Tag - 2014

Thunder Game Day No. 82: vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Oklahoma City Thunder (47-34, 20-20 away)

at

Memphis Grizzlies (22-59, 6-34 away)

Wednesday, April 11 :: 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 16½-point favorite. The over/under is 211½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Grizzlies: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Welcome to the final day of the 2017-18 NBA regular season! The Thunder host the Memphis Grizzlies in a game that weirdly enough has a lot of meaning.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t lost at home to Memphis since Nov. 7, 2014.
  • The Thunder need a victory to move into the fourth seed, but they’ll need help Utah has to lose to in Portland tonight. If that happens, Oklahoma City will host the Jazz.
  • If Oklahoma City wins and the Jazz win, Oklahoma City will be the sixth seed. They’ll travel to Utah for the first round.
  • If the worst happens, and Oklahoma City loses, they’ll be the eighth seed and go to Houston.
  • Oklahoma City finished their death march, 11 straight games vs. teams .500 or better 5-6, which is better than some predicted.
  • Russell Westbrook also needs 16 rebounds to become the first person in NBA history to have two seasons of a triple-double average. He’ll also be the first person who would have back-to-back seasons with the triple-double average.
  • Westbrook has two triple-doubles in both games he played against Memphis 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.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).

SCOUTING THE GRIZZLIES

  • The Memphis Grizzlies are 22-59 on the season, 14th place in the Western Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, Memphis is 3-7.
  • In their last 10 road games, the Grizzlies are 1-9, including four straight.
  • In their previous game, Memphis lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-94 on Monday night.
  • In their all-time history, Oklahoma City is 59-26 against Memphis.
  • Since relocation for the Thunder, Oklahoma City is 22-14.
  • Surprisingly, despite the large point spread tonight, neither team has been favored by 10 points or more in the series.
  • Oklahoma City is 12-5 against Memphis at the Peake, winning five straight.
  • The last loss at home to the Grizzlies: Nov 7, 2014, the injury plagued season.
  • Oklahoma City goes for the four-game season sweep. It would be the first season sweep in the series by either team.
  • Oklahoma City beat Memphis 121-114 on Feb. 14, a large comeback in the fourth quarter led to the victory.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Tyreke Evans (Personal) is out.
    Marc Gasol (rest) is out.
    JaMychal Green (knee) is out.
    Andrew Harrison (wrist) is out.
    Wayne Selden Jr. (knee) is out.
    Jarell Martin (ankle) is out.
    Chandler Parsons (knee) is out.
    Mike Conley (heel) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Memphis came on Dec. 8, 2015, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 125-88 (37-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (34 points) vs. Memphis occurred during a 114-80 loss on Dec. 19, 2016.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
  • Alex Abrines (concussion) is out.

Playoff Scenarios

  • There are three playoff scenarios remaining for the Thunder. They’ll need help. Here they are:
  • Thunder win + Utah win over Portland = Oklahoma City 4th seed and would host the Jazz in the first round.
  • Thunder win + Portland win over Utah = Oklahoma City 6th seed and would travel to Utah in the first round.
  • Oklahoma City loss to Memphis tonight = Oklahoma City 8th seed and would travel to Houston in the first round.

WHAT’S IN A GRIZZLIES NAME

  • When Vancouver was awarded an expansion franchise in 1994 to begin play the following season, the team’s owners had tentative plans to name the team the Mounties.
  • The Royal Mounted Canadian Police and fans alike objected, so team officials resumed their search for a name. The local newspaper sponsored a name-the-team contest, which club officials monitored before choosing Grizzlies, an indigenous species to the area, over Ravens.
  • When the team relocated to Memphis before the 2001-02 season, FedEx was prepared to offer the Grizzlies $100 million to rename the team the Express, but the NBA rejected the proposal.



Three Keys to the Game

Bench

Though the bench is 29th in scoring, they’ve been key down the stretch. They were large on Monday night in the comeback against Miami. They were big against Houston. The starters should dominate tonight. Oklahoma City needs the bench to keep the tide the way it is.

