Author - Chuck Chaney

Thunder Game Day #2: at LA Clippers

Oklahoma City Thunder (0-1, 0-1 away)

at

LA Clippers (0-1, 0-1 home)

Friday, October 19 :: 9:30 p.m. CST :: Oracle Arena (19,596)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 1-point underdogs. The over/under is 214.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Clippers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Thunder fell in their season opener but look to get back on the winning ways. Oklahoma City is set to take on the LA Clippers tonight, ending their short two-game roadie to start the season. Oklahoma City wants to get back on the winning ways.
  • Oklahoma City lost 108-100 but missed 13 free throws. They had their chances to stun the Warriors without Russell Westbrook.
  • It’s unknown at this point if Westbrook will play tonight. He’s listed as OUT in the Thunder game notes. However, that could change by tip-off.
  • Oklahoma City has not started 0-2 since their injury plagued 2014-15 season.

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).

SCOUTING THE CLIPPERS

  • The LA Clippers went 42-40 last season and missed the playoffs, finishing 10th in the Western Conference.
  • The Clippers are a relative unknown this season but aren’t expected to do too much. Their win O/U is 37.5
  • All-time against the Clippers, Oklahoma City is 135-75.
  • Since relocation to Oklahoma CIty, the Thunder are 20-16 against the Clippers
  • In their last 10 vs. LA, Oklahoma City is 7-3 against LA.
  • Oklahoma City is 9-9 against the Clippers at Staples Center.
  • The Thunder are 3-3 over the last three seasons at Staples vs. Clippers.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Alexis Ajinca (knee) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Los Angeles came on April 15, 2009, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 126-85 (41-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. LAC occurred during an 120-98 loss on Jan. 16, 2017.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out
  • Russell Westbrook (knee) is a game-time decision.

NEXT UP

  • They’ll open their regular season home schedule on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings.
  • Oklahoma City will play Celtics at home on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

WHAT’S IN A NAME

  • When the NBA’s Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego in 1978, the owners wanted to re-brand the team with a new nickname. They settled on Clippers, a popular type of ship during the 19th century.
  • San Diego had been home to the Conquistadors/Sails of the ABA during the 1970s.
  • Donald Sterling bought the Clippers during the 1981-82 season and relocated them to his native Los Angeles in 1984.
  • He lost all respect in San Diego but kept the Clippers name.



Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

Oklahoma City struggled rebounding on Thursday night, being outrebounded by a lot. Oklahoma City really struggled in the second half. The Thunder have to do better against the Clippers tonight. If Westbrook plays, we know that’ll improve.

Free throws

It’s interesting how quickly the tide turned. Oklahoma City started out 9-of-10 but finished 15-of-27 from the free throw line. It sucks, sure. You have to be better. If you’re in the business of winning titles, you have to make your free throws. Oklahoma City has to do better than what they did on Thursday night.

Bench

With three potential starters out, the Thunder’s bench is going to be short handed already. The Warriors are going to be this juggernaut and the Thunder are going to need to slay the beast without their superstars. Everyone from Jerami Grant and Alex Abrines are going to be the two that need to step up tonight. If Westbrook plays, the bench will get a boost with Schröder going to the bench.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder drop opener 108-100 to Warriors

There was no Russell Westbrook or Andre Roberson but the Thunder’s heart was on full display as the Thunder gave a big fight to the defending champions on Tuesday night. Oklahoma City fell 108-100 on opening night to the Golden State Warriors.

The Thunder were without their superstar and with the Warriors vaunted third quarter explosion on deck, it could’ve been easy to roll over and turn it just to Friday night as they’re short handed and already struggling but Paul George stepped up. Dennis Schröder stepped up. The Thunder found their groove and within minutes took their first lead of the contest.

The Thunder fought back from a 14-point deficit and took that 1-point lead. They would teeter-totter with the Warriors before Stephen Curry would hit a three, giving the Dubs the lead for good but it’s the act of the comeback that gives everyone hope. Sure, the Thunder loss but it’s how it lost that you have to account for. Oklahoma City’s third and early fourth quarters are what could be seeing from this team. Oklahoma City found something that worked and when you add in an annual MVP candidate, things are going to get really explosive.

