their first outright PAC-10 title since 1953 as they held off the feisty Cougs in Seattle, 67-60. U-dub survived Taylor Rochestie's game-high 23-points, including several clutch three-pointers down the stretch that kept it close. Washington was led by Quincy Pondexter's 16 points and senior Jon Brockman tied his career-high with 18 rebounds while adding seven points. Venoy Overton had 14 points. Washington, 24-7, shared PAC-10 titles in 1984 and '85, but clinched it outright by one game over UCLA, who defeated Oregon today to end the regular season.

Washington State finishes 16-14 on the season, 8-10 in PAC-10 play. Wazzu is arguably the hottest team in the league in spite of the loss, coming off wins against Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA. They could be the most dangerous team in the league heading into in the PAC-10 tournament, which begins March 11 in Los Angeles.

Regardless of the PAC-10 tourny, Washington will get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, probably as high as a 3 seed. Wazzu needs help just to get into the NIT. However, they could be a serious contender for the title should they get in.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, the Blunder remains firmly entrenched in last place, 23 games out of first. They put their 45 losses on the line tonight against the Hornets, winners of five straight since the bumbling Tyson Chandler-to OKC trade was mysteriously rescinded, supposedly due to a failed health exam. I think we know who's health was really in question; the Blunder's fiscal health. Otherwise rescinding the trade makes no sense at all.

More corndogs! More Losses! More Blunder! More Bumble!