Efficiency is key

Oklahoma City is 31-4 when when they outshoot their opponent. Oklahoma City comes out, shoot better, they’re most likely going to run away with this. It’s huge for Memphis to win games. The Grizzlies are 3-49 when they’re outshot by their opponents. Surprisingly enough, the Thunder have been outshot in two of the three games. Cannot give these back ups a real chance. Shoot well.

Rebound

Oklahoma City has to win the rebounding battle tonight. The Thunder are 34-11 when they have the same or more rebounds as their opponents. They’re a fun 13-23 when they lose the rebounding battle. Plus, we want to see Westbrook go bananas.

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

Thunder Game Day No. 81: at Miami Heat

Oklahoma City Thunder (46-34, 20-20 away)

at

Miami Heat (39-33, 17-20 away)

Monday, April 9 :: 6:30 p.m. CST :: American Airlines Arena (21,000)
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 4-point favorite. The over/under is 212½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | HEAT: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder can clinch a playoffs spot with a win tonight in Miami against the Heat.
  • The Thunder beat the Heat back on March 23 in a tough 105-99 battle. Oklahoma City overcame a third quarter deficit to win.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Houston Rockets on Saturday night to move to within one win of the playoffs.
  • The Thunder are in the midst of a tight playoff battle. Oklahoma City is one game back of Utah for fourth place in the West. They’re also a game of in front of Denver for ninth place.
  • The Miami Heat have locked up their playoff lives and are now fighting for position. After getting blown out by the Knicks on Friday night, Miami has been relegated to a tie for sixth place with the Milwaukee Bucks.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

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

SCOUTING THE HEAT

  • The Miami Heat are 43-37 on the season, tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, Miami is 6-4.
  • In their last 10 home games, the Heat are an impressive 9-1.
  • In their last game, Miami was pummelled by the New York Knicks 122-98 on Friday night.
  • In the all-time series, Oklahoma City is 37-22 against Miami.
  • Since the Thunder relocated from Seattle, Oklahoma City is only 11-8.
  • When the games are played at the triple-A, the Thunder are 5-4.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-1 in Miami since LeBron went back to Cleveland.
  • In their previous meeting this season, Oklahoma City beat Miami 105-99. Hassan Whiteside didn’t play and Carmelo Anthony only scored six points.
  • With a five game winning streak against the Heat, Oklahoma City is looking for their third season sweep in four years against Miami.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Dion Waiters (ankle) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Miami is 25 points which occurred during last season’s 99-74 victory on Jan. 17, 2016.
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. Miami occurred during an 103-81 loss on Feb. 20, 2014.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

NEXT UP

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder complete their 2017-18 regular season by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, April 11.
  • Playoffs begin Sunday, April 15.

WHAT’S IN A HOT NAME

  • In October 1986, the owners of Miami’s expansion franchise selected Stephanie Freed’s Heat submission from more than 20,000 entries.
  • Those also included Sharks, Tornadoes, Beaches, and Barracudas.



Three Keys to the Game

Transition

The Heat are one of the best teams in the NBA in defending transition points. Oklahoma City might be one of the best in the league at getting out on the break, especially since the all-star break, but they’ll have to attack Miami tonight. The Heat aren’t the slowest team since the all-star break. The Thunder have to put the Heat on their heels and take this game.

Efficiency is key

Oklahoma City is 31-4 when when they outshoot their opponent. Oklahoma City comes out, shoot better, they’re most likely going to run away with this. We look back at their previous game and Oklahoma City outshot the Heat, leading to their victory.

Rebound

Oklahoma City has to win the rebounding battle tonight. The Thunder are 33-11 when they have the same or more rebounds as their opponents. They’re a fun 13-23 when they lose the rebounding battle. Miami is 25-16 when they win the rebounding battle. If Oklahoma City can rebound, they’ll run away with this.

