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Is Consistency Still Conceivable in the NBA? | February
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Con - sist - en - cy: agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing.

That is the official definition of consistency. If you break that down in relation to what we are talking about here, then here is what it could mean in the overall scheme of things:

1. Agreement - Nine players on a team playing together on the court.

2. Harmony - Being on the same page with one another, particularly on the defensive end of the court.

3. Compatibility - Getting along on and off the court.

4. In Correspondence or uniformity - Knowing what your teammates are going to do before they do them.

5. A complex thing - That would be the actual game itself.

If we judge simply be that break down, then the Oklahoma City Thunder have great consistency this season. But anyone who follows them knows that i is not entirely true, because there is truly no such thing as consistency. Not with the Thunder. Not with the players. Not with the league. Not with sports in general.

Take last night's game, for example. The Thunder were able to overcome a rocky start and awful third quarter to defeat the Phoenix Suns on the road, 111-107. Kevin Durant scored just 24 points, which is far below what he had been scoring as of late. Jeff Green actually scored a team high 28 points, which is well above what he had been doing. The Thunder had five players finish in double figures in scoring last nigh, which is two or three more than usual. Two of the team's reserves scored over a dozen points, which rarely happens.

Now take a look at the Suns. Marcin Gortat had been dominating teams lately. He barely cracked double digits in scoring last night. Vince Carter had been doing next to nothing, barely even taking shots over the last couple of games. He scored a game high 33 points for Phoenix in a losing effort.

So if there is no consistency from game to game, why would we expect anything else throughout the course of one single contest? The bottom line is that you can't. At least, you shouldn't.

It seems as if this season, Oklahoma City plays defense sporadically, which is a fancier word for inconsistent. They may start off great, but then they suffer a few lapses. Or, they start out poorly, and then come on strong late. Other times, they will struggle in odd quarters and come up big in the even ones. That is what happened last night.

Phoenix outscored Oklahoma City 36-31 in the first and 27-17 in the third quarter. Those are the odd numbered ones, for those who don't know math.

The Thunder outscored the Suns 32-24 and 31-20 in the second and final quarter to pull ahead and leave with the victory. Again, for those who don't know math, those are the evens.

But if the Boston Celtics can lose at home and the Los Angeles Lakers can suffer through losing streaks and Tim Duncan can be named to yet another NBA All-Star team, then I guess the NBA is a game where amazing really does happen. There is no consistency.

That was the case last night, although that does not necessarily always mean it is a bad thing. It was nice to see Green drop 28 points. Durant shouldn't need to average 40 points per game for this team to win.

Russell Westbrook had another double-double and the other two starters did next to nothing. Thabo Sefolosha returned to the starting lineup and Nenad Kristic's injury did not keep him out of the starting five, yet they combined for four points and four rebounds. They also continue to see limited minutes, even though they start each game.

James Harden and Serge Ibaka continue to play like starters, and both continue to receive more playing time throughout the season. Harden had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, while Ibaka finished with 18 points on 9-10 shooting with 6 rebounds and two more blocks.

The fact that Harden and Ibaka continue to outplay Sefolosha and Kristic is the lone consistent.

The Thunder have no time to rest, as they take on the Utah Jazz tonight in another difficult road challenge.

I guess if we have learned anything this season and from this article (and believe me, I'm confused as well), it is that inconsistency is the only thing in sports that is consistent.

* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24.




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