Tag - championship

Jazz 96, Thunder 91: What they said after Game 6

In another wild game in what has been an insane series, the Utah Jazz were able to hold off a surging Oklahoma City Thunder to take the first round series and advance to the conference semifinals. Utah won the series 4-2.

Russell Westbrook had to do a lot by himself offensively, as Carmelo Anthony and Paul George were nonexistent scoring-wise. Russell finished with 46 points, hitting 18 of his 43 shot attempts. Without Westbrook going into the mode that he did, Oklahoma City would have been absolutely blown out.

Donovan Mitchell was phenomenal for Utah, and helped them a ton when Rubio went out of the game early with an injury. Mitchell finished with 38 points, 22 of those in the third quarter.

After a very active offseason in 2017 and having high expectations, the Thunder will now go home early in the postseason with a lot left unaccomplished.

Here are some key quotes from tonight’s wild game six:

Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan:

“I thought our guys came in and competed, we battled. I think if you look at the six games that both teams have played in, there have been incredible runs in both directions.”

“We gave ourselves a chance and an opportunity. It has been a great group to work with, I really really appreciate all these guys, and what I really appreciate is when you bring a new group of people together, you never know how it’s going to be in the lockerroom and how guys are going to get along. Those guys did a great job. I think there is great optimism and hope, in my opinion, of what the team could end up being going forward, because I think there is a great opportunity for us to learn and grow from this and get better from it. So, we are disappointed our season has come to an end, but we give a lot of credit to the Jazz and how they played here today.”

Utah’s Quin Snyder:

“I think other people are finding out, stuff that we’ve known. Alec Burks is probably the best example of that tonight. A guy that, we’ve said, that all year long whether it is an injury or a game or foul trouble, we have had guys step up. That’s been what these guys are about, and Alec was that guy tonight. Found himself a situation, that he didn’t envision, at shoot-around today. He stayed ready….You saw tonight as good as example as you can have of a guy that was able to do that, and we don’t win that game without Alec. There’s no question about it. He is a reflection of what our whole group has been about all year.”

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook:

Every night I play, man. I leave it on the floor. I continue to say this every time I play, I’m not saying it for my health, that is just how I play. Regardless of win, lose or draw, I leave it on the floor, everything I have. Sometimes you come up short, sometimes you win. That’s my job, to bring my energy, aggressively for my team and that is what I do.”

“I don’t confront fans. Fans confront me. Here in Utah a lot of disrespectful things are said to the players. Truly disrespectful, talking about families and kids. I’m tired of going out and playing and fans saying whatever they want to say.. I’m not with that. If I was on the street, they wouldn’t come up and say that. I don’t play that shit. I think it’s just disrespectful they can do whatever they want to do. Especially in Utah.”

Oklahoma City’s Paul George:

“It is our first year playing together. I knew that coming here. High expectations to win. I think you have to figure out the in between stuff. It takes time to become a championship team.”

“It is too soon. I would love to remain a Thunder, but that’s what the summer’s for.”

“[Russell]’s unbelievable. Amazing. A stand up guy. Its not cliché, people say he’s an amazing player and amazing person. That’s truly how you can describe Russ. He’s one of the best teammates by far. Just learned a lot. He’s an unbelievable person.”

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell:

“Man, I don’t think words can really describe it. [Thunder] are a great team, they play with heart and passion, but the way we play together, we weathered the storm when they came out hot early. We stuck together that’s been our motto all year. To beat a team like that, says a lot.”

Utah’s Joe Ingles:

“It was a fun game, we obviously did not want to go back to [Oklahoma City], we wanted to finish it in front of our home fans. It is going to take a little while to wind down after that tonight. It’s a quick turnaround for Houston, and we will figure out what we got to do for that series. But obviously, tonight, is something we want to enjoy together. We’ve been a great team all year, sticking through the ups and downs, and tonight was just an example of that.”

 

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Jazz Meltdown! 4.25.18

The Oklahoma City Thunder made a historic comeback and sent their first round series with the Utah Jazz back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. Jazz fants went from cocky, making Hamilton the Musical jokes, to melting down with all of the meltdowns. They gave Westbrook actual credit. That’s weird. Enjoy!

