Author - Chuck Chaney

4 Thoughts (12-14-18) Nuggets 109, Thunder 98

1. For the first time this season I’m feeling a little frustration and disappointment in the outcome of a game. The loss at Sacramento had me feeling similarly, but that was still really early. Considering we lost Wed in NOLA and considering we lost once already to Denver, I thought this game tonight took on a dash of added importance. I leave it as a “dash” understanding that it is still just mid-December and assigning too much meaning to any one game is a bit silly at this juncture. But I did take this one a little more seriously and the result has me more frustrated than your typical loss. Russ completely overreacted at the end of the game to Murray indicating to me that he is also feeling the frustration.

2. When you remove yourself from your comfort zone it’s not necessarily easy to just find a new one. I know a lot of people are wondering if what’s “wrong” with Russ right now is a sign of physical decline. I really don’t think so. I believe this is a mental and emotional issue. Based on how he has approached the game this year I think it is 100% clear that he is making a concerted effort to change the way he plays basketball. The result has been a ton more room for PG, Adams, and Dennis to roam. The Thunder do not simply stand around and wait for Russ to save them anymore. Their effort is high and consistent on both ends of the floor. Players and the ball move more freely than they have in the past. Roles are far more defined and guys are much more settled in. Except one. I just don’t think Russ has found where he fits yet. Chauncey Billups said it several times on the broadcast tonight: he wondered aloud why Russ wasn’t being more aggressive. He said he felt it was time for Russ to push the issue. And therein lies the problem. It’s not necessarily some easy switch he can flip. It’s not like he always has the perfect answer as to when he needs goes green light and when he goes red light. I think what we are seeing is Russ getting stuck in that awkward moment when the light is yellow and you aren’t sure if you need to floor it or hit the brakes. In that situation I always feel like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Ultimately, I think this will work out. PG is playing like an MVP. Adams is playing like an All-Star. Dennis is playing like a Sixth Man candidate. Thunder have the best D in the league. The one thing that isn’t on par (yet) is their leader. He is doing everything he can right now to do things the right way. He’s probably trying TOO hard. I think this is just something you wait out. If it still looks the same in March, then we have a real problem.

3. The one thing we can’t wait out is the free throw crisis. And yes, it’s a crisis. For the way THIS team plays, missing free throws at this rate is not acceptable. It will sink them. Thunder played the absolute “right” way tonight. The only took 19 three’s and they made a higher percentage than the Nuggets. Thunder were pretty aggressive pushing the ball into the paint. But they missed twelve free throws. Denver missed one. It’s a huge problem. Thunder are the most physical and athletic team in the league. And they don’t shoot it well from deep. Therefore, they MUST cash in at the line. I can accept that Adams is going to be a little subpar from the line. That’s OK from your bruising center. But PG, Russ, and Dennis need to be money. All the time. Grant needs to be better. Diallo and TFerg combined to go 0-4. You just can’t have that crap. The problem with free throw woes is that there isn’t really a “solution.” Practicing more may not matter at all. Free throws are very much a mental element of the game. The entire team knows they are struggling from the line and then it becomes a source of tension. A “here we go again” type of thing with each miss. For me, it starts with Russ. He just HAS to figure it out. Hovering around 60% is nonsense. I honestly think it was the deciding factor in the game tonight. Thunder plAyed hard. They tried to grind that thing out. Just left too many points at the line. It has to change or it will continue to cost them wins.

4. I think we have hit our first speed-bump of the season. After winning 16 of 19 games, the Thunder have now lost 3 of 4. Two of those three could have been won with a shot at the end. And tonight was in doubt with 2:00 to go. I don’t consider this small skid to be a major eye-opener, but they need to squash is quickly. If they win tomorrow and go 2-2 for the week that’s not a disaster. I’d consider it a mild disappointment, but nothing more than that. If they lose at home to the Clippers tomorrow I think that’s when you start to writhe in your seat just a bit and feel a little antsy. The back to back won’t be an excuse— not when you are coming off of two losses in a row. They have failed so far this year against the Nuggets, who now have the best record in the West. The Clippers have also been a West leader for most of this year so it would behoove the Thunder to take care of business and not turn this week into a a true slide.

