Author - Chuck Chaney

Thunder Game Day #75: vs. Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder (41-24, 21-13 home)

vs.

Denver Nuggets (43-23, 18-14 away)

Monday, August 3 :: 3:00 p.m. CST :: The Arena — Disney’s Wild World of Sports
TV Coverage: Fox Sports Oklahoma
TV Coverage: NBATV
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are 4½-point favorites. The over/under is 219.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Nuggets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma City will look to continue their winning ways as they are one of the hottest teams in the NBA dating back to March. If you include the scrimmage games, Oklahoma City has won seven straight games. We don’t, so they have only won four straight.
  • Denver lost to Miami by double digits in their first seeding game will look to avenge that tonight. Denver typically has been a bad matchup for Oklahoma City as of late.
  • With no Dennis Schröder and Terrance Ferguson, the Thunder will once again look for someone to step up and help out.

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.
  • Chris Fisher 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).

STANDING WATCH

  • Currently, the Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
  • Oklahoma City is currently two games ahead of seventh place Dallas and a half game behind fifth place Houston.
  • Utah, who is in fourth place, leads the Thunder by 1½ games.
  • The Thunder have clinched a playoff spot and can finish no worse than seventh.
  • They could hypothetically finish as high as second in the West.

SCOUTING THE ENEMY

  • The Denver Nuggets are currently 43-23 on the season, sitting in third place in the West behind the LA Clippers.
  • Denver lost to the Miami Heat in their opener of the bubble seeding 125-105.
  • The teams split their first two regular season games, withe each winning on their home court.
  • The Thunder are 99-84 all-time against the Nuggets.
  • Since the Thunder relocated, Oklahoma City is 22-23 against Denver
  • When they are considered the home team, Oklahoma City is 15-9 vs. Denver
  • Denver’s Injury report
    Jamal Murray (hamstring) is out.
    Garry Harris (hip) is out.
    Will Barton (knee) is out.
    Vlatko Cancar (foot) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Denver came on 2/22/15, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 119- 94 (25-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (29 points) vs. DEN occurred during a 90-119 loss on 3/3/10.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Terrance Ferguson (leg) is out for Oklahoma City.
  • Dennis Schröder (personal) is out for Oklahoma City.

UNIFORM WATCH

Keys to the Game

Rebound

The winner of the rebounding has won the previous two match ups this season. If Oklahoma City can take advantage of some injuries the Nuggets are facing and rebound well, they could win this game. If Jokic is coming out and having a 15-rebound game and nearing a triple-double, the Thunder could be in trouble.

Play Smart

A vague key to the game but basically just play smart, stay out of foul trouble, take care of the ball, and let the Nuggets beat themselves. One thing I’ve learned playing tennis is sometimes you don’t need to hit the big winner to get by your opponent. Sometimes, you have to play out the rally and let your opponent make that careless mistake. Oklahoma City needs to do that here.

Kiwi Key

The $100 million man is key for the Thunder for the remainder of the season. While we may not always have him here, his play dictates how the Thunder are really going to succeed. Whether it’s getting going early or limiting an opponent like he did Rudy Gobert on Saturday afternoon. The Thunder winning is predicated on Adams playing well.

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Thunder never trail in win over rival Jazz

The Oklahoma City Thunder never trailed and wasted no time finding their groove in their official first game of the NBA’s restart to the season. They led by as many as 29 and beat the Utah Jazz 110-94.

Oklahoma City now has won four straight games and have not lost a game since March 3. Given, the NBA took a four-month hiatus due to COVID-19.

“Overall, I thought our guys played pretty well,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. ”

Utah and Oklahoma City were the two teams under the microscope when the NBA chose to suspend the season. When Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, it also brought the sports world to an immediate halt. It was only fitting Oklahoma City and Utah would be the restart game for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City made the wait worth it.

The Thunder used a 10-0 run early in the first quarter to separate themselves from Utah early using big time defense from Steven Adams and Lu Dort. Danilo Gallinari capped off the run with a three to put the Thunder up double digits.

“We played three scrimmage games and they were sort of up and down,” Chris Paul said. “To see how we came out and responded is good.”

Steven Adams made a turnaround hook shot with 1:08 to go in the first half to give Oklahoma City their first 20-point lead of the game.

Oklahoma City led 66-52 at the break.