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

Thunder Game Day No. 80: at Houston Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder (45-34, 26-13 home)

at

Houston Rockets (64-15, 34-6 home)

Saturday, April 7 :: 7:30 p.m. CST :: Toyota Center (18,043)
TV Coverage: ABC (5 DirecTV, 8 Cox, 705 HD, 5 AT&T U-Verse, 5 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 6-point underdog. The over/under is 218½.
Online Stream: ABC | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Rockets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Houston to take on the NBA’s best team, the Houston Rockets.
  • Oklahoma City is in dire need of a win after everyone else found victory this week. Oklahoma City is a game back of the Utah Jazz but are only a game away from being out of the playoffs.
  • 47 wins gets Oklahoma City into the playoffs. Oklahoma City needs two wins in their final three games to get into the playoffs.
  • Houston beat the Thunder 122-112 on March 6. In that game, Houston took 34 free throws to Oklahoma City’s 11. That was your ball game. Oklahoma City’s aggressiveness will be imperative.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t won the regular season series with Houston since 2013-14.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s broadcast is on ABC only. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Doris Burke will have your broadcast play-by-play and such. Sorry about Mark Jackson.

SCOUTING THE ROCKETS

  • The NBA’s best team, the Houston Rockets are 64-15 on the year. They lead the rest of the NBA by seven games.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Rockets are a cool 9-1.
  • Houston is 36-4 over their last 40 games. They’re 28-11 before that. Not a typo.
  • Houston beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-94 on a Chris Paul last second shot on Thursday night.
  • All-time against the Rockets, Oklahoma City is 108-107.
  • Since relocation, Oklahoma City is 15-20 against Houston.
  • When games played at the Toyota Center, the Thunder are 4-12.
  • Oklahoma City’s last win in Houston came on Jan. 16, 2014. It’s six straight losses since.
  • The Thunder and the Rockets have split the series match ups this season 1-1, both winning on their home courts.
  • Houston beat the Thunder 122-112 on March 6. In that game, Houston took 34 free throws to Oklahoma City’s 11. That was your ball game. Oklahoma City’s aggressiveness will be imperative.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Eric Gordon (Foot) is a game-time decision.
    Ryan Anderson (ankle) is out.
    Tarik Black (back) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Houston came on Dec. 29, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 117-86 (31-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (12 points) vs. Houston occurred during a 89-77 loss on Nov. 1, 2008.

INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will travel to Miami for the a showdown with the Heat on Monday, April 9.
  • Then , the Oklahoma City Thunder wrap up the regular season against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, April 11.

WHAT’S IN A DUB’S NAME

  • The Houston Rockets originally called San Diego home.
  • Rockets was chosen via a name-the-team contest and was a reference to the city’s theme, “A City In Motion.”
  • Liquid-fueled Atlas rockets were also being manufactured in San Diego.
  • When the team moved to Houston in 1971, it made perfectly good sense to keep the name, as Houston was home to a NASA space center.



Three Keys to the Game

Force turnovers

Houston (No. 6) and Oklahoma City (No. 1) are both top six in points off turnovers. Oklahoma City turned it over 20 times in their previous meeting. The Thunder cannot let that happen again. Take care of the ball. Limit points in transition and hold on for dear life. That’s how you survive against Houston.

Free throws

Oklahoma City has to limit free throws and then make free throws. They’re 29th in the NBA in free throw percentage. They cannot let Houston get to the line 34 times tonight. That’s an instant loss for a team who hasn’t won in Houston since 2014. A four year drought is too much.

OK3

Oklahoma City needs the Big Three to show up more than ever before. Westbrook needs to be efficient and slicing like a hot knife through butter. Paul George needs to be exceptional on both sides.They didn’t show up on Tuesday and it cost this team dearly. Carmelo Anthony needs to hit his open shots and be smart. If they do this, the Thunder will win.

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

Thunder players in National Championship games

There’s zero NBA basketball on tonight. We all get a breather. The nation will watch Villanova and Michigan do battle for the national title. Villanova is easily the favorite but who knows what’ll happen.