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Thunder fall 109-98 in disappointing fashion

In a game in which the Thunder never really led the short handed Denver Nuggets sent the Thunder back to the NBA’s reality with a 109-98 loss on Friday night.

The loss is Oklahoma City’s third in their last four games and their second straight. The worst part about the losses? Two have come against really quality competition and the other was a horrible loss to probably the NBA’s worst team, the Chicago Bulls.

Oklahoma City never found their rhythm all game long. They fell behind early and by a large margin. It was due to the hot shooting of the Nuggets. The Nuggets hit their first six threes, putting Oklahoma City behind by double digits in the first quarter. The Thunder never recovered.

If we’re putting immediate blame on a Thunder loss, it’s going to be their inability to make free throws. Oklahoma City shot 17-of-29 from the free throw line (58.6 percent). It’s the third time this season Oklahoma City failed to shoot at least 60 percent from the free throw line and it killed them.

You make half those free throws and how you manage the end of the game changes. Instead of being down half the points in the first half. You’re not digging yourself such a hole.

While the Thunder gave it their best effort behind Paul George’s 32 points, it was also the lack of defense in the Mile High City that was the most concerning. Sure, Nikola Jokic is a phenomenal player, He pulled down 15 rebounds, including some really key tip outs. They were the killer. While the Thunder continue to try to rely on their athleticism and not their fundamentals in times where it’s the most key, it led the Nuggets to tip out missed shots for wide open threes.

We’re not even getting into how Russell Westbrook hasn’t been himself and we have no real explanation why. Well, him missing contested late game shots that he probably shouldn’t have taken is himself, but we miss the Westbrook that would take over games.

For whatever it is, the Thunder are slouching at the wrong time. Fan base can see it. I’m sure the players can see it, too. Though, everyone was melting down over an 0-4 start and look where the Thunder are now. They’re still third in the Western Conference with another tilt against a potential playoff contender on Saturday night, the LA Clippers. Win that and everyone chills out for a minute.

Oklahoma City (17-10) has a difficult next 15 games up. While only six are teams with winning records. They play San Antonio twice, Dallas twice, The Clippers, at Portland, at Lakers, at Houston, at Utah , and at Sacramento a place Oklahoma City has already lost this season. The schedule is getting brutal for the Thunder. They have to find a way to go any where from 8-7 to 11-4 over the next 15 games. You’re going to win some games you probably shouldn’t and lose games you shouldn’t. If you can keep your playoff position as they flip into the new year.

The Thunder will try to forget this loss immediately as they have a home SEGABABA against the LA Clippers Saturday at 8 p.m. on FS Oklahoma.

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Thunder Game Day #27: at Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder (17-9, 7-6 away)

at

Denver Nuggets (18-9, 10-3 home)

Friday, December 14 :: 9:00 p.m. CST :: Pepsi Center (20,491)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: ESPN (DirectTV 206, Cox 29, HD 1300, Tulsa Cox HD 1025)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 2-point favorites. The over/under is 218.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Nuggets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are setting up for a big divisional showdown against the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets.
  • The Thunder already lost to the Nuggets once this season. So, tonight’s showdown in the Mile High City will be even bigger for the Thunder.
  • Oklahoma City is coming off a 118-114 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
  • The Thunder are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have lost back-to-back road games.
  • The Nuggets are facing a slew of injuries and are trying to hold onto first place in the Western Conference.

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).
  • Tonight’s game is on ESPN. Dave Pasch, Doris Burke, and Tom Rinaldi will have your call for the WorldWide Leader.