  • This game is gravy.
  • Tonight is the Crowder game
  • Calling this right now. Mitchell goes for 40+. His 3 point shot will be fire tonight.
  • I can’t believe I am saying this, but I have Hamilton tickets for tonight and the only thing I am thinking about is the Jazz!
  • Hamilton is the ****.
  • THOMAS JEFFERSON’S COMIN HOME
  • Donovan > Jefferson
  • I am predicting a big win for Alexander Hamilton in tonight’s duel vs. Aaron Burr. No spoilers if you know how this turns out!
  • Brewer is a b**** a** roach
  • Pansy P with the fluke basket
  • I can tell right now that Thunder will play much better they did the last two games.
  • Billy just took Carmelo out… not fair put him back.
  • Crowder with the steal chair to his haters
  • Crowder is Larry Bird
  • Holy ****. Jae Crowder with the insane spark off the bench.
  • This game feels like a Jazz win. We are moving, rotating and hitting open 3s.
  • Dante slipped on Fatman Felton’s butter sweat
  • Joe Ingles giving pushoff P a Pushoff and hitting a 3 is the highlight of the series LOL
  • When Fatman Felton runs the floor Thunders
  • Stupid OKC fans dumb punks
  • I missed it, what happened?
  • Nothing really, I just hate them
  • Felton so fat he didnt even feel that he was pushin Exum out of bounds with his belly.
  • Get your Westbrick shot out of there Rudy molested you
  • Thunder arena sounds best silent,
  • kicking their assssss
  • Westbrick is not smart enough to even see what the problem is.
  • A tech on OKC. This is fun.
  • How many shots did Westbrook jack up? Holy ****.
  • I really hate Westbrick’s face reminds me of a kermit the frog on crack
  • OKC is incredibly dumb… can’t tell how much is players and how much is coach.
  • The way the crowd is acting I feel like I’m watching a game in early January – very low energy.
  • Gobert just destroyed Westbrick’s career. I mean destroyed whatever is left of it. He can still do a muppets movie as a 3d crack head Kermit the Frog
  • Time for OKC to start with the frustration fouls and starting fights
  • What is Crymelo postseason record against us… 3-8 now?
  • We’re up by 25 on a team that has quit.
  • OKC just doesn’t want it. Don’t let them think they do.
  • Personally I would love it if the arena emptied before the 8 minute mark in the 4th.
  • Westbrick finally shows up.
  • Don’t do this Jazz… don’t give them one damned breathe of air.
  • Down 18 stupid okc fans suck at match think they are down by a bucket
  • Westbrook hits 2 though shots. He’s now going to force 6 more in 3 minutes.
  • Let’s push this thing to 30, then we can relax
  • Keep your foot on their throat Jazz
  • damn looks like jazz got this
  • Jesus. So much for them laying down after being down 25
  • Okc will run out of gas.
  • This come back will be short lived
  • Adam Silver doing some wwe **** now
  • Jazz are completely falling apart.
  • What the actual **** i
  • whats happening. Our offense is awful
  • One of the biggest choke jobs in playoff history.
  • **** the NBA and **** NBATV. Why can’t I watch this **** on national TV. ****
  • I’m getting worried.
  • 25 point lead gone just like that.
  • Ingles gonna give okc a kangaroo kick
  • I’m gonna be in an awful mood if this continues
  • Son of a….
  • Wtf Are we watching
  • What an explosion from Westbrook.
  • One of the craziest quarters of basketball I’ve ever seen.
  • I don’t have a good feeling about this.
  • If your gonna give up a 25 point lead at least take a little more time to do it.
  • Give Westbrook some credit. Hell of a quarter from him.
  • I can only hope Westbrook is outta gas….but he’s an mvp…
  • seriously falling apart. no composure
  • Now when we win it will merely crush Westbrook’s will even further. So do not despair.
  • That’s it I’m done. I’m to frustrated with this ******** officiating. Wife is pissed because I’m yelling. Calling it a night before I end up in the dog house
  • Westbrick ain’t nothing, we got this.
  • Do not blame refs. No single lineup of NBA players should blow a lead that big that fast.
  • Not sure if I’ve ever seen a jazz team meltdown like this.
  • We have shat the bed.
  • If the Jazz lose I’m going to be worried about the momentum for Thunder in game 6 and 7.
  • So who were all the people on here earlier today saying they wanted Westbrook to play this game? Good call guys…
  • Game over. Jazz down and can’t stop Westbrook.
  • Let’s leave Westbrook unguarded so he can hit mid-range jumpers.
  • Terrible! I can’t get how you lead by 25 and blow it. If they lose this series. This will go down as the biggest let down in Jazz franchise history.
  • OKC vs Houston should be fun to watch
  • Absolutely unbelievably horrible performance.
  • Championship teams don’t blow 25 pt leads.
  • Our worst nightmare just happened. We let Westbrook find himself and this series just shifted.
  • I have a friend Chris who texted me saying we murdered them… and they immediately came back… I have informed him that he is no longer my friend and I am going to his house now to lay an upper decker in every toilet in his house.
  • DM finally looked a little shell shocked too…
  • Top three most pathetic game in Jazz history.
  • Wouldn’t be right the way this season has been to not have the Jazz set another record of some kind.
  • gonna long ****ing 48 hours
  • I was yelling so much I think I’m getting a divorce.
  • We ain’t coming back.
  • Guys seriously I think that game gave me cancer.
  • Surprised by OKC not giving up when they were dead in the water. Props
  • We got Westbrooked.
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Rockets Meltdown 4.7.18

