Polar Vortex II has struck the Eastern Seaboard, but that is not stopping Kevin Durant from igniting the NBA with an insane scoring run. As of this moment in time, @KDTrey5 is the most unstoppable basketball player on this planet, and his herculean shooting in carrying the Thunder is making a certain injured teammate of his very excited. Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony is almost certainly checking out how many frequent flyer miles he has accumulated so that he can book the fastest ticket out of New York, and Pierre the Pelican (AKA “Death, Destroyer of Worlds”) is reportedly getting a face lift in time for the All-Star Break.
1. Kevin Durant is still really, really good at basketball, and it seems he is only getting better: Remember this young man? Remember when the Seattle SuperSonics selected him with the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, behind Greg Oden? Three scoring titles and a Finals run later, it turns out that he has shaped into a fine young basketball player, perhaps the best pure scorer the league has ever seen. Last week was one of his best. The NBA selected him as Western Conference Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 13-19, during which he averaged more than 39 points per game. This included a 54-point assault on everyone’s favorite Finals dark horse, the Golden State Warriors, who have a few excellent and wiry shooters themselves. That game compelled me to send out this tweet, with a bunch of trending and stupid hashtags, by which I will stand forever:
He followed that up with a sublime 46-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers, whose reserve guard Mo Williams staked the claim that Durant, “probably could have scored on Jesus.” That notwithstanding, Durant is absolutely scorching right now, and if he can maintain even 75-80% of this through Westbrook’s return, the NBA will live in a state of constant fear.
2. Carmelo Anthony does not want to be here anymore: Take a look at this:
Does the face at the end look like that of a guy who wants to keep playing for the New York “Basketball” Knicks? The way Deron Williams opens himself up simply by driving to the left, leaving Pablo Prigioni and Andrea Bargnani positively perplexed, as if they had never even heard of a defensive switch. Melo’s reaction is absolutely dreadful. He is a man defeated, with his back continuously to the wall. He has become Michael, and all of his teammates are Fredo: “I’m smart! Not like everybody says, like dumb! I’m smart, and I want respect!”
Unfortunately, there is no Hail Mary while fishing for the Knicks. There is no kill switch. As everyone has said from the beginning, this season would determine Melo’s future, one way or another. It has become abundantly clear that, barring miraculous and spectacular catastrophes to basically every other team in the league, Melo will not win a title in New York in the near future. The 54-win season of a year ago seems like a mirage, a figment of every Knicks fan’s imagination which came and went in a flash of smoke and a show of mirrors. When we reach the summer, Melo will be able to opt out but can re-sign with the Knicks for more money. The Knicks could trade him for assets, but we all know James Dolan is not that savvy, or at all sympathetic to Melo’s cause. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. This team is lost in the league’s densest wilderness.
3. You will rue the day you crossed Pierre the Pelican: Now take a look at this:
Are you not entertained?? SB Nation made this, possibly the best reaction to this absolutely terrifying menace of a mascot, when he debuted in November. Although the Pelicans themselves have not been the all-conquering force they aspire to be in coming years, Pierre has been busy hijacking the restless nightmares of NBA-watching children ages 4-65 this season. Move out of the way, It, someone else is reaching for the lives of the innocent. (Which, by the way, a Google image search of Pierre the Pelican reveals some of the absolute best parodies and tributes you could ever hope to find. If you can stomach looking at the face above repeatedly, it is well worth your time).
Now, however, it seems that Pierre may be in line for a redesign, something for which we, and our children, and our children’s children, can all be thankful:
If and when the new Pierre rolls out, the viewing public will let out a collective sigh of relief. Good riddance, Pierre the Terrible.