The Warriors led for the first 27:56 of the game. The Thunder used a 22-9 run to get back in the game and take control. The lead given off a Schröder three was met with a bunch of uneasy moans from the Warrior’s fans who all but expected a walk over without two starters for the Thunder. Steven Adams added a lay up, giving Oklahoma City a three-point lead with 7:16 to go; Oklahoma City’s largest lead of the contest.

Though the Thunder would stay within 10 points for the rest of the contest, it would be free throws that did the Thunder in on opening night. Oklahoma City started 9-of-10 from the line but finished 15-of-27. It wasn’t like Adams was the one missing all of the free throws. It was a nice mix of everyone. The Thunder were 29th in free throw shooting last season. It reared its ugly head when it mattered most.

Oklahoma City will now go for their first win as they’ll travel to Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 19 to play the LA Clippers. tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. at Staples.

Keys to the Game

Rebound: F

Oklahoma City found themselves being dominated on the boards. A guy named Kevon Looney had 10 rebounds off the bench for the Dubs. Adams had his 10 and Schröder had a career high nine but it wasn’t nearly enough. Oklahoma City has to do better job of blocking out and grabbing the boards.

Defend the perimeter: A+

The Warriors went 7-of-26 from three. Only eight times last season did the Warriors shoot that poorly. They were 3-5 over those games. Oklahoma City did a really good job making the Warriors earn it from beyond the three-point line. Oklahoma City held Kevin Durant to 0-of-5 from deep and Klay Thompson was 1-of-8.

Bench: B

Oklahoma City’s bench had 27 of the 100 points. That’s pretty solid, given two bench players had to step into the rotation. They did not shoot the ball well, though. They were 3-of-13 from beyond the three-point line. They didn’t shoot the free throws well, 8-of-12. There’s plenty of room for improvement. As the team gets healthy, the bench should improve.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Game Day #1: at Golden State Warriors

Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0, 0-0 away)

at

Golden State Warriors (0-0, 0-0 home)

Tuesday, October 16 :: 9:30 p.m. CST :: Oracle Arena (19,596)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 13½-point underdogs. The over/under is 220½.
Online StreamTNT | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Warriors: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to open their 2018-19 regular season tonight in Oakland against the hated Golden State Warriors at 9:30 p.m.
  • The Thunder split their season series with the Dubs last season 2-2, both winning on each other’s home court. You know, the usual way things are supposed to happen.
  • The Thunder are without a couple of key players but that won’t matter as it’s the 82 games and not just one. If this was college football, the season would be over. However, there’s no Mike Stoops so the Thunder could still go 82-0.

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 game is on TNT only.

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS

  • The Golden State Warriors went 58-24 and were second in the Western Conference.
  • This season, the Warriors with the addition of DeMarcus Cousins, the Warriors are expected to go 400-0 (estimate).
  • All-time, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 137-110 against the Warriors.
  • Since relocation, Oklahoma City is tied with the Warriors 18-18.
  • When the games are played at the Oracle, the Thunder are 6-12 against the Warriors.
  • In their last 10 games, the Thunder are 3-7 against Golden State.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) is out.
  • Damion Lee (foot) is out.
  • Shaun Livingston (foot) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Golden State came on Feb. 17, 2012, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 110-87 (23-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (26 points) happened twice with the most recent occurrence coming on Nov. 3, 2016 (122-92 defeat).

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out
  • Russell Westbrook (knee) is out.
  • Steven Adams (back) is a game-time decision.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City are still in California as they’ll play the LA Clippers on Friday, Oct. 19.
  • Then, they’ll open their regular season home schedule on Sunday night against the Sacramento Kings.

WHAT’S IN A NAME

  • The Philadelphia Warriors, named after the 1920s team that played in the American Basketball League.
  • They won the championship in the inaugural 1946-47 season of the Basketball Association of America.
  • The Warriors moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco after the 1961-62 season and retained their nickname.
  • When the team relocated across the Bay to Oakland in 1971, they were renamed the Golden State Warriors.



Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder needed their rebounding to win games. They were 35-11 when winning the rebounding battle. If Oklahoma City can find a way to out-rebound the Warriors, they may win this one.

Defend the three

Sure, the Warriors are going to jack up the threes. They’re going to do it at will. The Thunder need to force shooters off the three-point line and get themselves into contested shots. Oklahoma City’s defense is going to be their strong point tonight. If they don’t and the Warriors make it rain, it’s going to be a long night.

Bench

With three potential starters out, the Thunder’s bench is going to be short handed already. The Warriors are going to be this juggernaut and the Thunder are going to need to slay the beast without their superstars. Everyone from Jerami Grant and Alex Abrines are going to be the two that need to step up tonight.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Preview: The Starters

The Thunder tip-off their regular season on Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors and most likely will be doing it without Russell Westbrook.

For the Thunder, Their starters have always been solid, whether it’s still questioning Andre Roberson starting at the two-spot or the unending question of who’s starting at the four, the Thunder have three main starters who are locked for their foreseeable future. That’s a great thing. Roberson, I guess you could say is a fourth but with him out for at least two more months, we’ll leave it as a question mark.

Point Guard

Ahh, what a point guard. He snarls as much as is explosive. Russell Westbrook, the former Most Valuable Player is coming off back-to-back seasons of averaging a triple-double. You know, something that’s never happened before. Ever. In the history of the association.  While Westbrook may miss a game or two as he recovers from knee surgery, he’s going to be the starting point guard. It won’t be Raymond Felton, nor will it be Dennis Schröder. Though, Schröder will be the starter for when Westbrook misses some games.

Westbrook’s fire and drive really changes this team. It’s unlike something we’ve seen. While he says he only has one friend on the court, the basketball, we know he cares about one stat and one stat only: the win. He’ll push the Thunder to do their best and eat their hearts if they don’t. One thing that’s going to be questionable for the Thunder, is how is Westbrook’s knee? He’s pushing 30 and has undergone multiple knee surgeries. Westbrook is the one who opted for this and the iron man has barely missed any games outside of his meniscus tear, so it’s going to be interesting to see what he can do and how his “explosiveness” is still there. I’m assuming it’s still there. In today’s game, players prepare at another level than in the past. He’s also super healthy and takes his training very seriously.

Prediction: Westbrook starts 76 games; Schröder 6 games

Two-Guard

Andre Roberson had a set back. That is maybe a worst case scenario. In January, Roberson ruptured patellar tendon. He’s been out of contact basketball since then, approximately 9 months. It’ll be almost a full year before he sees the court again. Will his defensive ability still be there? It’s amazing at how much injuries could derail everything the Thunder have build post-KD.

In steps a trio of players from Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo and Alex Abrines. Who will get the start? It’s really unknown at this point. Diallo and Ferguson split time in the preseason but Ferguson struggled and Diallo didn’t as much. I’d lean to Diallo stepping into the position if I had my choice and leaving the reserve time split between T-Ferg and Abrines. I could be way wrong with how preseason minutes figured out. Neither T-Ferg or Abrines played in the last preseason game, really skewing everyone’s minutes. Ferguson averaged 30; Diallo 26; Abrines 18. Thunder head coach is a creature of habit and will most likely go with what he knows, in Ferguson.

Prediction: Ferguson starts 16; Diallo 13; Abrines 3; Roberson (if back by Christmas) 50

Wing

This is Paul George’s world and we are just living in it. As long as he’s healthy. He’ll start. He started 79 games last season. He missed three due to his back and expect him to start something similar again. Who’s going to step up in his place? That’s the big question. Look for Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to step in and spell George if he has to miss games for whatever reason. He did start in George’s place in the first preseason game.

Prediction: George starts 80 games; Luwawu-Cabarrot 2 games

The Four

Patrick Patterson or Jerami Grant. Many were screaming for Grant over Carmelo Anthony at the end of last season. However, Patterson started all four preseason games and it appeared Grant struggled. He’s really no hidden gem anymore. Teams have a lot of tape on him and how to defend him. It also helps that Patterson, who was the projected starter last season, is healthy going through training camp.