SCOUTING THE NUGGETS

  • The Denver Nuggets 18-9 on the season, best in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Nuggets are 8-2, including four straight at home.
  • The Nuggets are currently percentage points better than the Warriors and Thunder for first place in the Western Conference.
  • In their last game, Denver beat the Memphis Grizzlies 105-99 on Wednesday night. It ended a two-game losing streak for the Nuggets.
  • Oklahoma City is 98-80 all-time against the Denver Nuggets. That includes the time spent in Seattle and Oklahoma City.
  • Since the Thunder relocated from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 21-19 against Denver.
  • When Oklahoma City is playing at the Pepsi Center, they are 7-11 all-time.
  • The Thunder lost both games in the Mile High City last season by an average of 7.0 points per game.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Will Barton (right hip) is out.
    Gary Harris (right hip) is out.
    Paul Millsap (fractured toe) is out.
    Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery) is out.
    Isaiah Thomas (right hip) is out.
    Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Denver came on Feb. 22, 2015, 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. the Nuggets occurred during a 119-90 loss on March 3, 2010

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.

UNIFORM WATCH

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder host the Clippers on Saturday, Dec. 15.
  • Then, they’ll play the Bulls in a rematch on Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Oklahoma City then will go on the road for seven out of the next nine games, starting in Sacramento on Dec. 19.



Three Keys to the Game

Fast Break points

Oklahoma City needs to turn up the pace against Detroit. Detroit is in the bottom third of fast break points are 8-1 when they win the fast break battle. The Thunder are 10-4 when they win the fast break battle. It’s imperative the Thunder are able to use their defensive prowess to win this battle.

Free throws

Oklahoma City is slowly moving up the rankings, they’re 26th in free throw shooting at 71.6 percent. Oklahoma City has to make free throws if they’re going to win a game, let alone a championship. If they can get over 75 percent, this game is done for. That starts with Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams, the two who’ve been struggling the most. Oklahoma City is shooting over 75 percent in victories. They’re only 64.5 percent in losses.

Bench

The Thunder’s bench has become super consistent but the points are showing it. That’s fine with the injuries the Thunder have experienced but the bench has to produce some points. When the Pistons bench is outscoring their opponents bench, Detroit is 6-1. Oklahoma City is 7-3 when they win the bench battle.

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Nets Meltdown 12.5.18

For those who aren’t aware of what the Meltdowns are: They’re a collection of multiple message boards and website comments from the opponents fan base. I don’t use social media as it’s tough to keep track of the time. Unless it’s just really funny, we tend to avoid those. Message boards are in order and you can see the game change for the opponents as well.

Meltdowns are also a way to show you how not to act as a fan. Rarely anymore, do we see fans say really inappropriate things but they do happen. The NBA is 82 games. Let’s not overreact. Either way, enjoy the Nets fan base meltdown of their 23-point team meltdown!

