I guess there was this much Thunder talk on the street last year in the Finals but other than that, I've never heard so many people from so many talking about Oklahoma City's pride and joy.
I imagine what's happened to me several times today has happened to you. You see an acquaintance, you know what they're thinking, they know what you're thinking, you struggle for the right words and mumble something about the worsening state of Big Blue.
A sampling of what I've heard and a few things I've said:
-The truth is ‘we're' getting worse.
-The good news is everyone's talking Thunder basketball. The bad news is everyone's talking Thunder basketball.
-Why did Brooks keep Collison on the bench the entire second half?
-It's all about Harden and Martin. Isn't that on management?
-The five-year streak of horrendous 2 for 1 clock mismanagement continues!
-We're in this predicament because of three-point shooting, OKC has periods of not playing hard and Russell's eating popcorn.
-I'd rather play with four than have Perk as a fifth.
-I'm an Aggie and proud of it. But I'll admit that "the Texter" Kelvin Sampson is playing a big part in how Houston is playing. Call it like it is.
-This team has three players who can create their own shots and one of them is in skivvies.
-We'll win the series but it'll be in Houston in Game 6. We'd pucker up at home in a do-or-die Game 7 against a team that would have nothing to lose.
-Now we know who the leader of the Thunder is, and it's not KD.
-Fine with the Hack-a-Turk, but play ball when you get it back to a six-point game.
-Love Brooksie, not his coaching. Someone put something in his Pepsi and let Mo Cheeks call the shots.
-People critical of KD don't know basketball, although zero 4th quarter points is unacceptable.
-Does anyone else see how mad KD gets at Reggie Jackson when he blows him off when KD's asking for the ball?
-Reggie Jackson is not a point guard. Just look at his stats—assist numbers pitiful.
-The Thunder's decision to trade Harden and Maynor are proving to be disastrous. We didn't have a point guard WITH Russ and still don't.
-How does Sam Presti leave OKC with no point guards?
-The Thunder may have gotten a great break. James Harden has been diagnosed with strep throat. He was terrible in earlier games when he was healthy and awesome last night when he was sick. Hope he feels great tomorrow.
-In a key stretch last night, the Thunder actually had on the floor at one time, Liggins, Fisher, Jackson, Martin and Perk. This is the same franchise that played for the title last year.
-In Russ we trust…ed.
-We'll win Game 6 and get some rest. Then we'll sweep the Clippers and pop Pop 4-1.
-We have a 51 percent chance of winning this series and a 1.5 percent chance of beating Memphis.
-Serge shoots fadeaway jump shots against a guy he has seven inches on (Harden). Can't someone teach him an inside game?
-Maybe Barkley's been right all along. The Thunder isn't championship caliber because they have no offensive inside scoring threat.
-Never have seen this team play "not to lose." Pedal to the metal!
-KD should text the anxiety disorder tweeter back and tell him he'll listen when he gets out of the D-League. (See story I wrote earlier about Royce White's audacious tweet to KD).
-Game, set, match.
In a span of one week OKC has gone from leading Houston 2-0, being healthy and an odds-on favorite to return to the Finals, to now in disarray, no Westbrook and more likely to make history as the first team to lose a series with a 3-0 series lead than make it to the Finals.
The fact is that OKC is one lucky 3-point bounce from losing three in a row. That's how important Russell Westbrook is to winning and losing.
Bottom line: It's too bad the loss of In-Russ-We-Trust Westbrook has left all the locals mumbling about the Thunder fumbling at the absolute worst time imaginable. But, it's gratifying to see so many people, of all walks of life, so passionate about their team. And isn't it great to just be in the NBA?