Archive - January 2017

Thunder end road trip with loss in San Antonio

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Quite possibly the most challenging month in the history of the Oklahoma City Thunder finally came to an end Tuesday night in San Antonio as the Thunder fell short to the Gregg Popovich-lead Spurs 108-94.

Tuesday night’s game was much like a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs intertwined throughout. Oklahoma City trailed by as much as 18 in the second quarter, and trailed by as many as 17 in the third quarter.

However, they kept fighting, and even proceeded to take a lead in the third quarter, although it was short-lived. After trailing by 17, Oklahoma City went on a 25-4 scoring run, a run that was aided by a San Antonio offensive stalemate that lasted from the 8:43 mark in the third quarter until the 2:42 mark.

“We took the lead and obviously, working to get back like we did, we probably needed a little more sustainability throughout that last 24 minutes,” Billy Donovan said.

Oklahoma City was able to take the lead, but soon surrendered it right back to the Spurs, and San Antonio never looked back.

The Spurs lead 79-75 heading into the fourth, and once the fourth period started, they took hold of the game for good. The Thunder’s second unit that started the 4th quarter went 1-of-7 from the field, and were outscored 9-2.

By the time Russell Westbrook and his compadres re-entered the game, the Spurs lead 88-77 and never looked back from there.

Kawhi Leonard dominated the fourth quarter, pouring in 20 points in the final period. Leonard finished the night with 36 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. This was his 15th 30 point game of the season. Coming into this season, Leonard only had 10 30-point outputs for his entire career.

While the Thunder’s defense kept them in the ballgame tonight, their offensive deficiencies were too much to overcome.

Oklahoma City shot 30-of-85 from the field on the night, totaling a measly 35.3 percent. The shooting woes didn’t just stop there, however. Oklahoma City only shot 25 percent from long distance, going 7-of-28 on the night.

The rebounding battle between both teams was dead even, with each team allocating 50 rebounds.

Oklahoma City out-assisted San Antonio 21-16, and also had 10 more fast break points than the Spurs. While Oklahoma City had 20 turnovers compared to San Antonio’s 17, Oklahoma City actually outscored the Spurs off turnovers 24-14.

While the team as a whole wasn’t very efficient offensively, this was not the case for Russell Westbrook. Westbrook finished the night with 27 points, including 3-of-7 from the three point line. Westbrook also poured in 14 assists.

While the Thunder’s resilience was respectable, their offensive ineptitude and poor shooting did them in.

“With our team and our margin of error, we’re not in a position where we can have lapses for a half or a lot of turnovers,” Donovan said.

Oklahoma City will look to get back on track tomorrow night as they face the Chicago Bulls at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Tip off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Force Turnovers:  B-

The Thunder were able to turn the Spurs over 17 times tonight, which is above their season average of 12.9. Following this further, the Thunder were able to turn those 17 turnovers into 24 points.

Bench Scoring: F

The bench had an awful game. Anthony Morrow scored 11 points, and the rest of the bench players combined only had 11 points. Without Abrines and Kanter due to injury, it’s expected for the bench to drop off a little, but it’s unacceptable for Cameron Payne and Jerami Grant to only contribute five points between the two of them to the bench unit.

Pound the Glass: B

While the Thunder didn’t dominate the glass, they also didn’t get dominated on the glass. Both teams finished the game with 50 rebounds, and Oklahoma City had 12 offensive rebounds compared to San Antonio’s 10. While they weren’t dominant on the boards, I can live with the rebounding performance.

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Thunder Game Day #49: at San Antonio Spurs

Oklahoma City Thunder (28-20, 12-14 away) vs. San Antonio Spurs (36-11, 16-6 home)
Tuesday, Jan. 31 :: 7:30 p.m. CST :: AT&T Center (18,581)

Thunder Game Day #49: at san antonio spursvs. Thunder Digest

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 9-point underdog. O/U is 210
Notes: Thunder: here | Spurs: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Russell Westbrook grabbed a triple-double but it wasn’t enough as the Thunder fell 107-91 against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon.
  • San Antonio has lost two in a row for the first time this season and are struggling since the loss of Pau Gasol to injury.
  • Oklahoma City is 7-3 vs. San Antonio in their last 10 games.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).