  • One small step for TANKind
  • One LITTLE leap for Barclays Center!!
  • Nets win!!! Nets win. Nets win? I don’t know, we’ll see.
  • The quest for Zion Williamson starts now.
  • OKC’s defense is too good. it’s gonna be hard to make good passes, they’re very long
  • SMH..grrrr
  • What is happening with the offense that we have Dudley taking step back long 2’s. Just punt the ball into the stands at that point.
  • Offense looking stagnant
  • OKC finally has a weak defender playing in Abrines. I’d keep trying to exploit him, right now with Harris
  • Once again, we are playing to the level of our opponent.
  • We’re up by 6 against a more talented team.
  • lmao diallo has problem with the dimensions of the court
  • how are we winning?
  • why are we winning?
  • Nets are making shots, Thunder kind of playing lazy on offense.
  • I enjoy the 3 person commentary booth
  • Seen way too many double digit leads evaporate with far less time in the game against much worse teams to get comfortable.
  • Jesus, that crowd roar when Westbrook just hit the 3… How the eff are there that many OKC fans in NY, enough to be that loud
  • Brooklyn fan base stinks. Every game they clap harder for the opposition
  • Westbrook is so out of control
  • Read all the whining in this thread when I tuned in during the commercial break…only to find out we’re up 12!?
  • a 20 pt lead feels like a tie game. And a game they will blow in the 4th.
  • We are winning? HOW?
  • Crabbe is hot, OKC is not
  • 16 point lead at the half. So how are they going to blow this one?
  • Game winning Buzzer beater by PG over RHJ Calling it! (this was at 7:45 p.m.)
  • Not falling for It. We coughed up a 7 pt lead in like 10 seconds I’ll watch the condensed game if we win
  • How can Crabbe look so good tonight? After all those crazy airballs he’s been shooting?
  • 20 POINT LEAD!! The kiss of death…
  • 20 point lead?! can’t wait to see us blow it
  • Here come the refs to rescue the thunder
  •  may not watch the 4th Ain’t getting any better than the first 3 quarters And if they blow this, I may never recover
  • Ok guys ..this is how you win the game
  • Thank god Schroeder is not on this team. He has the bbiq of a fifth grader
  • Wow We are winning and yet we still want coaches fired and players traded def during the game.
  • Nets finally getting a few calls
  • They’re definitely losing this game.
  • Need rhj on PG13
  • OKC down only 23 thinking “We got this!”
  • THIS IS B.S.
  • whew!!! For a minute there I thought we might win a game!!!
  • OKC chants in brooklyn, lol, thats nice.
  • Nets should have made it a 40 point lead if they wanted to win
  • We’re playing an away game. What a piss poor fanbase we have.
  • It’s amazing how… Net fans can’t drown out ..the opposing team fans….buncha lackluster fans I tell ya
  • Do we really want to win this game though?
  • Think OKC will take crabbe and Dlo for george?
  • This is pretty remarkable… I don’t think I’ve ever seen this chronic level of choking
  • We were up so many yet if we hold on I feel we got lucky.
  • It’s like we’re setting up a game winner for them.
  • No way they don’t beat us on a game winner right here. I’ve seen this movie before.
  • Rondae on PG13 for the winner First lead in the half…
  • Lmfaooooo
  • Unreal.
  • hahahahahahahaha
  • LOL, hysterical, the guy whos in a zone, lets leave him wide open!!!!
  • How was he open? I don’t even get how that is even possible. PG is the only guy scoring in the 4th.
  • Haha man, I called it!! (He did 9:04 p.m.)
  • just what the doctor ordered
  • hahahahahhahahaha. amazing!!! Really amazing. THis team will not win another game this season!!!
  • We are the WORST team in the league now. Congrats.
  • Where is that Russian owner? Fire this idiot coach.
  • I have passed the stage of anger now…I just laugh as it happens now…these guys really know how to lose
  • It is impossible to watch this anymore…
  • Tbh the reason we lost was cause the Ref Pissed of PG13 on that no call on the and-1 And then he went into beast mode and we have no one close to match that…why you get butler if you could without giving up levert
  • We need to forfeit the rest of the season
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4 Thoughts 12-5-18: (Thunder 114, Nets 112)

1. This is the cool thing about sports. On paper it looks like a mundane Wednesday night game against a bad team in early December. Through three quarters it is entirely forgettable and appears to be a total throw away game. And then….. BOOM! Absolute must watch stuff. Take away everything else and the bottom line is that was fun as hell to watch. The fans in attendance in Brooklyn would seem to agree as it almost sounded like a Thunder home crowd. I couldn’t tell if they were actually CHEERING for the Thunder/George or if they were just audibly reacting to what was happening on the floor. It was cool because it was one of those moments where fandom almost gets suspended and everyone is sort of just in unison watching in awe. That was an all-time epic performance by PG. 25 points in a quarter is silly no matter what quarter in what situation. To do it with your team down 20 and under immense pressure to essentially make every shot is just crazy. My pre-season prediction was that PG would be a sneaky MVP candidate this year. So far I think that is holding up. He’s the best wing defender in the NBA and he is having an excellent year on the offensive end as well. Just a badass night all around. 

2. Much has been made over the years (under Brooks and Donovan) about final inbounds plays during close games. The result has often been a one on one isolation resulting in a less than stellar look. I’m sure many were expecting a dribble-shoot result from Russ tonight. Hopefully the way it went is a sign of further maturity and growth for the team and coaching staff. That was an excellent play. It wasn’t overly complicated, but it was clear they were GOING to get the ball to the guy that was on fire. Russ executed it perfectly. He was patient and drew the D a little bit away from PG before he made the pass. Then credit PG for more patience, allowing the defender to flash by leaving him with a wide open shot for the win. Of course the most impressive part is that he made it. Then, Russ made another excellent play on the defensive end to ice it. Just really beautiful to see the team close out a tight game with team ball on both ends and not simply relying on Russ heroics to get it done. Russ did take one really bad shot during the comeback, but otherwise he recognized the moment and made sure PG was the one with the ball. Russ was going all out on defense and hustling to the glass as well (like he always does). Very, very clear that this team is absolutely buying in and locked in emotionally. Very easy to pack it in down 20 and call it a night.