The Houston Rockets never foul says every Houston fan ever. They complained about Oklahoma City free throw advantage but ignored the 34-11 advantage they had the last time these two played. What a bunch of cry babies this time around. Oklahoma City didn’t play well and stole a game in Houston. Enjoy the Meltdown!

  • The Brook of the West cometh……..
  • Step on their throats and don’t let up.
  • Corey Brewer is gonna drop season high.
  • I will be at the game, I’ve got some boos saved up for Westbrook
  • I’d LOVE to see Beard give the Thunder a serious beatdown tonight.
  • would love to beat the thunder and knock them out of the playoffs
  • Please let Westbrook take all the 3-pointers to his heart’s desire — the omen for a Thunder loss.
  • ROCKETS WITH THE DOUBLE TRIPLES!!!
  • I’m all in on OKC in 9th
  • Of course carmelo and pg break out of their slumps today
  • Aww the Thunder fans think they still have a shot!
  • We gonna try on defense tonight?
  • Carmelo is going off WTF!?
  • The flukiest quarter of OKC offense this season. They won’t score 25 in the 2nd
  • Melo bricks coming soon just wait a bit
  • Thunders brickers turn into shooting God this game.
  • I hate games on national tv, all they do is oohhh and ahhh about ANY team playing houston. It’ f*&@%#! disgusting…
  • Down six is nothing to a championship caliber team. We will persevere fellas.
  • Im going to need Nene to put Jerami Grant in the rim.
  • rockets looks like **** on both ends.
  • Joe Johnson’s defense is so bad, it’s really going to hurt us during the playoffs.
  • I’ve seen enough refs paid for thunder
  • bad news for the rockets, westbrook, pg, and melo all on.
  • Ok now hardens buzz is wearing off finally
  • lol JVG is right, that is NOT a foul on paul george. that’s an offensive foul on harden or a no call, harden is the one hooking his arm around paul george
  • Westbrick in full effect
  • Thankfully Corey Sewer plays for OKC
  • LMAO at Harden. He made the refs call a foul by way of fetal position.
  • i love how corey brewer blatantly gets fouled and it doesn’t get called but he does not sit there and whine to the refs! he rushes back and hustles and gets back on DEFENSE. i respect that.
  • Screw these refs
  • Westbrook did that on purpose, I’m sure
  • Officiating for both sides has been garbage.
  • Harden now is pissed. OKC is dead.
  • Lol, too bad for OKC Melo won’t do this in the playoffs
  • My goodness. Westbrook just does not shut up.
  • Would love to see OKC out of the playoffs !
  • The blunder threw their best punches and harden just single handedly said f*** you. Lol
  • This game is a clear case of the other team playing their best form of basketball and we still lead.  I say at least a 10 point victory for us.
  • Fun game! First one I’ve been to in like 3 years. I made sure to arrive late so I wouldn’t look out of place.
  • Man I wanna hit Mo cheeks right in the kisser… this bum made it but not Rudy T. Smh.
  • corey brewer keeping the rockets in the game lmao
  • MAKE YOUR ****ING FREE THROWS JAMES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 8 on 5 and the Thunder are still losing
  • Another tech on us lmao
  • Paul George should’ve fouled out by now!! Rigged!!
  • whenever we put in these two grandpas nene and jj at the same time, we lose lead…
  • joe johnson should get 0 minutes in the playoffs.
  • Of course Westbrook would hit a three against us.
  • This may be a nba move here… Rockets lose
  • uhh, wow harden. just get completely embarrassed by westbrook. a complete clowning.
  • This is like a horrible 4th quarter team .
  • Westbrook looks fantastic.
  • Time for a patented Rockets 15-2 run.
  • Westbrook’s intensity is unmatched in the league
  • If Melo blocks you at the rim. Retire.
  • harden ****ing choked.
  • it’s like he’s trying to lose mvp
  • The Refs have completely f***ed us
  • This team didn’t handle the pressure very well.
  • another technical. STOP CRYING LIKE B***ES AND PLAY BALL.
  • Refs gave them about 10 points so we should’ve won in my book
  • he lost the ball again…wtf is up with Harden and pressure?
  • Rockets lost!!!….Westbrook deserves MVP over Harden!!
  • Harden bricking fts when they chant MVP just shows how mentally weak he is.
  • Go home rockets. You’re drunk
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Paul George feels the love in OKC