SCOUTING THE SPURS

  • The San Antonio Spurs are 36-11 on the season, second in the Western Conference.
  • San Antonio is 6-4 in their last 10 games.
  • The Spurs lost to Dallas 105-101 on Sunday night.
  • The Thunder is 13-16 versus the Spurs during the Oklahoma City era.
  • Oklahoma City is 5-9 at San Antonio all-time.
  • The Thunder are 7-3 in their last 10 against San Antonio.
  • Jonathan Simmons (wrist) is a game-time decision.
  • Pau Gasol (finger) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over San Antonio came on Dec. 17, 2012, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 107-93 (14-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (39 points) vs. San Antonio occurred during a 91-130 loss on March 25, 2015

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 61 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
  • 20 of the 61 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
  • Westbrook is fifth all-time in triple-doubles.

ALL-TIME TRIPLE-DOUBLE LIST

Rank Name Triple-doubles
1 Oscar Robertson 181
2 Magic Johnson 138
3 Jason Kidd 108
4 Russell Westbrook 79

INJURY REPORT

  • Enes Kanter is out until at least March 8.

50 IS NIFTY

  • On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
  • Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
  • Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.

STILL GOOD ODDS

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder hosts the Bulls tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m.
  • Chicago is 24-25 on the season, seventh in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Bulls are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Bulls 109-94 on Jan. 9, 2017.
  • The Chicago Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 121-108 on Sunday night.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Force turnovers

The Spurs only turn it over 12.9 times per game, seventh best. They’re only allowing 14.4 points off turnovers per game, sixth lowest. Oklahoma City has to find a way to force turnovers and get out on transition. That’s when Oklahoma City is their best.

Bench scoring

With no Enes Kanter, the Thunder have to find other bench productions. They were abysmal on Sunday against Cleveland, scoring only 31 points on 35 shots. Oklahoma City has to do a lot better going forward. We’ll see how it goes tonight.

Pound the glass

Oklahoma City without Kanter will have to find a way to attack the glass and dominate. If the Spurs can find a way beat the Thunder on the glass, it could be a long evening for the Thunder. Spurs are one of the best at limiting second chance points. However, if they can find a way to make up for Kanter’s absence, could be a surprising upset.

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Thunder get rolled by Cavs 107-91

Russell Westbrook recorded his 24th triple-double of the season for the Thunder, but it wasn’t enough as Oklahoma City fell to the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers 107-91.

Oklahoma City got out to a hot start, as they were pushing the ball in transition and beating Cleveland down the court almost every time. They won the first quarter 24-21.

Things got lopsided in the second quarter, as the Thunder couldn’t seem to get a bucket and the Cavs finally started hitting. The Thunder started forcing some bad shots and were eventually outscored by 16 in the second quarter.

Three pointers weren’t falling tonight which ended up being a big problem for OKC. They finished the game 6-of-26 from behind the line. Westbrook was 1-of-6 and Victor Oladipo was 1-of-4.

Leading the Thunder was Russell Westbrook with 20 points, but not a great shooting night finishing 7-of-26. Next was Oladipo with 17, and Joffrey Lauvergne with 14.

This was the Thunder’s first game without Enes Kanter, and his absence was really showing. The second unit had really found a groove, throwing him the ball inside and him either making a post move or dishing it out. That was nowhere to be found today as the offense ended up pretty stagnant.

Oklahoma City had no answer for Kyrie Irving and Lebron James. Both of them could score at any time and were having their way with the Thunder’s defense. Irving finished with 29, James with 25. Iman Shumpert added in 16. Kevin Love sat the second half with an injury, and only played 12 minutes. In his absence, Tristan Thompson had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Oklahoma City made a run with Westbrook on the bench in the fourth, getting within 82-75 but Irving scored a pair of layups and later drained a 30-foot three-pointer to give the Cavs a 98-82 lead.

Overall, the Thunder just didn’t have an answer for Cleveland’s stars. The bench cut the lead to 7 in the fourth, but just couldn’t get stops. They were trading buckets, and hitting two’s while Cleveland started nailing three’s. The game got out of hand late, as the Thunder just couldn’t keep up.