For the Thunder players, there’s a lot of looking back to their collegiate days. Many played in national championship games. Some won. Some lost. Here’s how the Thunder players fared in their title bouts.

Kyle Singler

There’s just something about awkward, bad hair guys from Duke. Singler led the Duke Blue Devils to the 2010 National Championship over the Butler Bulldogs. Yeah, you know that game. Gordon Hayward took a half court heave that almost ended with a story book ending. It didn’t.

Who would have thought Hayward would be the bigger superstar and Singler would be on the outs of his rotation? Maybe the 0-of-10 game against Baylor in the Elite Eight gave it away.

Anyway, Singler was voted Most Outstanding Player of the game and tournament. He averaged 18.2 points on 45.7 percent from three.

Raymond Felton

How good was Raymond Felton in college? This good:

Felton was put on the cover EA’s March Madness, later renamed NCAA Basketball. Felton was a catalyst in the Tar Heels beating the previously unbeaten Illini of Illinois. Felton had Felton had 17 points, dished out six assists on 4-of-9 shooting in the win over Illinois in the championship game.

Sean May, who’s not in the league anymore, was the Most Outstanding Player. Felton was named to the NCAA Tournament All-Tournament team. It was North Carolina’s first national title in 12 years.

In six games during the NCAA tournament, Felton average 13.7 points, 6.8 assists per game on 44.1 percent three-point shooting. Felton had a near triple-double in the Sweet 16 win over Villanova. He finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.

Dakari Johnson

The forgotten Thunder player, Dakari Johnson went to two final fours in his two seasons at Kentucky. His freshman year, he started 18 games, en route to the National Championship game in 2014. That’s where Kentucky ran into Kevin Ollie’s UConn team. The Huskies beat Kentucky 60-54 in a surprising but boring game.

Johnson started the title game but was largely ineffective. He scored just five points on 2-of-5 shooting, pulled down four rebounds.

Johnson would be on the really talented Kentucky team that was upset by Wisconsin in the 2015 Final Four. That Wisconsin team would fall to Duke in the National Championship game the following season.

Nick Collison

Mr. Thunder was the best player in the country at Kansas his senior year. He was the coach’s choice for Player of the Year. Consensus All-American. Big 12 Player of the Year and helped the Kansas Jayhawks to the 2003 title game.

After going through Dwyane Wade’s Marquette team in the Final Four, Collison led the Jayhawks against this upstart freshman named Carmelo Anthony and the Syracuse Orangemen.

Collison played 40 minutes, only resting during timeouts and at halftime. He finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, pulled down 21 rebounds… not a typo. He was a beast. Unfortunately for Hair Thunder, he was a poor 3-of-10 at the free throw line as Kansas lost 81-78.

Collison averaged 18.7 points and 13.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game on 64.9 percent from the floor for the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Carmelo Anthony

Anthony was a highly touted recruit and it showed throughout the season as Syracuse was one of the best teams in college basketball. Anthony took the Orangemen all the way to the title game against Kansas. You know about Collison’s heroics but it was Anthony who got the last laugh.

Anthony scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out seven assists as Anthony was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. The real performance was the 33-point scoring output by Anthony as Syracuse handed out to Texas in the Final Four.

Anthony averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game on 47.6 percent three-point shooting. After the game, Anthony declared for the NBA Draft, being taken third by the Denver Nuggets. The rest is history.

Corey Brewer

Maybe the most successful in the NCAA tournament out of all Thunder players. Brewer was apart of the back-to-back championships Florida had in 2006 and 2007. Coach by Thunder head man, Billy Donovan, Brewer and the Florida Gators lost just 11 games over the two championship seasons.

In 2006, Brewer helped Florida win their school’s first banner as the Gators beat the UCLA Bruins 73-57. No, Russell Westbrook didn’t play in this game. Brewer had 11 points and seven rebounds in the win over UCLA.