3. Early in the fourth quarter I decided what I’m about to type would be my #1 Thought for this game. I am really glad it got pushed to #3, but it still has merit. The Thunder took the bait again tonight. The Nets play a very similar style to the Kings. They aren’t as far along or talented as Sacramento, but their approach is the same. They are undersized and undermanned, but they are young and have a lot of energy. They try to offset their physical deficiencies by launching three’s at a crazy rate. If enough of them fall, they will hang around in most games. The only prayer they have to beat an athletically superior team like OKC is to get them to play their game. The Kings did it in both meetings this year leading to two losses for the Thunder. It happened again tonight. Thunder were far too content early in the game to play along with the Nets plan. They weren’t as dedicated to closing on shooters as they should have been and they weren’t attacking the paint as often as they should have been on the offensive end. Just sort of lulled into a shooting contest. The flow was too pretty. Thunder need it to be ugly. For the vast majority of this season the Thunder hate dictated the style of the game. Tonight they did not— until the fourth quarter at least. They got bailed out by an epic individual performance (and the D was awesome down the stretch). But they shouldn’t lose sight that there was a lesson to be learned tonight.

4. In an upcoming blog I want to delve into Chris Fisher, the new play by play voice this season. I wanted to give him awhile before I made any judgments or comparisons. I’ll get into that soon, but tonight I must admit that I thought about Brian Davis and how he would have been having multiple on-air orgasms in the fourth quarter. Gotta admit I would have loved to dial up what I’m sure would have been some memorable calls. I never felt BD was particularly great at his job, but he was definitely fun. And I always enjoyed some banter with friends regarding his calls and catch phrases. With that in mind, I’ll just say the Thunder most definitely created chicken salad out of chicken something else tonight.

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Thunder Game Day #22: at Detroit Pistons

Oklahoma City Thunder (14-7, 5-4 away)

at

Detroit Pistons (13-7, 9-3 home)

Monday, December 3 :: 6:00 p.m. CST :: Little Caesars Arena (20,491)
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 2-point favorites. The over/under is 219.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Pistons: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder take their back-to-back wins on the road for five of the next six games. The Thunder will have their hands full as they start with the Detroit Pistons.
  • Detroit comes into the game with a big win over the Golden State Warriors. The Pistons have won five in a row and are looking to make it six.
  • The Pistons are 2-1 against the Thunder in Detroit over the last three seasons.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Atlanta Hawks 124-109 on Friday, Nov. 30.

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 PISTONS

  • The Detroit Pistons are 13-7 on the season, that’s good enough for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Pistons are 8-2.
  • Only the Toronto Raptors have a better stretch than the Pistons. Detroit has won five in a row.
  • Detroit beat the Golden State Warriors 111-102 on Friday night. It’s the first time Detroit has beaten the Warriors since Dec. 2016.
  • All-time against Detroit, the Thunder are 69-66.
  • Since the 2008-09 season, Oklahoma City is 14-5 against Detroit.
  • The Thunder are 6-3 on the road against Detroit. They’re 1-0 in Little Caesars Arena, a 121-108 victory.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Thunder are 6-4.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    THE DETROIT PISTONS ARE RELATIVELY HEALTHY.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Detroit came on Jan. 23, 2012, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 99-79 (20- point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (16 points) vs. Detroit occurred during a 104-88 loss on Nov. 14, 2016.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Terrance Ferguson (ankle) is out.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will travel to Brooklyn on Dec. 5
  • The Thunder will round up the road trip on Dec. 7 at the Chicago Bulls.



