Saturday, November 22, 2008

PJ Carlesimo feels the Thunder!

When it rains it pours, especially for the Thunder. The Oklahoma City NBA transplant from Seattle axed head coach PJ Carlesimo following Friday night's loss to New Orleans. The game televised on ESPN saw the Hornets bench play out the fourth, en route to a 105-80 drubbing of OKC. The Thunder currently have a 1-12 record, one of the worst, if not worst in the NBA. The team's bright spot is Kevin Durant, who outdid most rookies most of last season, while playing for a dismal Seattle Sonics team. Eventually it was approved for the team to change cities for 2008-09, bringing basketball back to Oklahoma City once more. The Hornets played games there in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and may give inspiration to the turnaround of a team in dismay. Last season saw the young, talented New Orleans squad take San Antonio to the limits in the playoffs.

Taking over for Carlesimo will be his assistant Scott Brooks, former NBA player who won a championship with Houston in 1994. Assistant Paul Westhead was also let go with Carlesimo. Oklahoma has been playing in a new home with new uniforms and relatively young talent, such as Kevin Durant. The team had plenty of buzz heading into the season, with season tickets selling out in just 5 days. To his defense, Carlesimo inherited a team that was hurt by the trades of big name stars, Ray Allen & Rashard Lewis. Expecting the type of quick turnaround that New Orleans had is a bit unreasonable for now. Their squad benefitted from the addition of ultra-PG Chris Paul, as well as Peja Stoyakovic, Tyson Chandler, David West and Morris Peterson. It's already been made known by the Thunder execs that Scott Brooks will finish out the season with the Thunder as head coach. Brooks will most likely inherit the continuing struggles of a team in transition from city to city and veteran stars to rising stars.

Read Yahoo News piece on Carlesimo's firing here.

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