We’ve been down this road before. Kevin Durant said one thing and did another. Russell Westbrook said one thing and did that thing. So, who knows what to believe? Paul George on Friday after practice gave some insights to his potential future.

“As I told Rachel (Nichols), I can see myself being here. I’ve been happy here, I’ve been happy with the organization, happy with my teammates,” George said. “Our record is not what we want it to be, but I think I’ve enjoyed just learning and being around these guys. So, my answer is still the same.”

George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 30. While the Thunder haven’t been the most successful in terms of what they want this season, they have been really good when healthy. They were on one of the hottest streaks over the last few seasons before the Andre Roberson injury.

“It was just an opportunity to see what it’s like being here and just to naturally fall in love with it,” George said of being traded to the Thunder. “And it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.”

Love is a strong word, even in the basketball community. Players like to remain even, so there isn’t too much read into their comments. Still, a strong comment from George.

 

“You’ve got to look at what we can be, imagine what we would be if Andre was here playing with now,” George said. “You’ve got to look at the team coming back, with free agency coming up with other guys who we could possibly go grab and who could we, myself, Melo, Russ, who can we recruit with us here.”

George has been largely inconsistent but really just a wholesome worker. He doesn’t make excuses and takes the blame when needed, such as after the bad egg he laid against the Warriors on April 3. He’s only the third person in Oklahoma City history to be named to the All-Star game.

“This is our first year together,” George said. “This is Year 1 for this group. We’ve got a chance to win it all, but realistically it takes time for things to build and chemistry to mesh. Just for everybody to be on the same page.”

With the loss of Roberson, the Thunder’s trajectory changed. They’ve largely struggled on the defensive side. George isn’t able to take as many gambles as the defense has to protect what little assets it has. While the trophy may not be 100 percent in the rear view mirror, their goal and hopefully George, a larger picture remains.

“This wasn’t a championship or bust coming into this for me,” George said. “There is just an opportunity to see what it’s like to be here and just to naturally fall in love with it and it’s been that. It’s been a lot of love here.”

Year 1 of how many? That’s the real factor here. Is it only one or will this be a multi-year relationship in which both could potentially help one another get to a championship?

That’s up to George.

 

 

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Thunder Game Day No. 79: vs. Golden State Warriors

Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33, 26-13 home)

vs

Golden State Warriors (56-21, 27-10 away)

Tuesday, April 3 :: 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 4.5-point favorites. The over/under is 221½.
Online Stream: TNT | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Warriors: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are going for their first season series win over the Golden State Warriors since the 2013-14 season.
  • A huge game for the Thunder tonight, as they’re a half-game behind the San Antonio Spurs for fourth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
  • The Thunder lost to the Warriors 112-80 the last time these two teams met. It was a rough night for the Thunder as they couldn’t hit water from a boat in the ocean.
  • Oklahoma City ended a three-game losing streak with a 109-104 win over the Pelicans on Sunday night.
  • Golden State has won back-to-back games but are only 5-5 in their last 10 games.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Tonight’s broadcast is on TNT. It’s good for those who are outside of the Oklahoma market, they’ll get to see this budding rivalry.

