PRYOR, OK —
I'm a huge Thunder fan.
I figured the secret would come out eventually, and the more the Thunder win and the further they go in the playoffs, the more I'll talk about them in this space.
But it's not just because they are an NBA team — the first major sports franchise we've had in the state — but because they are the right team. There are so many storylines that make the Thunder fun to follow.
They are built the right way, with the right players and the right management. They are succeeding on a very high level with very little experience and without the storied tradition of, say, the Lakers or the Celtics.
They do have former players with title rings from both of those teams on their current roster though, because those players (Derek Fisher and Kendrick Perkins) understand the culture and the process behind building a title-caliber team.
The Thunder also have hero-status in the league, not just because of lovable Kevin Durant and fiery sidekick Russell Westbrook, but because they have the one thing that every great hero needs.
In the Lakers/Celtics heyday of the '80s, and the '90s rivalries between Chicago and the rest of the league (Detroit, Indiana and Utah come to mind), there was no "good" or "bad" character in the story. There was just Bird vs. Magic, or Jordan vs. Laws of Physics and Gravity.
In Thunder vs. Heat we have clear-cut villains and heroes. We have Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James. We have Russell Westbrook vs. Dwyane Wade. We have wunderkind Thunder General Manager Sam Presti vs. coldhearted Heat GM Pat Riley — who, in my opinion, even looks like a guy who would make you sign away your soul in blood for a a three-year contract.
Riley, who coached the Lakers in the '80s against former Celtic and current Boston GM Danny Ainge, recently told Ainge to "shut the f--- up" via — get this — a statement released through an official Heat spokesman.
So, yeah, we have ourselves a villain.
After what I've told you, it may come as no surprise that my favorite movie — "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" — shares many of the same qualities as our current NBA landscape.
I see Kevin Durant as Clint Eastwood (Blondie). He's the quiet guy who always finishes the job, and he takes up an alliance with Tuco (played by Russell Westbrook) against ruthless bounty hunter Angel Eyes (LeBron James).
Angel Eyes and his gang get the better of Blondie and Tuco in the earlier part of the movie (like Miami in last year's Finals) but ultimately, Blondie and Tuco (sort of) win the day.
There's a part in "Good, Bad, Ugly" where Tuco is taking a bath in a ruined town when one of Angel Eyes' gang busts down Tuco's door and lectures Tuco for what seems like an eternity on all the reasons why he is going to kill him.
Tuco, who has been hiding a gun beneath the bubbles, shoots the intruder instead and says simply, "If you're going to shoot, shoot! Don't talk!"
Now is the time for the Thunder to shoot.
PRYOR, OK —
I'm a huge Thunder fan.
State of bliss
Keni Jo Lippe and Kylie Looney combined for 48 points in Adair's 74-43 romp over No. 11 Spiro in a Class 3A Area tournament championship at Skiatook Friday to help Adair punch a ticket to another state tournament.
Inola crushes Lady Pirates' state hopes
Locust Grove fell just shy of a Class 4A Area consolation final appearance with a 37-35 loss to Inola in a consolation semi Friday at Claremore High School.
Dale eliminates Chouteau despite Alsip’s 24
Junior guard Arlis Alsip piled on 24 points but it was not enough for Chouteau, as the Wildcats succumbed to Dale in overtime in a Class 2A Area consolation game at the Muskogee Civic Center Thursday.
Inola’s big second half ousts LG
Inola outscored Locust Grove by 19 points in the final two quarters to send the Pirates to an early exit from a Class 4A area tournament Thursday at Claremore High School by a 64-58 margin.
Henryetta ousts Adair, 70-58
Henryetta’s Chet Caywood scored a game-high 25 points to boost the Knights past Adair, 70-58, in a Class 3A Area consolation game Thursday at Skiatook High School.
Tigers smash Capitol Hill in openers
Pryor opened its 2014 baseball campaign with a doubleheader shutout of district foe Capitol Hill Thursday.
Soccer squads set to light up Tiger Stadium
Pryor head soccer coach Kirk Emerine gives some insight into the upcoming seasons of Tiger and Lady Tiger soccer.
Pryor's Johnson building many winning programs
The swim programs for Pryor and Adair were definitely in a rebuilding stage this year after losing several seniors, but Coach Traci Johnson laid a good foundation.
Salina baseball opens at No. 6
Salina will open its 2014 baseball season ranked No. 6 in Class 3A, according to the first polls published Tuesday on OSSAArankings.com.
Area hoops forecasts: Adair, LG to state
Trying to plan your basketball watching weekend? The Times has every area tournament that features a local team covered. Here's are some predictions for this weekend's games.
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- State of bliss