Next up for Oklahoma City is the San Antonio Spurs. That game will be on the road Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Transition: C-

The Thunder started out with this ranking as an A+ after the first quarter. They made Cleveland look pretty old and slow. But as the game went on, the Thunder stopped running and getting buckets in transition. They didn’t have many opportunities to run after turnovers, as they only forced five.

Big third: C+

The Thunder were only outscored by two in the third quarter. Holding back this grade, is the fact that they only scored 20 points. If the offense could score tonight, the outcome may have been different. Granted, they did only allow Cleveland 22 points, so it was a solid defensive quarter.

Pound the glass: B-

The reason why this grade is higher than the others, is the fact that the Thunder grabbed 55 rebounds. They out rebounded Cleveland but still couldn’t get a whole lot going from offensive boards. Steven Adams finished the game with only seven points. They also allowed 19 points to Tristan Thompson.

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Thunder Game Day #48: at Cleveland Cavaliers

Oklahoma City Thunder (28-19, 12-13 away) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (31-14, 20-5 home)
Sunday, Jan. 29 :: 2:30 p.m. CST :: Quicken Loans Arena (20,562)

Thunder Game Day #48: at Cleveland Cavaliersvs. Thunder Digest

TV: ABC (5 DirecTV, 8 Cox, 705 HD, 5 AT&T U-Verse, 5 Dish)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 7-point underdog. O/U is 220½
Notes: Thunder: here | Cavaliers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • This will be Oklahoma City’s first game since Enes Kanter’s injury. Oklahoma City is 1-1 all-time when Kanter misses a game with injury.
  • Cleveland beat the Nets on Friday night, ending their three-game losing streak.
  • The Thunder haven’t beat the Cavs since 2014 and haven’t won in Cleveland since March 2014.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s broadcast is on ABC only.

SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are 31-14 on the season, best in the East.
  • Cleveland is 4-6 in their last 10 games.
  • The Cavs beat the Nets 124-116 on Friday night.
  • This is the first meeting between the two teams.
  • In their head-to-head meetings, the Thunder trail the series 10-5 and have lost three straight.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-5 all-time at Quicken Loans.
  • Chris Andersen (knee) is out.
  • J.R. Smith (thumb) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Cleveland came on Dec. 12, 2010, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 106-77 (29-point margin of victory).
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) against the Cavaliers occurred during a 82- 117 loss on Nov. 26, 2009.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 60 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
  • 16 of the 60 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
  • Westbrook is fifth all-time in triple-doubles.

ALL-TIME TRIPLE-DOUBLE LIST

Rank Name Triple-doubles
1 Oscar Robertson 181
2 Magic Johnson 138
3 Jason Kidd 108
4 Russell Westbrook 79

INJURY REPORT

  • Enes Kanter is out until at least March 8.

50 IS NIFTY

  • On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
  • Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
  • Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.

STILL GOOD ODDS

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will travel to San Antonio to close out the toughest month in franchise history.
  • San Antonio is 36-10 on the season, second in the Western Conference.
  • The Spurs are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
  • This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
  • San Antonio is playing Dallas this evening for their next game.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Transition

These Cavaliers are trying to get out and into transition. However, the Thunder like to run, too. Oklahoma City has to figure out the quiet balance of helping their own cause while limiting their opponent’s. The Thunder’s game could really rely on this.

Big third

If you break down the scoring differences between quarters for the Thunder:

1st: +60 (7th in NBA)
2nd: -1 (12th)
3rd: -51 (23rd)
4th: +23 (11th)

It’s easy to see Oklahoma City has to really pick it up in the second and third quarters tonight. Do not give Dallas any chance of making this a game.

Pound the glass

Oklahoma City without Kanter will have to find a way to attack the glass and dominate. If the Cavaliers can find a way beat the Thunder on the glass, it could be a long afternoon for the Thunder. However, if they can find a way to make up for Kanter’s absence, could be a surprising upset.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Russell Westbrook is a man on a mission

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook doesn’t give a damn about starting in the All-Star game.

Though, you can bet he’s going to make you remember his name since the fans didn’t vote him in.

Westbrook said numerous times he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. His fashion statements are living proof that the man from Leuzinger High School just struts his stuff because he likes it. The man is non-stop.