Utah really never made a push shorter than 18 points in time that mattered. After Utah cut it down to 18 in the middle of the fourth, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nailed a three to put the Thunder back up 21 with 5:44 remaining in the game.

Oklahoma City hit seven threes in the first half, while holding the Jazz to only three of their own. It was a large reason why Oklahoma City was able to pull out to such a large lead in the first half.

The two teams knelt during the national anthem, showing solidarity to Black Lives Matters. Every and coach on the Thunder took a knee despite threats from Oklahoma politicians to issue some tax penalties on the franchise for kneeling during them anthem.

“We talked about that the last few days,” Donovan said. “We want to support our players. We see the social injustice that takes place in a lot of guy’s lives. We just want to be behind these guys by constantly fighting for equality all the way around.”

“It was special, especially to do it as a team,” Chris Paul said. “To do it on a united front, man, it was special.”

There is no real threat to the tax penalties as it appears to be only an empty threat.

Oklahoma City had seven players score at least nine points, led by Gilgeous-Alexander’s 19 points.

Paul had 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City has seven games remaining in their bubble restart. They will play the Denver Nuggets on Monday, Aug. 3 at 3 p.m.

“One game down, seven to go,” Paul said.

Keys to the Game

Steven Adams: A+

The Kiwi was dominating on both sides of the ball and provided a nice alternative in the passing game. He had nice dishes and almost had a pretty sweet no-look pass that Dort missed. Adams finished plus-15 on the day, which shows when he’s positive, the Thunder are more likely to win. He held Rudy Gobert to 10 points and only seven rebounds. He forced Gobert into four fouls and minus-14.

Defend the three: A+

Oklahoma City held the Jazz to 8-of-31 from (25.8 percent) from beyond the three-point line. That is what you want to do. It was really the first half that was big for Oklahoma City. Utah was only 3-of-15 in the first half from three. Oklahoma City has to keep that defense up.

Play Loose: A+

It would be easy to come into this game and play tight. It is a big game and Utah is always a bit of a rivalry game. However, the Thunder battled tough and really put it to Utah early and often. This team looked like they did back in March and that is a dangerous thing for the NBA.

How will OKC do over their final 7 games

View Results

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Thunder Game Day #75: vs. Utah Jazz

Oklahoma City Thunder (40-24, 20-13 home)

vs.

Utah Jazz (42-23, 21-13 away)

Saturday, August 1 :: 2:30 p.m. CST :: The Arena — Disney’s Wild World of Sports
TV Coverage: Fox Sports Oklahoma
TV Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are 1½-point favorites. The over/under is 216.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to open their bubble portion of the regular season. While some teams have gotten under way and picked up wins (Utah), the Thunder had an unbeaten scrimmage set and are looking to push that into the last part of the season.
  • Oklahoma City will be the home team. They can dictate the images around the arena, even down to which sound effects are being used.
  • Andre Roberson is back and it is still unclear if he will start this afternoon. He has been a breath of fresh air for the Thunder off the bench.
  • While the Thunder have clinched a playoff spot, they are still jockeying for playoff positioning. A win would go a long way into securing home court for the playoffs… whatever that means now.

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.
  • Chris Fisher 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).
  • ESPN will have the broadcast, too. Mark Jones, Doris Burke and Malika Andrews will have the call for The World Wide Leader.

STANDING WATCH

  • Currently, the Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
  • Oklahoma City is currently two games ahead of seventh place Dallas and a half game behind fifth place Houston.
  • Utah, who is in fourth place, leads the Thunder by 1½ games.
  • The Thunder have clinched a playoff spot and can finish no worse than seventh.
  • They could hypothetically finish as high as second in the West.

SCOUTING THE ENEMY

  • The Utah Jazz are 41-23 on the season, good enough for fourth in the Western Conference.
  • Utah beat the New Orleans Pelicans 106-104 to wrap up their first game of the bubble portion
  • The two teams have split their first two games of the season, with both games being in Salt Lake City.
  • Oklahoma City is 111-79 all-time against Utah.
  • Since the Thunder relocated, Oklahoma City is 32-13 against the Jazz.
  • When they are considered the home team, Oklahoma City is 19-2 all-time vs. Utah.
  • Utah is healthy heading into today’s game.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Utah came on Dec. 20, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 107-79 (28-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. UTA occurred during a 99-120 loss on Oct. 31, 2010.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Terrance Ferguson (leg) is a game-time decision for Oklahoma City.