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS

  • The Golden State Warriors are 56-21 on the season, second in the Western Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Warriors are 5-5.
  • Golden State is only 2-3 in their last five road games.
  • Overall, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 137-109 against the Warriors.
  • When the games are played in Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 12-5.
  • Golden State beat Oklahoma City 112-80 on Feb. 24
  • The Thunder beat the Warriors 125-105 earlier this month and then beat them 108-91 in November.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are going for their first season series win over the Golden State Warriors since the 2013-14 season.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t won two games in Oklahoma City since that series win year of 2013-14.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Stephen Curry (knee) is out.
    Patrick McCaw (back) is out.
    Andre Iguoudala (knee) is out.
    Shaun LIvingston (personal) is out.
    Kevin Looney (illness) is out.
    Omri Casspi (ankle) is out.
  • 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 earlier this season on Nov. 3, 2016 (122-92 defeat).

INJURY REPORT

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

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City will play the Houston Rockets on Saturday, April 7 on ABC.
  • Then, Oklahoma City will travel to Miami for the a showdown with the Heat on Monday, April 9.

WHAT’S IN A DUB’S 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

Force turnovers

When you’re No. 1 in points off turnovers and the Warriors are one of the worst teams in turning the ball over, this is something where Oklahoma City has to capitalize. If the Thunder come out and their defense is spectacular, they’ll run away with it again.

Make your free throws

Oklahoma City missed 12 free throws in the loss to Denver last week. Oklahoma City ranks 29 of 30 NBA teams in free throw shooting. Russell Westbrook is shooting a career low from the line. Oklahoma City is shooting only 71.1 percent from the free throw line. Since the all-star break, the Thunder are making 72.4 percent of their free throws.

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. Carmelo Anthony needs to hit his open shots and be smart. If they do this, the Thunder will win.

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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.

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Anthony ready for playoffs

The rocky start and rough patches throughout this season had some people questioning how far this new-look Oklahoma City Thunder team could actually go. At practice on Wednesday, Carmelo Anthony reminded everyone that it’s not how you start, but how you finish, and this team was built to finish strong.

“I think the expectations were put on us,” Anthony said. “Of course we wanted to have a better record at this point in the season with the team that we have, but our expectations was to be the best team we could be with the understanding we have the opportunity to do something great.”

With the big moves the Thunder made this offseason, the spotlight has been on the trio of Melo, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George to see if they can live up to all the hype. Anthony in particular has raised some eyebrows on whether or not he can take it to the next level in the postseason.

This would be Melo’s first time to reach the playoffs after not making it the past four seasons, and he doesn’t want to keep repeating that cycle.

“Prior to that I made the playoffs every year since my rookie season,” he said. “To have that feeling and know what that feeling is like, and then to not have that feeling; you don’t want to experience that anymore. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come here to OKC because I saw the opportunity. I understand what we have. I understand what we’re capable of, so yes, it excites me to know that the last game of the season I start gearing up for another season, and not focusing on where my next vacation is going to be. It’s a different mentality.

“We have an opportunity to make a run in these playoffs and potentially play for a championship,” he continued. “That’s the goal. That’s the ultimate goal. Everything along the way, up until then, it was a little bit expected because it was something we put together so quickly. We had to make adjustments, and whenever you put something like that together, it’s going to take time for it to work. But this is a learning curve for all of us. I think in two weeks, a week and a half, two weeks, we continue to do what we do, take care of our business, and I think people will forget about the regular season and focus on the postseason.”

Oklahoma City is in the fifth spot in the Western Conference right now, but only one game separates them from the Minnesota Timberwolves in seventh. For Anthony, though, he doesn’t have any worries about possibly slipping out of contention.

“I think we’re confident enough to know that we’ll be there,” he said. “Where? We’ll see when that time comes, but I believe we’ll be there. It’s something we planned on doing when we put this team together. At the beginning of the season, this is what we were looking forward to. This is why we put this team together.”

