Tag - Chicago Bulls

Thunder Game Day No. 70: at Atlanta Hawks

Oklahoma City Thunder (40-29, 16-18 away)


Atlanta Hawks (20-47, 15-20 home)

Tuesday, March 13 :: 6:30 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-point favorite. The over/under is 224.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Hawks: here


  • The Oklahoma City Thunder knocked off the Sacramento Kings on Monday night and now travel to downtown Atlanta to take on the hapless Atlanta Hawks.
  • The Thunder are 11 games over .500 for the first time this season.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Atlanta Hawks 120-117 on Dec. 22 on a last second Russell Westbrook three-pointer.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are flailing and flailing bad. They’ve lost three straight and are 2-8 in their last 10 games.
  • The Thunder are going for their first sweep of the Hawks since 2013-14.


  • 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).


  • The Atlanta Hawks are 20-47 on the season, last place in the Eastern Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hawks are 2-8.
  • Atlanta has lost three straight.
  • The Hawks lost their previous game to the Chicago Bulls 129-11 on Sunday, March 11.
  • All-time against the Hawks, Oklahoma City is 65-66.
  • Since the relocation, Oklahoma City is 11-5 against Atlanta.
  • When the Thunder are playing in Atlanta, Oklahoma City is only 5-4.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-3 in their last six games in Atlanta.
  • Previously this season, the Thunder beat the Hawks 120-117 on Dec. 22 in Oklahoma City.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t swept the Hawks since the 2013-14 season.
    Kent Bazemore (knee) is out.
    DeAndre’ Bembry (Abdomen) is out.
    Tyler Cavanaugh (ankle) is a game-time decision.
    Antonious Cleveland (ankle) is out. Malcom Delaney (ankle) is out.
    Jaylen Morris is out (ankle) is out.
    Dennis Schroder (elbow) is a game-time decision.
  • 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 99-88 loss on Dec. 23, 2008.


  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
  • Steven Adams (hip contusion) is questionable.


  • Oklahoma City hosts the LA Clippers on Friday night and then travels to Toronto Sunday afternoon.
  • After that, the Thunder Boston and Miami to round out the week.


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

Three Keys to the Game

Moving the ball

The Thunder and in particular Russell Westbrook need to keep the ball moving and make sure everyone stays in the game. When Westbrook has 10 or more assists the Thunder have a record of 24-11 when he has under 10 assists they are 16-18. The Thunder must move the ball in order to be successful Westbrook has to set the tone early in moving the ball and carry it throughout the game.

Be aggressive on defense

The Thunder need to be active and aggressive on defense. When the Thunder are locked in mentally on defense they are elite with Paul George and Russell Westbrook looking like elite cornerbacks. They’re  looking for opportunities to create deflections and steals. Steven Adams is protecting the paint. The Thunder’s offense is lethal on the fast break with Westbrook putting opponents on their heels and George and Anthony running right behind him for the trailer three.

Simply show up

They simply need to show up with the same mentality they do when they play the elite teams like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. This season the Thunder have a record of 22-10 against teams with sub-.500 records they simply don’t show up with the same intensity or determination as they do when they face the top tier competition. This upcoming game against the Atlanta Hawks s is an important game for the Thunder, something Carmelo Anthony understands. Must beat those dot dot dot teams.

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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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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.

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Thunder interested in Tony Allen

The Oklahoma City Thunder need some perimeter defensive help. That much is obvious as they’ve allowed 12.0 three-point buckets per game over the last four games. They’re 1-4 without Andre Roberson. Because of that, the Thunder have made inquiries into the new Chicago Bull, Tony Allen.

Known as the Grindfather for his hard nosed, never quit style in Memphis, Allen was recently traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, Feb. 1. It was reported by Adrian Wojnarwoski the Bulls didn’t really have intent to keep Allen.

That’s where the Oklahoma City Thunder come in.

According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that “league sources said the Bulls and Thunder have engaged in talks with at least Tony Allen’s expiring deal involved.”

No Andre Roberson and a horrible turn of events defensively, Allen in theory could be the right fit.