UNIFORM WATCH

Keys to the Game

Steven Adams

The Kiwi has to be an important piece of the Thunder’s success against Utah today. He was plus-14 in the win and minus-1 in the loss. If he has a nice day, the Thunder could be looking at a win. With the playoff positioning so tight, this game is huge.

Defend the three

Oklahoma City has been a solid three-point defending team all season. Now, you add in the pressure of playoff basketball on the horizon and these guys with little to no big game experience need to learn to step up. Utah hasn’t shot the three particularly well vs. Oklahoma City. Have to keep that up this afternoon.

Play loose

In a game that is this large with everything riding after the shut down, they could play tight. Remember, Oklahoma City and Utah basically ended the regular season with the positive test on March 11. I don’t know if they forgot that but they have to play as if it is another game in the season and play to their ability.

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Thunder seeding schedule released

The NBA released the seeding schedules for all remaining teams heading to Orlando, Florida to finish up the 2019-20 season. Each team will play eight games, with some back-to-backs thrown in there.

Testing is the large question mark for the “bubble” experiment.

The Thunder open their seeding schedule on ESPN and FS Oklahoma against Utah. How it all ended with Utah on March 11, it will restart with the Jazz. Oklahoma City will play them at 2:30 p.m. on one of the three courts the NBA will have running simultaneously.

Oklahoma City will play the Nuggets on Aug. 3 and then the Lakers on the Aug. 5. They finish off the schedule by playing the Heat and the Clippers.

The NBA will run a maximum of seven games per day on three different courts, tipping off between 11 a.m and 8 p.m. CST. Two of those courts will be reserved for national broadcasts, as ESPN and TNT are broadcasting a bunch of games. There will be a handful on NBATV as well.

During the bubble, the NBA has modified some of their bench dress code requirements. They don’t have to wear sports coats on the bench. They can wear a polo, much like teams do in summer league.

Oklahoma City is set to travel to Orlando and begin their quarantine for the bubble on July 8.

Currently, the Thunder have clinched no worse than the seventh seed as they sit fifth in the Western Conference. They are only a game back of Utah, which will see how that goes on Aug. 1, and tied with the Rockets for the fifth spot. Oklahoma City currently owns the tiebreaker with Houston. Since they do not play again as they were scheduled, the Thunder would own the head-to-head tiebreaker with Houston, as Oklahoma City won 2-1 this season.

They are up 1½ games on Dallas in the seventh spot and they’re 2½ back of Denver for the three seed.

Here is the seeding schedule for Oklahoma City:

Aug. 1: Jazz, 2:30 p.m. FSOK/ESPN
Aug. 3: Nuggets, 3 p.m. NBATV
Aug. 5: Lakers, 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Aug. 7: Grizzlies, 3 p.m. NBATV
Aug. 9: Wizards, 11:30 a.m. FSOK
Aug. 10: Suns, 1:30 p.m. FSOK
Aug. 12: Heat, 7 p.m. FSOK
Aug. 14: Clippers, TBD

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Thunder sign Lu Dort to multi-year deal

It was probably one of the biggest no brainers for the Thunder this season but they made it official on Wednesday afternoon.

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed Lu Dort to a multi-year contract, keeping him in Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future.

The terms reported are a four-year deal worth $5.4 million. This season’s pro rated salary is $155,657. Then, he’ll receive $1.78 million for next season, $1.93 million for the 2022-23 season and he will make $2.05 million for the 2023-24 season. Next season’s $1.78 million is fully guaranteed. 2022-23 is guaranteed at $300,000 and the 2023-24 season is guaranteed at $325,000. Meaning, he’ll make the $300,000 no matter what if the Thunder decide to release him prior to the season starting, in which the contract then becomes guaranteed.

Dort, the undrafted rookie out of Arizona State shined during his time with the top club. After signing a two-way deal, allowing him only 45 days to spend with the Thunder and the rest with the Oklahoma City Blue, Dort took full advantage of the situation, finding himself inserted into the starting line up and becoming a fan favorite for his hard work and dedication on the court. At only 6-3 he was unafraid of anyone and gave his best to guard everyone.