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Game Day No. 61: at Golden State Warriors

Oklahoma City Thunder (34-26, 14-16 away)

at

Golden State Warriors (45-14, 23-7 home)

Saturday, Feb. 24 :: 7:30 p.m. CST :: Oracle Arena (19,596)
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 9-point underdog. The over/under is 234½.
Online Stream: Watch ESPN | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Warriors: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder take their three wins in their last four games to the Bay Area to play the Golden State Warriors in their third showdown of the season.
  • Oklahoma City is fresh off a buzzer beating win over the Kings and the Warriors survived a comeback from the Clippers, both on Thursday night.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-0 against the Warriors this season, winning in Oakland and Oklahoma City.
  • The Thunder haven’t won the season series against the Warriors since 2013-14 season, when Westbrook hit that wild overtime corner three in Oklahoma City.

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.
  • ABC will roll out Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson and Lisa Salters for their broadcast crew. Sorry about the Mark Jackson.

SCOUTING THE WARRIORS

  • The Golden State Warriors are 45-14 on the season, second in the Western Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Warriors are 6-4.
  • Golden State has won four straight home games. Their last loss? To the Thunder on Feb. 6.
  • Overall, the Oklahoma City Thunder are 137-108 against the Warriors.
  • When the games are played in Oakland, Oklahoma City is 6-11.
  • The Thunder beat the Warriors 125-105 earlier this month and then beat them 108-91 in November.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t won two games in Oakland since the 2011-12 season.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Patrick McCaw (wrist) is out.
    Draymond Green (shoulder) is a game-time decision.
    Jordan Bell (ankle) is out.
  • 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 earlier this season on Nov. 3, 2016 (122-92 defeat).

INJURY REPORT

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

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder come home for a solo game against the Magic, then go on the road to Dallas to round out the month.

WHAT’S IN A DUB’S 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

Force turnovers

When you’re No. 1 in points off turnovers and the Warriors are one of the worst teams in turning the ball over, this is something where Oklahoma City has to capitalize. If the Thunder come out and their defense is spectacular, they’ll run away with it again.

Defend the three

The Kings drained 12 three-pointers on Thursday night. Oklahoma City cannot allow that type of production to the Warriors if they expect to have a shot in the dark against the Warriors. If the Thunder hold the Warriors to less than 10 threes, this game probably falls to Oklahoma City.

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. Carmelo Anthony needs to hit his open shots and be smart. If they do this, the Thunder will win.

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Paul George more Nightwing than Robin

Nightwing is a DC comic book character who on occasion assists Batman in his endeavors but is not his sidekick like a Robin. Nightwing can work alone, and be seen on the same level as Batman on occasion. Russell Westbrook is Batman. Always has been always will be, but Oklahoma City now has a second superhero in town, and that superhero is Paul George.

In the NBA, “Batman and Robin” has become a thing in which media and fans use to describe a duo on a team, think Kobe Bryant and Shaq, Shaq and Penny Hardaway, or finally, one a little closer to home is Kevin Durant and Westbrook. In every one of those duos, something happened to fracture the duo, and they all went their separate ways. This new partnership in Oklahoma City though feels right, it feels like a perfect combination, a bit like peanut butter and jelly.

George and Westbrook are yin and yang. Westbrook is a force of nature that is coming at your neck every single night with no remorse, he keeps defenses on their heels whereas George is more of a cool, calm and collected kind of operator where Westbrook is loud, he roars, he is demonstrative where George is a silent assassin, a thief in the night.

George brings something special to the table, he is an elite defender with a defense-first mentality that pairs perfectly with Oklahoma City’s best defender Andre Roberson, who so far this season when paired with George, has made the Thunder into one of the elite teams in the NBA for defense.

This season George is having a career best year in three-point shooting, hitting 43.2 percent of his shots, while also shooting 44.8 percent from the field, that could be attributed to playing alongside an elite point guard like Westbrook. On the defensive side of the ball, George is in the running for defensive player of the year, leading the league in steals averaging 2.2 per game while also leading the league in deflections per game and total deflections with 4.4 per game and 247 deflections for the season.

George has brought something to the table Westbrook and the Thunder desperately needed after last season’s one man rampage. It’s someone Westbrook can rely on, someone to take a share of the workload off of Westbrook’s shoulders. When Westbrook passes the ball to George Westbrook can trust George is going to make the right decision in either making the extra pass or taking an important shot. Another problem George has assisted in fixing is when Westbrook has a seat on the bench, the lead is not going to become a deficit by the time he checks back in, like it was the case last season.