Allen, 36, is still not an offensive threat as he’s only averaging 4.7 points, 2.1 rebounds on 48.4 percent per game, including 33.3 percent from three-point range. On the surface, Allen is still a defensive juggernaut but he really isn’t anymore. He hasn’t posted a decent defensive rating (In my mind, 102 or below, since 2014-15, when he was with the Grizzlies.

Though, it’s been said, the 36-year-old from Oklahoma State is still better than watching Alex Abrines try to defend Klay Thompson. Allen could help be a short stoppage for the remainder of the season.

If the Thunder were to sign Allen, he would garner approximately $868,311 for the remainder of the season, with it getting lower everyday.

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Christmas Day has become a Thunder tradition

Sitting by the fire as the Oklahoma winds whip through Bricktown. You’re opening presents with your loved ones but you keep one eye glued to the clock. While spending time with your family is great, the Thunder national family has become another thing in itself. The Thunder playing on Christmas, it’s as traditional as Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey.

When the ball jumps at the Peake on Christmas Day, it’s a continual sign that Oklahoma City has arrived. No long is the town a po-dunk little pass over town. People stop and the gawk at the goosebump giving play of the reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook.

Despite the market size, which many still feels handicaps the franchise, the Thunder have been all over the NBA schedule on Christmas Day.

The tension was real before the schedule was released last season. Would the NBA punish the Thunder for not having Kevin Durant? Is this what mediocrity would look like when the NBA passed over the Thunder? However, all those questions fell to the side as Oklahoma City was given a showdown with the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves.

While the T-Wolves fans celebrated their return to the NBA spotlight, for the Thunder fans, the cheers were there, along with a sigh of relief. Westbrook didn’t disappoint. Throwing down a near triple-double in a double-digit win over the young pups of Minnesota.

It’s the best time of the year, Christmas time. The opportunity to play the game I love every night is a blessing. I enjoy it,” Westbrook said.

Gone though, with the move to Nike are the unique Christmas Day uniforms. Most teams will wear their statement uniforms, you know the dark blue ones with orange lettering. Expect the Rockets to wear their red uniforms or the white ones as the black and dark blue contrast too much.

The Thunder have played on every Christmas Day since 2010. The Thunder at the time were having their welcome to the spotlight moment as they throttled the Denver Nuggets. Kevin Durant scored 44 points in the game, his first 40-point game of the season that year. Westbrook’s killer time showed Chauncey Billups and Co., a very efficient 19 points.

Each year, the games became more intriguing and more of a showdown with the NBA’s best teams. In 2012, the Thunder opened the strike-shortened season against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. Oklahoma City held the Howard to one of his lowest scoring outputs (11) all season long.

Games against Miami and San Antonio, at the time, two of the best teams at the time (and who met in back-to-back Finals). Sandwiched between those was Westbrook’s coming out party against the New York Knicks. A triple-double and a mop of the floor, saw the NBA realize how great the future MVP would be.

Who can forget Reggie Jackson being a Spurs killer on Christmas and ruining Christmas for the Spurs?

There have been duds. A 2015 loss to the very average Chicago Bulls set the Thunder back. Oklahoma City couldn’t beat the LeBron James led Heat, as we all had PTSD of the NBA Finals match up

All-in-all, playing on Christmas is special for Oklahoma City and their fan base. We take our families and loved ones to the games or we get a nice plate of food and sit around the big screen, cheering on our team. When the Rockets come to town on Christmas Day. Thunder fans have already won. They’ll be on national television. There’s an NBA team in Oklahoma City.

It’s a joy to tell those who are curious on what you’re doing for Christmas. You look at them and just tell them, “Yeah, I’ll be watching Thunder basketball.”

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from everyone here at Thunder Digest.

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Real Plus/Minus: Thunder throttle Chicago

The Oklahoma City Thunder took care of business on a normal Wednesday night, beating the Chicago Bulls 92-79. Oklahoma City now has won three straight and are 7-7 on the year.


First Quarter Defense

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s first quarter defense was phenomenal. The Thunder held the Chicago Bulls to just seven points for the entire quarter. The Thunder were able to cause multiple shot clock violations while also keeping the Bulls to shooting 2-of-16 at 12.5 percent. OKC also dominated the glass by out rebounding the Bulls 15-8 with eight of the Thunder’s 15 rebounds being on the defensive side of the ball.