One of the most memorable moments for Dort is when he was a large piece in holding James Harden to 1-of-17 from three-point range in his first start. The Thunder won the game and Dort won our hearts.

Dort, 21, averaged 6.3 points per game on 41.4 percent shooting before the shutdown. His career high came against Sacramento when he dropped 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including going 5-of-6 from three-point range.

Dort on a two-way contract would have let him finish out the remaining regular season on the traditional terms. New rules for the Orland bubble situation would have let Dort play in the playoffs. In a traditional season, two-way players are ineligible for the playoffs and become free agents at season’s end. The Thunder decided to bypass any of that and sign him now.

He’s been starting since January 20 and the Thunder have been rolling ever since. Oklahoma is 16-5 when Dort is in the starting lineup and 22-7 when Dort is in the game. He makes the Thunder better and they saw to it he can make them better in the future.

Oklahoma City has found success with multiple Dort lineups. Pairing him with CP3-Gallinari-Adams-SGA, the Thunder’s offense is solid, hitting good efficiency across the board, while the defense slips to 117 DRTG.

When you put him with CP3-Gallinari-Noel-SGA the Thunder have been unstoppable. Their +36.2 net RTG means their offensive rating of 130.6 is 36.2 better than their defensive rating (100 is average).

Where to go from here? That’s the deciding factor and how the Thunder will play in Orlando is a fat question mark.

One question has been answered: Where Lu Dort will spend his next few years playing professional basketball.

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NBA set to make July 31 targeted return date for season

Adam Silver NBA

The NBA’s Board of Governors is set to vote on Thursday to make July 31 their target return date to finish the 2019-20 season.

How they will return remains a mystery.

As of now, the NBA is expected to bring 20-22 teams to Orlando for a single location to finish the season. The bubble would allow the league to control testing, while providing a safe environment for the teams to finish the season.

The NBA’s Board of Governors is expected to vote on Thursday as well to choose the returning format with a handful of options being mentioned.

To return to play, the league needs three-fourths approval and the owners appears to be ready to return to play. With television contracts on the line, teams are eager to complete those so the financial loss does not grow bigger than already anticipated.

There are four ideas currently, with a 22-team idea the front runner. Bringing back all 30 teams currently seems to be dead in the water.

A 22-team format would include teams that are currently within six games of the final playoff spots in each conferences. So, New Orleans, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and San Antonio would head to Orlando and Washington in the east.

A majority of the NBA general managers would like the league head straight for the playoffs, meaning those teams who are in their respected eight playoff seeds would advance to the playoffs and the league would accept the financial losses for not completing any of their television contracts, which most require reaching 70 or 72 games.

There is also talk of putting in a World Cup style format, where 20 teams would be split into five different groups, let those teams play in groups and the winner and runner-up advance through to the knock-out round. Those players who play for international teams would be familiar with the format as FIBA and the Olympics have the same format.

Those same GMs expressed approval in the idea of adding two-way players to the playoff rosters. By the current standards, Lu Dort would not be eligible for the playoffs since he is only a two-way player.

By the current suggestions of starting the season on July 31, this gives the league two months to finish the regular season and the playoffs, with the season potentially wrapping up by Oct. 1.

Then, the season would push through and re-start on Christmas.

For now, all of this is expectation and conjecture. Nothing is finalized. What we do know is we want basketball back.

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The league trying to decide on format to bring back basketball

It’s hard to believe the Thunder participated in the game that sent the league into a spiral shutdown. The unfortunate suspension of play has been hard on players and fans. Everyone wants basketball back.

Teams and the league have a financial obligation to get to at least 70 games. Many TV deals are predicated on getting to that marker. If they don’t, it would cost a league millions that will see a drastic reduction in revenue due to the shutdown already.

Currently, the league is considering different options that are not limited to playing out the season or just going straight to the playoffs. If they go straight to the playoffs, that leaves 14 teams at home and some teams may feel jilted. Such as Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento, who were all less than three games back of a Memphis team that was reeling due to injuries.

Then, players that are on expiring deals, who showed out through the first 66 games or so, are at risk of getting out there, laying goose eggs and potentially costing themselves money.