Patterson, 29, never really found his niche last season with the Thunder. He only played 15.5 minutes per game last season and didn’t shoot it well from the floor but was decent from the three. His versatility hitting the three gives him the real edge over Grant.

Patterson struggled in the preseason. He went 6-of-22 from the floor and 4-of-16 from three. Each game found their way getting worse. He was 1-of-9 from the field and 0-of-5 from three in the finale. With Westbrook attacking and changing the game.

Grant wasn’t much better, going 11-of-35 and 3-of-10 from deep.

Prediction: Patterson starts 67 games; Grant 15 games

Center

The Big Kiwi. Steven Adams. The love of our lives. He’s going to start as many games as he can. He’s never played a full 82 games and honestly, I don’t expect him to ever. He’s too physical of a player and that’ll come with some random injuries. Maybe a twitch in the back or a roll of the ankle, common injuries for him. So, he’ll miss a game here and there. Last season, Adams missed six games, a second most in his career. With a decent help in Nerlens Noel, the Thunder may be more inclined to let Adams rest a game or two more, instead of him forcing himself to play through pain.

Prediction: Adams starts 77 games; Noel 5 games.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Preseason Game Day #3: vs. Atlanta Hawks

Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1, 0-1 home)

vs.

Atlanta Hawks (1-1, 0-1 away)

Sunday, October 7 :: 2:00 p.m. CST :: BOK Center (17,839)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: NBATV
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 7-point favorite. The over/under is 216.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Hawks: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder found their first win of the season with a 113-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
  • Oklahoma City is set to play their annual game in Tulsa today. This time, against the Atlanta Hawks. Last year, the Thunder lost to the Rockets in their season opener at the BOK Center.
  • Since 2010-11, Oklahoma City is 2-5 at the BOK Center.

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 CageMichael 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 HAWKS

  • Last season, Atlanta struggled mightily as they finished 24-58 on the year, worst record in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Hawks are 1-1 in the preseason, with a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies and a win over the Pelicans.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Jeremy Lin (rest) is out.
    John Collins (ankle) is out.
    Taureen Waller-Prince (illness) is out.
    Daniel Hamilton (shoulder) is out.
    DeWayne Dedmon (ankle) is out.
    Justin Anderson (leg) is out.
  • The Thunder are 12-7 against the Hawks since relocation and 66-58 all-time.
  • Last season, the Thunder went 2-0 against Atlanta and have won four of their last five against the Hawks.
  • Oklahoma City has never played the Hawks in the preseason.
  • Oklahoma City is 6-3 at home against Atlanta since relocating from Seattle.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Atlanta is 13 points which occurred during a 107-94 win on Dec. 10, 2015.
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (11 points) vs. Atlanta occurred during an 99-88 loss on Dec. 23, 2008.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Abdel Nader (knee) is out.
  • Russell Westbrook (knee) is out.

WHAT’S IN A HAWKS NAME

  • In 1948, the cities of Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and and Davenport, Iowa—collectively known as the Tri-Cities at the time—were awarded a team in the National Basketball League.
  • The team was nicknamed the Blackhawks, who, like Chicago’s hockey team, were named after the Sauk Indian Chief Black Hawk.
  • When the team moved to Milwaukee in 1951, the nickname was shortened to Hawks.
  • The franchise retained the shortened moniker for subsequent moves to St. Louis and finally Atlanta in 1968.

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder finish their preseason slate against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, Oct. 9.



Three things to watch

Bench

Diallo and Co. are who I’m interested in seeing. I want to see more of an aggressiveness from what we saw on Wednesday night. That aggressiveness will lead to better efficiency shots. I don’t know why but I’m always wanting big things out of Diallo.

Efficiency is key

The Thunder struggled to shoot from the field on Wednesday. Let’s see better shot selection and that may see the Thunder in the win column, even though this game doesn’t matter.