In 2007, Brewer led the Gators to their second consecutive National Championship. Brewer and the Gators beat Ohio State in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated. Something about Florida playing Big 10 teams in title games. Brewer scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds. This game involved eight NBA players, five on Florida and three on Ohio State. Brewer was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

Brewer averaged 15.9 points and almost seven rebounds per game as a senior.

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

Thunder Game Day No. 74: vs. Miami Heat

Oklahoma City Thunder (43-30, 25-11 home)

vs

Miami Heat (39-33, 17-20 away)

Friday, March 23 :: 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 6½-point favorite. The over/under is 215½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | HEAT: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • With their winning streak broken, the Oklahoma City Thunder will look to get back into their winning ways as they host the Miami Heat tonight at the Peake.
  • Boston stunned the Thunder on Tuesday night. Miami survived a double overtime thriller against the Denver Nuggets.
  • The Miami-Thunder series has been super tight because of the LeBron James era. Without James, the Thunder are 5-1 against Miami since the King returned to Cleveland. That includes three straight at home vs. Miami.
  • This is Oklahoma City’s fourth straight game against a team that’s .500 or better. They have six more remaining after tonight.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

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

SCOUTING THE HEAT

  • The Miami Heat are 39-33 on the season, seventh in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Heat have won three straight and are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
  • In their last game, Miami beat the pants off the Knicks 119-98 on Wednesday night.
  • In the all-time series, Oklahoma City is 36-22 against Miami.
  • Since the Thunder relocated from Seattle, Oklahoma City is only 10-8.
  • When the games are played at the Peake, the Thunder are 5-4. That includes three straight wins.
  • The Miami-Thunder series has been super tight because of the LeBron James era. Without James, the Thunder are 5-1 against Miami since the King returned to Cleveland.
  • Last season Oklahoma City swept the Heat 2-0. The Thunder won both games by an average of 13.0 points per game.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Hassan Whiteside (hip) is out.
    Dwayne Wade (hamstring) is out.
    Dion Waiters (ankle) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Miami is 25 points which occurred during last season’s 99-74 victory on Jan. 17, 2016.
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. Miami occurred during an 103-81 loss on Feb. 20, 2014.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City host the Portland Trail Blazers in a pivotal game on Sunday evening.
  • Then, Oklahoma City goes to San Antonio on Tuesday night.

WHAT’S IN A HOT NAME

  • In October 1986, the owners of Miami’s expansion franchise selected Stephanie Freed’s Heat submission from more than 20,000 entries.
  • Those also included Sharks, Tornadoes, Beaches, and Barracudas.



Three Keys to the Game

Transition

The Heat are one of the best teams in the NBA in defending transition points. Oklahoma City might be one of the best in the league at getting out on the break, especially since the all-star break, but they’ll have to attack Miami tonight. The Heat aren’t the slowest team since the all-star break. The Thunder have to put the Heat on their heels and take this game.

Bench Production

While the Thunder bench is only 13-10 when the out score their opponents, they’re even better when the bench is shooting efficiently. Oklahoma City is 17-5 when the bench shoots better than their opponent. Not necessarily out scoring, but more efficient.

Rebound

Oklahoma City has to win the rebounding battle tonight. The Thunder are 32-10 when they have the same or more rebounds as their opponents. They’re a fun 11-20 when they lose the rebounding battle. Miami is 23-15 when they win the rebounding battle. If Oklahoma City can rebound, they’ll run away with this.

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

Thunder Game Day No. 66: vs. Houston Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder (37-28, 21-10 home)

vs.

Houston Rockets (49-13, 24-7 away)

Tuesday, March 6 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
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 enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 5-point underdogs. The over/under is 219½.
Online Stream: TNT | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Rockets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder had their three-game win streak snapped on Saturday night. However, the Thunder (37-28) are still in the thick of the playoff race and will host the the NBA’s hottest team tonight on TNT.
  • The Houston Rockets come into the game on a 15-game winning streak, the second longest in the NBA this season (Boston had a 16-game winner earlier this season).
  • Oklahoma City is 1-0 against the Rockets this season, a blowout win on Christmas (without Chris Paul).
  • The Thunder are for sure the underdogs in this one but the Thunder have appeared big in some games against larger teams. Will we see Saturday’s team or will we see the team that beat the snot out of the Warriors?
  • Oklahoma City is 6-3 against Houston at home since 2013.