Westbrook is a different animal. With almost a theatrical quality about Westbrook, he relishes the villain role. While many have come to endear him and his journey without Durant this season, the yelling, stomping around the court and enraging opposing fans (see Philly) is still on full blast. That patented Westbrook scowl has become world-renowned.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When Westbrook is on his A-game, there’s nothing anyone can do. Because before you know it, he’s already at the rim, throwing down a thunderous dunk or hitting a picture perfect pull-up jumper. While every athlete is always going head-to-head, it’s impossible to do with Westbrook as he’s already two steps ahead of them.

Since the announcement of the starters last week, Russell Westbrook has been on a living tear. Two triple-doubles and a 45-point bonanza that left you breathless.

“I don’t play for All-Star nods or All-Star bids,” Westbrook said.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s spectacle every time he steps on the court. He’s an ooh and ahh away from dunking on a player and ending their evening. See: Rudy Gobert. What Russell Westbrook cares about is winning. You know what tears Westbrook up more than not starting in the All-Star game? Missing the playoffs two years ago. Succeeding in everything he does is what drives this man.

You see Russell Westbrook as second class to other players? Westbrook doesn’t care, but he’ll find those who you feel are better and dunk on them with the nuclear ferocity that he rages with inside him. There’s only so much emotion a man can explain through his physical being; Westbrook signifies it by blowing up on the court and leaving collateral damage in his wake.

This is Russell Westbrook’s league now.

Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

“I play to win championships,” Westbrook said. “Every night I compete at a high level.”

You couldn’t create a player of his size with his ability in a comic book if you wanted to. He’s as agile as any other point guard in the league, but he’s as long any center you can name. He’ll out hustle any power forward and when he’s hot, he’ll shoot you right out of your own gym.

We figured the post break up with Kevin Durant would bring in a special Westbrook. Triple-doubles were predicted and numbers were figured around 20-25 for an entire season. Only 47 games into the season, Westbrook has eclipsed all expectations and has his sight set on history. The man has one gear and that’s go. If you don’t like, he’ll run you over and continue on his merry way.

Yeah, Westbrook doesn’t give a damn about starting in the All-Star game. Doesn’t mean he’s going to let you forget your mistake in not choosing him.

Be prepared. Go to your bomb shelter, because pissed off Russ is coming.

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Enes Kanter out indefinitely with forearm fracture

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Enes Kanter punched a chair during a timeout in the second quarter on Thursday night and fractured his forearm.

Kanter, who immediately left for the training room was initially out with a right wrist sprain, but it was apparent immediately after the game when Kanter was seen in a fully wrapped arm that the injury was signficantly worse.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report it, then Royce Young of ESPN, Kanter’s injury was worse. He fractured his forearm and will miss extended time. His original timeline of indefinitely is until they define it.

“We’re going to lose Enes for a few games,” Donovan said. “It’s a part of the 82 games.”

Kanter joined the Thunder in 2014 in a trade from the Utah Jazz. He had been the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

This is a huge loss for Oklahoma City. This is a massive blow to any real chance Oklahoma City had at making it past the first round. Oklahoma City, though is seven games ahead of the eighth seed. They’re nine games from the ninth spot with 35 games remaining. The Thunder are 28-19 and holding onto the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

Kanter is averaging 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds on 56 percent shooting. Kanter has missed only two games while with the Thunder. He missed one game in Feb. 2015 with a hip contusion and one game in March 2015 with an ankle injury.

“I am disappointed personally,” Donovan said. “Because he was playing very good basketball.”

Oklahoma City now will travel to San Antonio on Sunday and then play the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

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Westbrook’s 45 leads OKC by Dallas

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook dropped 45 points on the second night of a back-to-back as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 109-98 on Thursday night.

Oklahoma City improved to 28-19 on the season. They’ve won three straight.

Westbrook’s fourth quarter was yet another sensational performance that has been one after another of breathtaking sequences that leave you just wanting more. He scored 17 in the fourth quarter, including three three-pointers that were nothing but net.

Dallas had cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 98-92 with 2:45 remaining, but Westbrook on the assault. He nailed a big three. Then, a pull up 21-footer. Capped it off by nailing another pull up three. A six-point game turned into a 10-point contest just like that.

Dallas was without four of their top players, either due to injury or rest. However, the Mavs C-team made it a game for a majority of the contest. Harrison Barnes scored 31 points, and Justin Anderson added 17 for the Mavericks. They had won five of seven.