Rebound

Oklahoma City has to win the rebounding battle tonight. Last season, the Thunder were 35-11 when they have the same or more rebounds as their opponents. They’re were 13-23 when they lose the rebounding battle. With no Westbrook to gobble of the rebounds, it’s going to be interested to see who steps up.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Schröder creating stability for Thunder

I miss the yellow spot. I do. Dennis Schröder said it’ll be back. The one thing that’s not leaving is his ability to attack defenses.

Dennis Schröder May not be the most efficient person on the floor, but this offense isn’t built around efficiency. Sure, it helps. However, this offensive system can survive most nights on bad shot attempts as long as the shots are in bunches and potentially at the rim. That allows people like Steven Adams to grab boards and go dominate opponents.

Schröder’s trade from Atlanta has solidified the Thunder’s backup point guard position for the first time since Reggie Jackson’s departure. Early fan voting is saying he is better than Jackson’s tenure. Only time will tell on that.

“Dennis is a very good teammate, good guy to talk to, good guy to figure things out with,” Paul George said. “I think our chemistry has grown again since we first connected when were in LA to work out with together. I thought we did a good job of understanding one of another. I think it will be fairly easily for us to get on the same page.”

What Schröder has done is created mismatches against second units. His ability to bob-and-weave throughout the opposing defense has created fits. Against the staters in the preseason, his percentages haven’t been great. They don’t have to be. They’re designed to create havoc. With the pick-n-roll or just a screen to create space and a mismatch on the screen.

Brett Dawson said it best: a second chance.

After the Hawks had a rough here, deciding to go all tank mode by letting people walk and trading the others. Schröder found himself the center of the offense of a team that had no real direction or pieces. Now, in Oklahoma City. He’s been given that direction and purpose.

He wasn’t just traded so Carmelo Anthony could leave Oklahoma City. He was brought in to be a playmaker at the reserve point guard spot. That’s no slight to Raymond Felton, who was quite adequate last season. It’s like the Thunder picked up a younger Felton.

“When I came into the gym, the team chemistry was amazing,” Schröder said. “It was like a big family.”

Schröder isn’t going to score 20 a game for the Thunder. He’s going to create help and rest for Russell Westbrook. He’s going to create stability in the second team.

Schröder’s gold spot is going to return. So is the threat of a solid playmaker off the bench for the Thunder.

If the Thunder can get Schröder into the right spots and situations, the pairing could be huge for both.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Three takeaways from Thunder’s 113-101 win over T-Wolves

The game really wasn’t in doubt. Oklahoma City took their show on the road, added in a little special feature of Paul George. Then, it led with the main act of destroying what little hope the T-Wolves had in this preseason game with a multitude of Steven Adams rebounds and box outs.

Yeah, I’m pretty amped about a preseason box out.

In reality, the Thunder did things better than they did on Wednesday night. They took care of a team that made the playoffs last season. They led by double digits throughout the entire second half and a good chunk of the first half, too.

With all that, here are three things I noticed in the first half.

Steven Adams, you lovely man

Steven Adams is the new mayor of the twin cities. Well, in the preseason sense. The fifth-year man out of Pittsburgh dominated in a way that had their own Timberwolves faithful doubting themselves. He was a monster. Is it just the lackadaisical attitude of the the Timberwolves on the night of a preseason game? Who knows but Steven Adams went 7-of-11 from the floor and only took one shot in the second half as the Thunder didn’t really need anything from him in the second half. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Diallo stepped up 

I try to keep expectations to a minimum in preseason. However, I look back to Adams, who beast mode all over the preseason his rookie season. He ended up starting over Kendrick Perkins. Then, there was Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb, who both had good preseasons. So, Hamidou Diallo could be anywhere in there. Tonight, against the Diallo was 3-of-8 from the floor. He had eight points and six rebounds and two steals. He did also have one monster dunk.

Diallo is averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 23.5 minutes this preseason. Stats come and go but his movement off the ball and his defensive executions are what really get your gears going about his ceiling.