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 strictly on TNT and will be available to the national audience. No local blackouts here.

SCOUTING THE ROCKETS

  • The Houston Rockets are 49-13 on the season, No. 1 record in the NBA.
  • The Rockets have won 15 straight games, dating back to a 115-113 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 26.
  • Houston is 23-4 since Jan. 1.
  • Oklahoma City is 108-106 all-time against the Houston Rockets.
  • Since relocation, the Thunder are 15-19 against Houston.
  • When the games are played at Chesapeake, Oklahoma CIty is 11-7, including 6-3 since 2013.
  • Earlier this season, Oklahoma City beat Houston 112-107 (without Chris Paul).
  • The Thunder are 4-10 against Houston dating to April 4, 2014.
  • The Rockets beat the Boston Celtics 123-120 on March 3.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Ryan Anderson (hip) is out.
    Joe Johnson (illness) is out.
    Brandan Wright (knee) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Houston came on Dec. 29, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 117-86 (31-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (12 points) vs. Houston occurred during a 89-77 loss on Nov. 1, 2008.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder will host the Suns (Thurs.) and Spurs (Sat.) to round out the week.
  • Next week, Oklahoma City will play the Kings, Hawks and Clippers before playing in Toronto for an early noon tip on Sunday, March 18.

WHAT’S IN A ROCKETS NAME

  • The Houston Rockets originally called San Diego home. Rockets was chosen via a name-the-team contest and was a reference to the city’s theme, “A City In Motion.”
  • Liquid-fueled Atlas rockets were also being manufactured in San Diego.
  • When the team moved to Houston in 1971, it made perfectly good sense to keep the name, as Houston was home to a NASA space center.



Three Keys to the Game

Three-pointers

Houston wants to light it up and the Thunder will have to defend strong. Houston will jack it up all night long and the Thunder, who’ve been really bad since the Andre Roberson injury defending the three, will have to expect a miracle and see the Rockets be cold tonight.

Rebounding

Rebounding is so imperative to the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 27-10 this season when they out rebound their opponents. Oklahoma City though, a poor 10-18 when they don’t. It’s like the three-point shooting. Oklahoma City was out rebounded by the Rockets the last time they played, and that contributed to the loss. They have to do a better job tonight.

Turnovers

Oklahoma City needs to figure out their turnover situation. They’re averaging 15.3 turnovers per game since the All-Star Break. They’ve done a better job the last couple of games, only averaging only averaging 11.5 per game, compared to the 16.0 previous games. Oklahoma City cuts down the turnovers and the Thunder cannot get out on the break, they’ll win.

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

Thunder sign Corey Brewer

The Oklahoma City Thunder finally made their move.

On Saturday morning, the Thunder signed veteran swingman Corey Brewer for the remainder of the season in hopes of fixing some defensive woes that’ve come since the loss of Andre Roberson to injury.

He cut it close being bought out by the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 28. Players must be bought out by March 1 to be eligible for playoffs.

Brewer is entering his 11th season and has played for five other teams in the Association, Minnesota, Dallas, Denver, Houston and the Lakers. In his 765 games, he’s averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He’s a career 28 percent shooter from 3-point range.

 

Brewer, drafted seventh in the 2007 NBA Draft, played for Billy Donovan at Florida. In three years at Florida, Brewer helped guide the Gators to two National Championships (2006 and 2007), appearing in 108 games (106 starts) and averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.63 steals in 27.2 minutes. The Tennessee native was also named NCAA Most Outstanding Player in 2007 and was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2006 and 2007.

Other teams that were interested in Brewer: Cleveland, Portland, Washington and Milwaukee.

Brewer, 31, has averaged 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game in 54 contests this season. He had fallen out of the Lakers’ rotation recently and pursued a buyout to join a postseason contender.