For now, the league worries on what the league will look like if and when it resumes. Damian Lillard already said is not going to play. The Thunder want to play, they were one of the league’s hottest teams before the shutdown. Why does Golden State want to play? Atlanta had the most active in voluntary workouts on Memorial Day, so it’s all across the board in terms of activity.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there isn’t going to be any resistance from teams if they do bring back all 30 teams but the league is worried about the product. After four months off, you’re going to have some sloppy play and maybe some upsets. The Thunder may not be the same team we saw throughout the season. They may not be the same team we fell in love with.

There’s talk of putting the league back into action mid-July, with the playoffs and NBA Finals ending in September. The draft and free agency would start later in the month when the 2020-21 season starting on Christmas.

Mark Cuban has a wild proposition. All 30 teams to finish out their television obligations. Tehn, the top 10 teams from both conferences would qualify for the playoffs and be re-seeded based on record. There would be two play-in games between the 17 vs. 20 and 18 vs. 19 games. The winners would be the 15th and 16th seeds in the final playoff bracket.

By this proposal, there are 28 of the 30 teams that are within three games of the 10th seed and could make the altered playoff bracket.

There will be no unanimous decision. The players don’t really want to risk injury but they don’t want to risk financial gain. They are already taking a 25 percent pay cut due to the suspension due to COVID-19. There will be teams who don’t want to risk their draft position and some who are trying to better that or their playoff positioning.

We want basketball back. What will that look like when it does return? That remains to be seen.

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Thunder commit to paying game day employees, arena staff

The Oklahoma City Thunder finally stepped up and made a public statement about paying their game day staff that is not limited to the Thunder drummers, the cheerleaders, storm chasers. It comes after over a week of silence as the rest of the NBA had said something publicly.

That’s all these arena workers wanted, they wanted some sort of statement they were taken care of. Instead, they were met with the opposite. The Thunder, who have always been about family first become the 30th team to commit to paying their part time workers.

The Thunder plan is to provide financial assistance to the part time staff on the team’s current payroll. They will also have a separate fund to pay the employees of ASM Global.

Oklahoma City sent this message out on social media:

Our game-night staff are vital to the game experience and are part of our Thunder family, whether they are employed by the Thunder or by ASM Global, the company contracted by the City of Oklahoma City operate the arena. To help them during this time of uncertainty, the Thunder will offer them financial assistance. The plan includes providing financial assistance to the part-time staff who work directly for the Thunder each game night and will potentially miss the remainder of the regular season, seven home games. The Thunder will also provide financial assistance to the additional part-time employees who work and are paid by ASM Global and who will potentially miss those seven games. Distribution of those funds is to be coordinated by ASM Global.

The Thunder also sent out this email to the game day staff:

We know this is a unique and unprecedented time of uncertainty for all of us. The NBA season is on hold, games are not being played and we know you are certainly impacted by the season hiatus.

I wanted to let you know that we will offer financial assistance to you, as a part-time employee of the Thunder. it will be based on the potential of missing the final seven games of the regular season and should help bridge some of the payment you would have received for working the games. I want you and your family to have the peace of mind while we go through this difficult situation together.

We will be in contact with you to provide details of this financial assistance plan. Each of you is part of our Thunder family. We deeply appreciate you and all that you do for our organization and our guests. We couldn’t do it without you.

While they are the last, seeing the Thunder step up gives those employees peace of mind going forward during these trying times.

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Thunder remain only NBA team to not announce something for game day employees

UPDATE: The Thunder have since made a statement how they would take care of their part-time employees and the ASM Global game day staff

Oklahoma City is often on the forefront of taking care of their own. They preach family and loyalty. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thunder have remained silent, despite being at the epicenter of the NBA’s suspending the season.

The Timberwolves announced on Wednesday they were paying workers for games missed, leaving the rest of the fans to wonder what Oklahoma City is doing. At least the Utah Jazz, who are only paying some of the workers (and not with the money Rudy Gobert donated for them). Some will not be paid. However, it’s still more than what the Thunder are currently doing.

There is this increased thought of: “Well, the Thunder are private in their talks.”

The Thunder are only silent when it comes to player movements. When it comes to touting their philanthropic achievements, they are one of the tops in the league. Yet, they remain silent.

It’s not just the silence that is unbearable. It’s the communication between game day staff and the organization that is most pressing. When asked how the organization is going to help as most work two jobs and depend on the money, one unnamed source due to fear of repercussions from the team said: “They said there was nothing they could do.”