The boards

Oklahoma City’s ability to dominate the boards all night. Five different players pulled down at least five rebounds. Adams and Nerlens Noel had 10 rebounds in only 20 minutes tonight. They all were able to limit What Karl Anthony-Towns did tonight. A guy who averaged 12.3 rebounds per game last season really had no other option but stand around and look around. Oklahoma City did a great job tonight on the glass.

The Thunder were 35-11 last season when they won the rebounding battle. If the Thunder are able to rebound at this rate, they’ll put on a really good show this season.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Preseason Game Day #2: at Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder (0-1, 0-0 away)

at

Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1, 0-0 home)

Friday, October 5 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (19,356)
TV Coverage: NONE
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 3½-point underdog. The over/under is 220½.
Online StreamOKCThunder.com | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | T-Wolves: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The regular season is just 11 days away, but for now Oklahoma City is in the twin cities taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight.
  • The Thunder are coming off a 97-91 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night to open their preseason slate.
  • The T-Wolves are 1-1 this preseason and are at home for their first time this preseason.

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 OKCThunder.com. That’s the only “legal” place you can watch the game. It’s free. So, that’s where you should watch it.

SCOUTING THE T-Wolves

  • Last season, the T-Wolves went 47-35 and made the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
  • Minnesota is coming off a 128-101 loss to the LA Clippers on Wednesday night.
  • Anthony Tolliver joins the T-Wolves with a free agency signing.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Justin Patton (foot) is out.
    Jimmy Butler (personal) is out.
  • The Thunder went 0-2 in Minnesota last season and are 1-3 over the last two seasons.
  • Last season, Oklahoma City lost the season series 3-1.
  • All-time, the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the series against the Minnesota Timberwolves 81-33.
  • Oklahoma City is 29-10 against Minnesota since relocation.
  • When playing at the Target Center, the Thunder are 13-7 at Minnesota.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Minnesota came on April 15, 2015, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 138-113 (25-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (42 points) vs. Minnesota occurred during an 129-87 loss on Jan. 7, 2009.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Abdel Nader (knee) is out.
  • Russell Westbrook (knee) is out.

WHAT’S IN THE T-WOLVES NAME?

  • The ownership group for Minnesota’s prospective franchise chose Timberwolves through a name-the-team contest in 1986.
  • The nickname beat out Polars by a 2-1 margin in the final vote, which was conducted in 333 of the state’s 842 city councils.
  • Tim Pope, who was one of the first fans to nominate Timberwolves, won a trip to the NBA All-Star Game. Pope submitted 10 nicknames in all, including Gun Flints. “I thought a two-word name would win,” he told a reporter.
  • The most popular entry in the contest was Blizzard, but the team wanted a nickname that was more unique to its home state. “Minnesota is the only state in the lower 48 with free-roaming packs of timber wolves,” a team official said.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City plays the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon in Tulsa. That game will be on FS Oklahoma.
  • The Thunder then finish their preseason slate against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, Oct. 9.



Three things to watch

Bench

Diallo and Co. are who I’m interested in seeing. I want to see more of an aggressiveness from what we saw on Wednesday night. That aggressiveness will lead to better efficiency shots. I don’t know why but I’m always wanting big things out of Diallo.

Efficiency is key

The Thunder struggled to shoot from the field on Wednesday. Let’s see better shot selection and that may see the Thunder in the win column, even though this game doesn’t matter.

Rebound

Oklahoma City has to win the rebounding battle tonight. Last season, the Thunder were 35-11 when they have the same or more rebounds as their opponents. They’re were 13-23 when they lose the rebounding battle. With no Westbrook to gobble of the rebounds, it’s going to be interested to see who steps up.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Three takeaways from OKC’s 97-91 loss to Detroit

The Thunder may have faltered in their first preseason game out of the gates on the scoreboard but in reality, they’re winners. Oklahoma City played well without the likes of Paul George and some guy name Russell Westbrook. What might be the wildest thing is Andre Drummond, the Pistons’ center, played 34 minutes. In a pointless game. That doesn’t matter.