While he’s not a super offensive player, Brewer is a perimeter defender who can defend multiple positions and helps secure the defensive issues a bit. While he’s nowhere near the level of Andre Roberson, he’ll be an okay decent replacement.

 

Brewer will earn $526,249 for the remainder of the season on a minimum contract and due to his year’s served. However, the Thunder will have invested a large portion just into Brewer’s addition. With the Thunder being a non-repeater luxury tax team, the Thunder will end up paying $1,315,622.60 just to add Brewer for the final 18 games, plus playoffs.

While Brewer isn’t Andre Roberson, he’s a formidable player and will provide some level of security on defense. He’s not going to wow you offensively and will play limited minutes.

Oklahoma City talked to Tony Allen and Derrick Rose but ultimately settled on Brewer.

Brewer’s highlight is when he scored 51 points in 2014 against Houston, but don’t expect him to give you anything like that this season.

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

Corey Brewer agrees to sign with Thunder

With the Los Angeles Lakers buying out veteran guard Corey Brewer, it took only a day for him to commit elsewhere. Brewer will sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder when he clears waivers on Friday.

Brewer, drafted seventh in the 2007 NBA Draft, played for Billy Donovan at Florida and won two championships in 2006 and 2007.

It was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

According to Yahoo Sports, Brewer spoke to Sam Presti and Donovan, finalizing his decision early Thursday.

Brewer is entering his 11th season and has played for five other teams in the Association, Minnesota, Dallas, Denver, Houston and the Lakers. In his 765 games, he’s averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He’s a career 28 percent shooter from 3-point range.

Other teams that were interested in Brewer: Cleveland, Portland, Washington and Milwaukee.

Brewer, 31, has averaged 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game in 54 contests this season. He had fallen out of the Lakers’ rotation recently and pursued a buyout to join a postseason contender.

While he’s not a super offensive player, Brewer is a perimeter defender who can defend multiple positions and helps secure the defensive issues a bit. While he’s nowhere near the level of Andre Roberson, he’ll be an okay decent replacement.

Oklahoma City talked to Tony Allen and Derrick Rose but ultimately settled on Brewer.

Brewer’s highlight is when he scored 51 points in 2014 against Houston.

It’s unknown if Brewer will be in uniform at Phoenix tomorrow night.

 

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

Thunder and Warriors becoming a real rivalry

Russell Westbrook might say it’s just another game. He may prepare like it’s another game but one thing we know is true, he doesn’t play like it.

Since Kevin Durant arrived in the Bay Area, the way Westbrook has played throughout the game has been on another level of intensity.

“I play the same way every night if it’s against Kevin or if it’s against Detroit,” Westbrook said after Nov. 22’s win. “It don’t matter who it is. On the court I have no friends. The only friend I have is the basketball. That’s it. And obviously my teammates, but I go out to compete and to guard and play at a high level. I’ve been that way since day one and that’s what I do.”

Whether Westbrook is shoving Stephen Curry or pushing foreheads with Durant, this series has taken it up a notch. It appears both teams don’t like one another.

Former Thunder player Enes Kanter jawed with Durant in Oakland last year, inciting Durant for a 40-spot. Andre Roberson, who’s often subdued, went forehead-to-forehead with Durant last season, showing there’s no pushovers even though he left.

While Durant is gone and that’s a done deal, the Thunder obviously see the Warriors, due to the multiple championships, as the top of the mountain. You want to be the best, you gotta beat the best. It just so happens your former teammate went to play there instead of staying with you.

Sure, this is a rivalry. You go into a playoff series, blow a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals and your best player bolts for that same team. The disdain is real. The Rivalry, while not always competitive is real. These two don’t like each other.

From Kerr and Curry saying Westbrook is easy to guard, to Westbrook triple-doubles to the Thunder going for their first season series win since 2011-12, the rivalry continues to heat up as one of the best in the NBA.

The rivalry was brudding before Durant even went to the Warriors. Westbrook’s buzzer beater in 2014 sparked a real promise. The fight was real on both teams that night. Over the next two seasons, four of the seven games were decided by eight points or less.