While the final score was double-digits, the entire first half was a slugfest. Oklahoma City trailed by at least seven when they fell down 44-37 behind Barnes and Seth Curry getting hot from deep. Oklahoma City locked it down by nailing a couple of threes right before the break.

Oklahoma City trailed 55-53 at halftime.

After Enes Kanter was forced to leave the game in the second quarter, Westbrook was forced to carry more of the offensive load, finishing with his seventh 40-point game of the season.

“Enes has a right forearm fracture,” Donovan said. “But was confirmed after the game.”

Kanter has fractured his forearm and is out indefinitely.

“We’re going to lose Enes for a few games,” Donovan said. “It’s a part of the 82 games.”

With Kanter being hurt, Oklahoma City’s bench struggled. Their 20 points is the second lowest total of the season for this bench.

“I am disappointed personally,” Donovan said. “Because he was playing very good basketball.”

Victor Oladipo added 17 points, and Steven Adams had 15 points for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City is off until Sunday when they go back on the road. They’ll be in Cleveland on Sunday for a matinee. Game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m on ABC. We’ll have your complete coverage here on Thunder Digest.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Force Turnovers: D

Dallas only turned it over 12 times, their season average. Oklahoma City scored 16 on turnovers and that’s something Oklahoma City can improve upon. Dallas is pretty good at taking care of the ball, but the Thunder appears lackluster at times.

Big third: A+

Oklahoma City outscored the Mavericks by 16 in the third quarter. They turned a two-point deficit into a 14-point lead. Oklahoma City really flexed their muscles and showed some serious adjustments and improved. Oklahoma City can do better by just playing better in the first half.

Don’t take ’em for granted: C

Dallas hung around all game long. The Thunder had a 14-point lead heading into the fourth, but saw it dwindle to as little as six in the fourth. That’s before Westbrook, of course. An almost devastating loss turned into an okay win. Can’t scare us like that.

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Russell Westbrook named to Western All-Star team

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Many feel Russell Westbrook is the MVP, but he wasn’t picked to be an All-Star starter. However, the coaches fixed that on Thursday.

The OKC guard was picked as a reserve for the Western Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

The All-Star appearance will be Westbrook’s sixth of his career. Last season in Toronto was his only All-Star start.

Westbrook has 23 triple-doubles in 47 games, putting him on pace to tie Oscar Robertson’s season of a triple-double in 1961-62 season.

He was the media and player’s pick for the starting lineup, but it was the fans vote that kept him out on a tie-breaker.

Reserves were chosen by the league’s head coaches, who picked seven reserves apiece (excluding guys from their own teams). That system was not changed from previous years, unlike the starter vote that now includes players and a panel of media members.

 

Westbrook is in the middle of a historic season where he’s averaging 31.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 10.2 assists.

The All-Star game will take place in New Orleans on Feb. 19 and will air on TNT at 7:00 p.m. Thunder time.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Game Day #47: vs. Dallas Mavericks

Oklahoma City Thunder (27-19, 15-6 home) vs. Dallas Mavericks (29-16, 6-17 away)
Thursday, Jan. 26 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

Thunder Game Day #29: at New Orleans Pelicansvs. Thunder Digest

TV: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 9½-point favorite. O/U is 197
Notes: Thunder: here | Mavericks: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are winners of back-to-back games and are now getting to head home to the Peake for a single game.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t been at home since Jan. 11.
  • The Thunder went 3-3 in their six-game road trip.
  • The Dallas Mavericks are having a bad season, they’ll be without at least four players tonight.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s broadcast is on TNT only.

SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS

  • The Dallas Mavericks are 16-29 on the season, 13th in the Western Conference.
  • Dallas is 5-5 in their last 10 games.
  • This is the first meeting since the first round playoffs last season, Oklahoma City beat Dallas 4-1.
  • The Thunder are 17-12 against the Mavericks during the Oklahoma City era.
  • Oklahoma City is 10-5 at the Peake vs. Dallas.
  • J.J. Barea (calf) is out.
  • Wesley Matthews (hip) is out.
  • Deron Williams (toe) is out.
  • Dirk Nowitzki (rest) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over the Mavericks came on Feb. 4, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 112-91 (21-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (23 points) vs. Dallas occurred during an 86-109 loss on March 16, 2014.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 60 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
  • 16 of the 60 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
  • Westbrook is fifth all-time

ALL-TIME TRIPLE-DOUBLE LIST

Rank Name Triple-doubles
1 Oscar Robertson 181
2 Magic Johnson 138
3 Jason Kidd 108
4 Russell Westbrook 79

INJURY REPORT

  • Oklahoma City is healthy.