Anyway, let’s break down three quick things about the Thunder’s first preseason game

 

Adams-Schröder Pick-n-roll

These two have good chemistry already. Adams, due to a lack of help, really rolled with the second string a lot last season. This season, with Nerlens Noel helping, that could and should change. The two international bros found their spots early and often. It’s really was Schröder replacing Westbrook in the deadly PnR that did the Pistons in. Sure, you can’t run it for 48 minutes but in select spots the two really found a good play off one another and made the Pistons pay more than Dwayne Casey would want to admit.

Now, this could come in handy if Adams is in there with the second team or if Schröder is running a two-point guard system with Westbrook. That allows Westbrook to work off the ball and the Thunder all of a sudden have huge mismatches all over the court. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Thunder made their free throws

The last two seasons, the Oklahoma City Thunder have ranked 29th and 26th the last two seasons from the free throw line. They shot an average of 73.2 percent. It really became a point where the Thunder lost a handful of games they probably should’ve won because they didn’t convert their free throw opportunities. That said, it seemed a little different on Wednesday night. Oklahoma CIty made 22-of-28 from the line (78.6 percent). That sounds average but would’ve ranked the Thunder sixth in the NBA last season.

Westbrook struggled from the line last season. However, Schröder, yes there his name again, is a career 83 percent free throw shooter. The freshly traded Thunder point man went 9-of-9 from the free throw line and that’s why there’s such an elevated free throw percentage. The rest of the team went 13-of-18 (72.2 percent). There is still work to be had.

Who is Nerlens Noel going to be?

His numbers may be skewed as he guarded Drummond for basically three quarters. That’s fine. What Noel did all night was defend and play basketball. I’ll take his effort and output 60 out of 82 games a year. That type of output will get him a nice contract. Drummond, being one of the better big men in the league, needed to eat up against scrubs to get his gaudy numbers.

Noel shot alright, defended fine and did what was asked of him. In a new system and a new city, the big man is trying to figure things out. In his first game with the Thunder, I give him a B. The criticism is soft as the first game of the season is in the books. As the rotation smooths out and the starters are back. I’m interested in what role Noel is going to craft for himself. We don’t need another Dakari Johnson.

Oklahoma City takes on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night in Minnesota. The Thunder and T-Wolves tip off at 7 p.m. It’ll be only broadcasted live on okcthunder.com. We’ll have your complete game coverage on Social media.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

57 days until preseason: Westbrook’s 57 points against Orlando

We’ll start a new thing today, keying on something every day until the Thunder’s first preseason game.

57

Man, the things Russell Westbrook has done to the Orlando Magic. From the 2015-16 season where he hit buzzer beaters and then during his solo year, Westbrook eviscerated the Magic all by himself en route to a 57-point triple-double and getting the win.

Fresh off a 14-point fourth quarter against the Mavericks just 48 hours before, Westbrook continually did it all again against Orlando. He probably shouldn’t have. He did though. Orlando led by as many as 21 in the second half as the Thunder seemed in disarray.

Then, Russell Westbrook happened.

Westbrook scored 29 points in the second half, 19 in the second half as the Thunder used a flurry of big threes from Russ in the fourth to mount the comeback. Westbrook would outscore the Magic 7-4 in the overtime session.

It’s really just the main theme of that season. The Thunder’s bench flailing away as the future MVP winner had to save the season once again.

None was more impressive than his fade away three with seven seconds left to tie the game. He did it with two guys in his vision and it still swished nothing but net.

“I didn’t know [it was going in],” Westbrook said. “I couldn’t see right away because two people jumped.”

It was Westbrook’s second 50-point triple-double this season. Before the 2016-17 season, a 50-point triple-double hadn’t been done since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975. Westbrook’s 57-point triple-double (57p-13r-11a), at the time, was the highest point triple-double. James Harden has since topped that.

“That is definitely a blessing,” Westbrook told reporters of his historic night in Orlando, Florida. “I definitely don’t take this game for granted, and I try to come out each night and try to compete at a high level. That is definitely something that is a blessing and definitely something that I can be proud of.”

Westbrook would go on and win the MVP and sealed our hearts.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!