That all came to a point when the Thunder blew the infamous 3-1 lead to the Warriors in 2016. The Draymond kick and the Durant drama. All of it came to a boil the following season. Westbrook’s heroics fell short so many times as the Thunder, despite all of the cupcake chants were never really in the games, even though they were competitive.

That’s different this season. Oklahoma City has shown they’re here to play.

Will the Thunder win the season series vs. Golden State? Maybe. Will they beat them in the playoffs en route to a title? That remains to be seen. However, one thing we know is true, this is a real rivalry and it’s about time the NBA has started forming some new rivalries.

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

Thunder franchise valued over $1.25 Billion

Basketball is now king in the prairie. Sure, football has its moments but nothing brings the two rivaling alumni together like a classic Russell Westbrook slam dunk. Because of that blending of two schools, not to mention the many, many unaffiliated fans, the Thunder value rose 22 percent over last season.

Last season, Forbes dubbed Oklahoma City the 17th most valuable franchise, but they were only worth $1.05 million at the time. This season, in their 20th annual NBA Valuations, Forbes said the Thunder organization is worth $1.25 billion. That’s a nice 22 percent increase over last season. Five seasons ago, the Thunder were worth approximately $590 million and that still was considered a lot of money. A new TV revenue deal, a paid off arena and the Thunder’s ability to turn a profit is a big reason why the drastic increase.

While the 22 percent increase is nice. It’s also worth pointing out that’s only 21st biggest increase in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers saw a 48 percent increase. While on the other end of it all, the Chicago Bulls only saw a four percent increase.

Every team in the NBA is worth over a billion dollars. In comparison to last season, 18 teams were worth a billion. New Orleans rounds up the bottom with a value of $1 Billion.

One major change for the Thunder is the drop in ranking. They’ve been ranked the 17th most valued franchise according to Forbes for the last two seasons and this season, Oklahoma City dropped to 18th. The Washington Wizards leaped the Thunder, and a handful of other franchises. Washington went from 18th to 14th, a massive jump in comparative years.

Another change from last season is the Thunder’s ability to turn a profit. Last year the Thunder with an $8.4 million deficit. This season, that’s skyrocketed to $64 million. That’s seventh highest in the NBA. Cleveland is the only franchise to lose money this season in operating income.

The New York Knicks ($3.6b), Los Angeles Lakers ($3.3b) and the Golden State Warriors ($3.1b) are all teams worth over $3 billion. Chicago ($2.6b) and Boston ($2.5b) round out the top five.

Brooklyn ($2.3b), Houston ($2.2b), L.A. Clippers ($2.15b), Dallas ($1.9b) and the Miami Heat ($1.7b) complete the top 10 of most valuable franchises according to Forbes.

The Thunder were never expected to be a team that was going to rake in the money. They’re a small market with only so many TV sets and one of the smaller arenas in the NBA. If they can stay around the 17th range, it’s a success for the team. Those slim margins are why the Thunder probably cannot afford a rebuilding session all over again and why they’ll have to pay the tax on occasion.

Oklahoma City’s rank on Forbes list of Most valuable:

  • 2018: 18 ($1.25 billion)
  • 2017: 17 ($1.0025 billion)
  • 2016: 17 ($950 million)
  • 2015: 13 ($930 million)
  • 2014: 11 ($590 million)
  • 2013: 12 ($475 million)
  • 2012: 15 ($348 million)
  • 2011: 18 ($329 million)
  • 2010: 18 ($329 million)
  • 2009: 20 ($310 million)
  • 2008: 24 ($324 million)

The value is nice but we know majority owner Clay Bennett is looking at that salary cap mark, $134 million. That’s approximately $15 million over the luxury tax line and boy are the Thunder going to pay. Right now their salary cap and luxury tax is approximate $149 million. This is a small market team with their largest sponsor laying people off and selling off assets. Oklahoma City has a thin margin for error.

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