Three Keys to the Game

Fast Break points

Oklahoma City needs to turn up the pace against Detroit. Detroit is in the bottom third of fast break points are 8-1 when they win the fast break battle. The Thunder are 10-4 when they win the fast break battle. It’s imperative the Thunder are able to use their defensive prowess to win this battle.

Free throws

Oklahoma City is slowly moving up the rankings, they’re 26th in free throw shooting at 71.6 percent. Oklahoma City has to make free throws if they’re going to win a game, let alone a championship. If they can get over 75 percent, this game is done for. That starts with Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams, the two who’ve been struggling the most. Oklahoma City is shooting over 75 percent in victories. They’re only 64.5 percent in losses.

Bench

The Thunder’s bench has become super consistent but the points are showing it. That’s fine with the injuries the Thunder have experienced but the bench has to produce some points. When the Pistons bench is outscoring their opponents bench, Detroit is 6-1. Oklahoma City is 7-3 when they win the bench battle.

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Thunder Game Day #21: vs. Atlanta Hawks

Oklahoma City Thunder (13-7, 8-3 home)

vs.

Atlanta Hawks (5-17, 2-10 away)

Wednesday, November 30 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
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 13-point favorites. The over/under is 228.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Hawks: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder welcome in Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks tonight as the Thunder push over the quarter mark of the season.
  • A couple of reunions will be happening this evening. Dennis Schröder will be facing his former team and Trae Young will be returning to the state that raised him. Young went to Norman North high and attended the University of Oklahoma. He was picked sixth overall in June’s NBA Draft.
  • The Thunder are coming off a 100-83 dominating win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Russell Westbrook looked spectacular once again as he’s now had three triple-doubles in his last four games.
  • Atlanta fell to the Hornets 108-94 on Wednesday night. It ended back-to-back victories for the Hawks. Before that, Atlanta had dropped 10 straight games.
  • Rookie of the Year Candidate Trae Young is averaging 15.9 points per game, 7.6 assists per game and is shooting 25.4 percent from three this 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 HAWKS

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are 5-17 on the season, third worst record in the NBA.
  • Atlanta lost to the Charlotte Hornets 108-94 on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hawks are 2-8.
  • The Hawks are 1-9 in their last 10 games (really only 2-10 overall but yeah).
  • In the all-time series, Oklahoma City is 66-66 vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
  • Since Oklahoma City moved the team from Seattle, the Thunder are 12-7 vs. Atlanta.
  • When they play games at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City is 6-3 all-time against the Hawks.
  • Three out of the last four seasons the Hawks have at least one win against the Thunder each season.
  • Oklahoma City has won four of the last six against Atlanta.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Dewayne Dedmon (ankle) is probable.
    Jeremy Lin (ankle) is questionable.
    Alex Pothress (ankle) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Atlanta is 13 points which occurred on Dec. 10, 2015.
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (11 points) vs. Atlanta occurred during an 88-99 loss on Dec. 23, 2008.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Hamidou Diallo (ankle) is out.
  • Terrance Ferguson (ankle) is out.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City gets three days off before hitting Detroit on Dec. 3.
  • Then, they will travel to Brooklyn on Dec. 5
  • The Thunder will round up the road trip on Dec. 7 at the Chicago Bulls.



Three Keys to the Game

Limit threes

Atlanta isn’t a particular good three-point shooting team. However, if the Thunder let the Hawks get hot from three, that could be a problem. In their five wins, the HawksIn the Thunder’s wins this season, they’re holding opponents to 30.8 percent from deep. When the Thunder lose, opponents are shooting almost 35 percent. The Thunder have to keep the Hawks from taking those deep shots. are shooting 41.7 percent from three and only 28.8 percent from three.

Free throws

Oklahoma City is slowly moving up the rankings. Oklahoma City has to make free throws if they’re going to win a game, let alone a championship. If they can get over 75 percent, this game is done for. That starts with Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams, the two who’ve been struggling the most.

Block out

The Thunder are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. Oklahoma City has to prove and do that tonight. We saw last night where the Nuggets and Hornets were able to rebound and stay in the contest, the Cavs not so much. Oklahoma City has to find a way to rebound and put this game out of reach.

