Last night was the first pre-season home game of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Susan and I were there to experience it. Before last night’s game against the Thunder our record stood at 1-3, and with Marcus Camby and Baron Davis out on sick leave I thought we might have a chance of pulling out another win.
We didn’t, of course, but it was close — 100-98. Not a bad showing for a team that is ranked 30th out of 30, according to ESPN’s power rankings (the Clippers are current ranked 19th). For much of the game, the Thunder showed why they are ranked dead last — dribbling the ball off their feet, having the ball stolen, missing simple lay ups and missing free throw after free throw. At one point in the first quarter the Thunder led 19-18, and then we trailed until late in the 4th. We went up by one, maybe two points near the end, but a string of missed free throw opportunities ensured our defeat. Down by 5 in the last few seconds, Petro threw up a hail mary three pointer that dropped, making the score closer than the game really was.
One thing I want to mention is that there were at least two fouls, definitely one, that I thought should have been flagrant fouls. One was just hard, the other was flagrant, and neither was called as flagrant. It is obvious the Thunder will need to earn some respect on the court this year.
In one of the greatest half time shows ever, the Thunder pulled twenty people from the crowd and let them attempt to dunk basketballs by running across the court and launching themselves off a trampoline. I am positive whoever came up with this idea did not run it by the organization’s lawyers — what an insurance nightmare! One fellow ran directly into the trampoline, bashing his shins and hobbling away. Another fellow missed the trampoline altogether; one guy jumped straight up and almost missed the landing mat. Of the twenty, five were really good and made it to the next round. Later, those five were on court doing flips and throwing shirts out into the crowd, leading me to believe that 15 of the 20 were real people and those 5 were plants. So many people almost hurt themselves doing this and I can’t imagine they will ever do it again.
In a great big “duh” moment, the Thunder cheerleaders (formerly known as the “Thunder Dance Team”) came out to announce that they have picked a new name which they would to reveal to the crowd after a big countdown. “Five, four, three, two, one … THUNDERGIRLS.” Wow, that’s it? The Thundergirls? It took them a month to come up with that one? When they came out on the court I said to Susan, “Here come the Thundergirls.” It took me less than a second to come up with it.
Thanks to Susan for going and Mom for babysitting.