50 IS NIFTY

  • On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
  • Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
  • Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.

STILL GOOD ODDS

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
  • Cleveland is 30-14 on the season, first in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Cavs are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
  • This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.
  • Cleveland plays the Nets tomorrow night.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Force turnovers

Scoring in transition and forcing turnovers usually go hand in hand. Oklahoma City will have their hands full as Dallas is second best at taking care of the ball. If the Thunder can force turnovers, get off to the races, this game may be a special one for them.

Big third

If you break down the scoring differences between quarters for the Thunder:

1st: +60 (7th in NBA)
2nd: -1 (12th)
3rd: -51 (23rd)
4th: +23 (11th)

It’s easy to see Oklahoma City has to really pick it up in the second and third quarters tonight. Do not give Dallas any chance of making this a game.

Don’t take Dallas for Granted

Dallas may be without for key players, but this is the NBA and if the Thunder were to lose this game, it would be a horrible loss. Teams often know how to step up with key players go down. The Thunder cannot afford to let this game slip into Maverick’s hands. They have to win this.

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Thunder top Pelicans in NOLA

Jan 25, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after teammate center Enes Kanter (not pictured) during against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder nabbed their second straight victory tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans, 114-105. The Pelicans were coming off a victory over the defending champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as the Thunder had just knocked off a hot Utah Jazz team.

Russell Westbrook racked up his 23rd triple-double, notching 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook wasn’t exactly efficient from the field, only shooting 7-of-22, but he was constantly getting others involved in every aspect of the game.

Steven Adams ended the game with an impressive 20 points and 11 rebounds, as he recorded his second  straight game with four blocks. Also from the starters, Oladipo added 15 points and three triples, accounting for a team-best +18. Roberson had a nice game as he shot 4-of-4 from the field, scoring eight points. Domantas Sabonis also scored eight.

Bench play was huge for the Thunder in their victory tonight, as all five players scored. Enes Kanter had another impressive game off the bench, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Abrines scored an efficient 11 points, on 4-of-5 shooting and 2-of-2 from downtown. Cameron Payne pitched in five points.

New Orleans went on a run in the third and fourth quarter, and even cut the game to five points when it was 105-100. OKC really took over and won the game in transition.

OKC took advantage of Anthony Davis missing the second half and got after it on the boards, grabbing 55 total on the game. It seemed like the Thunder were getting points exclusively from the paint late in the third quarter, just pounding the Pelicans who had no interior defense to answer.

The Pelicans leading scorer was E’Twaun Moore of the bench who scored 18 points, followed by Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans with 14 each. Terrence Jones also added 12.

The Thunder’s interior defense really stood out as the Pelicans couldn’t get a lot going inside. They shot only 42 percent as the Thunder blocked 11 shots.

Next up for OKC is Thursday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. This ends a six-game road stretch, as the Thunder return to the Chesapeake Energy Arena at 7 p.m.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Control the paint: A+

The Thunder dominated inside tonight. Even when Davis was playing in the first half, they held him to 8 points. OKC out-rebounded the Pelicans 55-47. Both big men for the Thunder had huge games. The Thunder demolished their season average in points in the paint, scoring 66 tonight.  “We just kind of went inside,” Adams said.  “Seeing that it was a bit of a weakness for them, and we managed to get some easy ones and play inside out.”

Fast break points: B

Oklahoma City finished with 20 fast break points. A lot of the fast break points came off steals and none were bigger than Oladipo’s steal and score late in the fourth quarter. The Thunder didn’t get out and run an abnormal amount tonight, but that’s because they found scoring in other ways.

Defend the three: B+

The Pelicans made 11 threes tonight but they also attempted 27. The Thunder didn’t allow any Pelicans to make more than two 3-pointers. The defense was flying around and making plays, especially in the first half.

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