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 #20: vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Oklahoma City Thunder (12-7, 7-3 home)

at

Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15, 1-8 away)

Wednesday, November 28 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
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 12.5-point favorites. The over/under is 216.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Cavaliers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to pick up the pieces after a demoralizing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Oklahoma City trailed by a ton throughout a large portion of the game before closing late, losing 105-98.
  • The Thunder still are 7-3 in their last 10 games and sit fourth in the Western Conference playoff race.
  • The poor Cleveland Cavaliers. What can you say about them? They’re 4-15 on the season and are doomed to the bottom of a rough Eastern Conference.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Cavaliers earlier this season 95-86 back on Nov. 7. Dennis Schröder had 28 points in that victory.

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 CAVALIERS

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-15 on the season, worst record in the NBA.
  • The Cavaliers are coming off a 102-95 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.
  • Cleveland is 3-7 in their last 10 games. They had won back-to-back games, with wins over Philadelphia and Houston before Monday night’s loss.
  • All-time against The Cavaliers, the Thunder are 64-48.
  • Since relocation, Oklahoma City trails Cleveland 8-12.
  • If you count the non-LeBron years, Oklahoma City leads Cleveland 5-3.
  • When games are played at the ‘Peake, the Thunder are 4-6 all-time and 2-3 in post-LBJ seasons.
  • Last season, the teams split their games, each winning on the opponents courts, respectively.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Sam Dekker (ankle) is out.
    George Hill (shoulder) is out.
    Kevin Love (foot) is out.
    David Nwaba )knee) is out.
    JR Smith (not with team) 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).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) vs. Cleveland occurred during an 117-82 loss on Nov. 26, 2009.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out.
  • Hamidou Diallo (ankle) is out.
  • Terrance Ferguson (ankle) is out.
  • Nerlen Noel (calf contusion) is questionable.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will host Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Nov. 30.
  • Then, Oklahoma City gets three days off before hitting Detroit on Dec. 3.
  • They will travel to Brooklyn on Dec. 5
  • The Thunder will round up the road trip on Dec. 7 at the Chicago Bulls.



Three Keys to the Game

Bench play

The bench is always key. Oklahoma City’s bench is going to need someone to step up and fill the void. The other night, the bench scored 13 points, with Deonte Burton scoring 11 of those. The bench needs to get involved and do its part. With Schröder doing bench work part of the time, it helps but everyone has to do their part.

Free throws

Oklahoma City is slowly moving up the rankings. However, their last two have been crashing back to earth scenarios. Oklahoma City has to make free throws if they’re going to win a game, let alone a championship. If they can get over 75 percent, this game is done for.

Block out

The Thunder are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. The Cavaliers are 0-7 when they’re out rebounded by their opponent. Oklahoma City has to prove and do that tonight. We saw last night where the Nuggets were able to rebound and stay in the contest. Oklahoma City has to find a way to rebound and put this game out of reach.

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 #19: vs. Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder (12-6, 7-2 home)

at

Denver Nuggets (12-7, 4-4 away)

Friday, November 24 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
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 6.5-point favorites. The over/under is 229.5.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Nuggets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Winners in five of the six games, the Oklahoma City Thunder are hosting the Denver Nuggets. With a win, the Thunder will own first place in the Western Conference.
  • The Denver Nuggets started the season off 9-1 but are only 3-6 in their last nine games.
  • Oklahoma City has split with the Nuggets at the Peake over the last two seasons in the post-KD era.
  • The Thunder are 2-0 on the second night of a back-to-back.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-104 last night in their first night of the back-to-back.
  • It’s the first game against Northwest Divisional foes for the Thunder. Denver is 2-0 against the division.