The skill George brings to the table more than anything is his elite defense. George is going to shut down the oppositions best player whether that’s LeBron James or Kevin Durant, George can and will compete with them on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball. That’s what Westbrook was missing last season. It’s someone who can bring the fight and give the opposition someone else to worry about, and have to plan for when coming up against the Thunder.

With all the positives George brings to the Thunder, he also brings along a big question and problem.  He’s only contracted to be in Oklahoma City for the 2017-18 season. Then, he has the option to enter free agency. The people of Oklahoma will be praying to the basketball gods that Westbrook, Sam Presti, and the organization has done all they can do to make George want to stay in Oklahoma City, to continue on the battle to bring a championship to Oklahoma.

Some inside the organization saw this as an opportunity for Westbrook to rewrite a narrative that has been told about him. The incorrect narrative that’s “You can’t play with Westbrook.” People in the media point out James Harden who left through trade, Durant who left in free agency, plus a sleuth of other former teammates. The “You can’t play with Westbrook” narrative got louder after the George trade that saw Presti trade Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo went on to become a first time All-Star this season for the Indiana Pacers. This season, Westbrook has gone out of his way to make George feel welcomed and wanted in Oklahoma City, a big moment came when George was snubbed for the All-Star team.

“Unbelievable. I think it’s just outrageous, in my opinion,” Westbrook said. “I don’t know who else made the team but got four people from one team, you’ve got guys complaining about getting snubbed until they get in, you’ve got guys just talking about it all the time.”

Then, there was this past weekend at the All-Star media day, when George was at the podium talking to the media, some fans decided to chant “We Want Paul! We Want Paul!” While Westbrook was sitting a short distance away talking to media he overheard the chants, and stopped mid-sentence to yell out “Paul ain’t going nowhere!”It’s over for that!”.

George to his credit has been very receptive and appreciative of Westbrook’s efforts to recruit him this season talking to Rachael Nichols of ESPN, George talked openly about what Westbrook’s words and actions have meant to him, and the effect they are having on his future.

“Russ is the reason why this decision is becoming, even more, easier to make, is the character Russ [has],” George said. “A stand-up guy and he has his teammate’s back.”

Paul George has shown he isn’t just a Russ sidekick. George is a star. He is a Defensive Player of the Year caliber player. George is worth the risk Presti took trading for him. Come the start of the 2018-19 season, if all of Westbrook’s hard work has paid off and George is in a Thunder jersey, the Oklahoma City Thunder are a real threat to becoming NBA title contenders. Especially, with a healthy Andre Roberson returning.

One thing has become clear this season PG is no Robin.

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Thunder, T-Wolves favorites to sign Joakim Noah

Connect Billy D. to another Florida player, but not Al Horford this time. According to ESPN’s Ian Bagley, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves are the two who could stand out and be the favorites if Joakim Noah would accept a buyout from the New York Knicks.

Minnesota makes a ton of sense as former Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and Noah have a longstanding relationship during their time in the Windy City.

Noah played under Thunder head coach Billy Donovan during his time as the head coach at the University of Florida. Noah won a national championship while there.

Drafted by the Bulls in 2007 in with the ninth overall pick, Noah was a stable in the vaunted Thib’s defense for years. He was an all-star for two of his nine seasons in Chicago but sour grapes saw him sign a stupid large contract with the Knicks last season.

Noah, 32, is set to make $17.7 million this season. He has $37.3 million remaining through the 2019-20 season.

Noah has only appeared in seven games this season, barely registering on the radar of productions. Last season for the Knicks, he averaged 5.0 points on 49 percent shooting and grabbed 8.8 rebounds per game. He appeared in 46 games.

This makes a little sense for the Thunder. Dakari Johnson isn’t the answer at back up center. They’re running Jerami Grant out there when Steven Adams gets into foul trouble. Oklahoma City desperately needs some bench help in the bigs department. It’s unknown what kind of shape or health he’s currently in.

Noah currently is not agreeing to a buy out. The Knicks announce in January, Noah won’t be joining the team for the foreseeable future after a confrontation with head coach Jeff Hornacek. If Noah was to agree to a buyout, the Thunder could swoop Noah up for approximately $815,686.

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