There is a misconception about the $100,000 donated by Gobert. It is intended for coronoavirus-related social services, not to pay the arena employees.

From the Thunder drummers to your usher that helps you find your seat and is that first real smiling face you see, many work two jobs. They may be a senior citizen and this is their only means of income. The suspension of the NBA has hurt more than just the fans, it’s hurt the employees. As a different source told me, “I have a full-time job but what about those who bartend or wait tables? That’s gone now, too.”

Currently, arena employees have missed four dates. Thunder game day staff has missed three dates.

“It’s not a lot of money working games,” said one source. “People still count on that to pay their bills and to put food on the table.”

The silence is deafening when talking to those within SMG. The Thunder have not made any real comments to those at SMG about supplementing the pay. There are multiple factors that do go into all of this. You have your payroll tax. Do you pay it twice when the games are eventually made up? Do you just wait to see? For all of his faults, Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban sees no issue with paying people twice.

“There’s issues of payroll taxes. Do you pay the payroll taxes if they don’t work?” Cuban said. “There’s issues of, ‘What happens if the games are actually played in the future? Do we pay them twice?’ I personally don’t care. That’s fine.”

The players have remained quiet, too. Gone are the days where we’ve seen Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook donate their own funds to help those in need. This overturned roster hasn’t stepped up to the plate. Though, only a handful of players have. It should fall on the owners of these multi-million dollar franchises and according to Forbes, are valued at $1.5 billion in Feb. 2020. It should be noted the Thunder lost $23 million last season, as the only team in the NBA to lose money last season.

While the Thunder remain quiet on the front, the concern rages. Why haven’t this organization that preaches family and loyalty stepped up to say something. There are many who feel left out by the team with something they cannot control.

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2K SIM: Thunder take down Memphis, win seventh straight

We’ve decided to continue the season. The Thunder’s season will go on. We’re going to simulate 12-minute quarters and make highlights for you all. You can follow along with us as the Thunder ascend, hopefully, to the top of the Western Conference and the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

 

Oklahoma City led by as many as 24 in their 104-89 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. They had six different players score in double figures.

The opening possession was a lot of how the game would go for the Thunder, as they are in a tight Western Conference battle. The Thunder needing a win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday night found what they were searching for. Opening possession, they limited Jonas Valanciunas on the block with a nice defensive effort from Steven Adams.

Defense and transition was the name of the game for OKC. They forced turnovers and got out on the break. Terrance Ferguson with the two-hand over the head jam to put the Thunder up to start the game.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had his own lay up as the Thunder only trailed for a split second but controlled most of the game from the early minutes.

Burton’s slip pass to Schroder is FILTHY. Then Schröder shakes of De’Anthony Melton for the long 2-point jumper. Schroder shook Melton once agin for the wide open layup and the Thunder increased their lead to eight.

Then it was Lu Dort’s turn. After Noel’s tipped ball fell right into the lap of Dort, he raced to the court for the easy lay up.

Jonas Valanciunas finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds, feels like 10 of those rebounds happened on this play.

He had not one. not two. not three but four rebounds before he finally was able to score cutting the Thunder lead to six.

Once again it was Schröder who finished with 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Burton once again found him on the slip pass for the easy bucket

Here, Valanciunas picked up a missed 3 and put it back up to try and slow the bleeding but it didn’t happen as Burton had his own layup in the festival of grizzlies turnovers.

Schröder had an almost identical play as Burton but the same result as Oklahoma City went up by double digits.

Mike Muscala getting in on the action, nailing a three-pointer from deep and the Thunder were rolling. The Thunder went on a 15-4 run to open up a large lead heading into the break

Schröder had one of his five assists to Nerlens Noel for the lob dunk. Then, Dort had a nice baseline spin move and the little floater to put Oklahoma City up 37-22.

Steven Adams put back a missed Chris Paul three with a one-handed jam to put the Thunder up by 17 midway through the second quarter.

Oklahoma City led 61-38 at the break and were up 89-60 after three quarters.

The win over Memphis was their 7th in a row as the Thunder have not lost since falling to the Clips on March 3.

Oklahoma City finishes up a three-game road swing at Atlanta on Wednesday, March 18.

Current Western Conference Standings:

 

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