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 NUGGETS

  • The Denver Nuggets are 12-7 this season, fifth in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Nuggets are 4-6.
  • The Nuggets are also on a back-to-back. They found themselves beating the Orlando Magic 112-87.
  • After losing six of seven, the Nuggets have won back-to-back games.
  • All-time against the Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City is 98-79.
  • Since the Thunder moved from Seattle, the Thunder are 21-18 against Denver.
  • When the games are played at the ‘Peake, Oklahoma City is 14-7 against the Nuggets.
  • In their last 10 games at home, the Thunder are 8-2 against Denver.
  • Last season, the Nuggets won the regular season series against Oklahoma City 3-1, with the Thunder won in Oklahoma City.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Will Barton (hip) is out.
    Michael Porter Jr. (back) is out.
    Isaiah Thomas (hip) is out.
    Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Denver came on Feb. 22, 2015, 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. Denver occurred during a 90-119 loss on March 3, 2010.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out
  • Terrance Ferguson (ankle sprain) is out.
  • Hamidou Diallo (ankle sprain) is out.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.
  • Then, the Thunder will wrap up the month against Cleveland on the 28th and the Hawks on the 30th.



Three Keys to the Game

Bench play

The bench is always key. With Schröder most likely starting again, Oklahoma City’s bench is going to need someone to step up and fill the void. Last night, the bench scored 13 points, with Deonte Burton scoring 11 of those. The bench needs to get involved and do its part.

Free throws

Oklahoma City is slowly moving up the rankings. However, their last two have been crashing back to earth scenarios. Oklahoma City has to make free throws if they’re going to win a game, let alone a championship. If they can get over 75 percent, this game is done for.

Block out

The Thunder are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. The Nuggets are 1-5 when they’re out rebounded by their opponent. Oklahoma City has to prove and do that tonight. We saw last night where the Hornets were able to rebound and stay in the contest. Oklahoma City has to find a way to rebound and put this game out of reach.

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 win again, beat Hornets 109-104

Dennis Schöder scored 23 points and Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-104 on Friday night.

The Thunder improved to 12-6 on the season and now share a piece of first place in the Western Conference. It’s the first time since Jan. 27, 2012 the Thunder own a piece atop the Western Conference Playoffs at Game 18.

The Thunder did their best to blow it. They led by nine late in the fourth quarter but the Hornets, led by Kemba Walker, fought their way back, never tying the game but always pulling within one. Russell Westbrook hit some clutch free throws and grabbed some big rebounds to help secure the victory for Oklahoma City.

It’s the first time since the 2015-16 season the Thunder have swept Charlotte in the head-to-head season series.

The Thunder led for most of the game. The Hornets had a strong start to the second quarter and led 45-36 with 8:56 in the second quarter. However, Oklahoma City responded with a 14-4 run that gave Oklahoma City the lead with 5:10 remaining.

Oklahoma City led 62-57 at halftime.

The first half was the Deonte Burton show. The rookie two-way player showed up in absence of Terrance Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo, Burton scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and a couple of massive dunks to ignite the Thunder crowd.

Walker missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2.4 seconds left and Westbrook again rebounded and hit two free throws to seal the win for the Thunder. The Hornets made a push really late, just like they did in their first meeting on Nov. 1. Oklahoma City was once again able to hold them off.

Walker finished with 25 points for the Hornets. Jeremy Lamb finished with 18 points.

The Thunder have now have won 12 out of their last 14 games and over that span is the best in the NBA. Oklahoma City started the season 0-4 but have turned it on. They also own the largest margin of victory in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City has a quick turn around as they’ll hop on a plane and head to the Mile High City to play the Denver Nuggets (12-7) at the Pepsi Center. That’s scheduled to tip-off at 8 p.m. Thunder time.

Keys to the Game

Play Fast: B

The grade is a B because Oklahoma City didn’t really play fast. However, they were able to use turnovers into transition and those fast break points were a huge difference into how Oklahoma City was able to handle the pace and space of the game. The Thunder outscored the Hornets 17-10 on the break.

Free Throws: F

The Thunder shot 16-of-24 from the line for 66.7 percent. Unacceptable. steven adams was 3-of-7. Paul George had zero free throw attempts. He’s usually good for a quality percentage. It would’ve helped the percentages.

Block out: D

Both teams tied in rebounds. Both had 35 defensive and 11 offensive rebounds. It’s rare that happens for Oklahoma City. Both teams were pretty level in second chance points (OKC 17, CHA 16). Oklahoma City could’ve been better. I don’t think the Hornets would complain about their rebounding performance 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!