Westbrook lights up the second quarter

Russell Westbrook shot 0-of-4 in the first quarter. Westbrook exploded in the second quarter shooting 5-of-5 at 100 percent from the field and 2-of-2 from three-point range at 100 percent and if that wasn’t enough after starting the season struggling from the free throw line Westbrook went 5-of-5 from the line at 100 percent. Westbrook also had three trademark Russell Westbrook slams, It wasn’t just on the offensive side of the ball Westbrook was impacting, but on the defensive side, he had three steals continuing his streak of three-plus steals in a game to five. Westbrook finished the game playing 31:53 minutes scoring 21 points, five rebounds, seven assists with four steals.

Jearmi Grant continues to grow

Jerami Grant continues to develop as a player since he has been traded to the Thunder from the Philidelphia 76ers last season he has grown leaps and bounds from the player that first arrived. This season Grant has become more controlled and intelligent basketball player. Grant has developed into an excellent defender who can switch and rotate and also has become someone who has developed a skill in getting charge calls along with his athleticism he has become a real asset for Billy Donovan.

Free throw shooting

The Oklahoma City Thunder was coming into this game the 24th worst team at the free throw line shooting at 74 percent. Tonight against the Bulls the Thunder got to the line 37 times making 32 of them shooting at 86.5 percent. The man who has had the most significant struggle at the free throw line this season is Russell Westbrook shooting at 67.9 percent shot seven free throws tonight hitting 7-of-7 at 100 percent it looks like Westbrook and the Thunder are turning things around at the line.


There were none we played the Bulls.

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Thunder beat hapless Bulls

The Oklahoma City Thunder took care of business on a normal Wednesday night, beating the Chicago Bulls 92-79.

Oklahoma City now has won three straight and are 7-7 on the year.

It started with the Thunder holding the Chicago Bulls to only seven points in the first quarter. Those seven points ties a franchise record for an opponent single quarter low. Oklahoma City jumped out to a 11-3 in the first few minutes of the game, forcing a quick Bull’s timeout. Chicago would never get remotely closer than that.

Oklahoma City led 27-7 after one quarter and 58-34 at the break.

Russell Westbrook’s facilitation mode was apparent. Westbrook had zero shots and zero points in the first quarter. However, the MVP candidate blew up, scoring 17 points in the second quarter alone. Westbrook finished with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds on 6-of-13 shooting.

The lead ballooned to 27 in the second half. Westbrook, combined with Carmelo Anthony was a lethal one-two punch the Bulls couldn’t handle.

Just like the first time the Thunder played, it was the defense that set the tone. Oklahoma City held the Bulls to 34.7 percent shooting in this contest. That includes the 31.4 percent in the first half. Oklahoma City forced 17 turnovers, turning it into 22 points. The Thunder had seven steals, forced four shot clock violations and never really let the Bulls get into their offense all night.

Oklahoma City shot only 8-of-30 from three-point range. It’s only the second time this season the Thunder made less than 10 three-pointers. They also hit eight threes in their second loss to Minnesota.

Paul George finished with 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting. Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson both finished with five points. Dakari Johnson who was starting in place of Steven Adams again finished with five points in 12 minutes. Andre Roberson was 2-of-2 from the floor for four points and six rebounds.

Anthony finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in his first game back from injury. Jerami Grant powered the Thunder’s bench with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Oklahoma City will travel to the riverwalk in San Antonio to play the Spurs. That’s a 7 p.m. ESPN tip-off on Friday night.

Keys to the Game

Score: B

Oklahoma City finished with 92 points and only shot 36.1 percent but it was enough as the Bulls aren’t very good. Oklahoma City does this against almost any other team and it’ll cost them. They were able to escape with it tonight.

Share the ball: D

Only 15 assists from the Thunder on 26 buckets. There was way too much ISO ball tonight. Oklahoma City has to do a better job of sharing the ball. Again, against the Bulls, you’ll get away with it. However, against good teams, you’re going to struggle.

Get to the line: A+

Oklahoma City made 32-of-37 at the charity stripe tonight, nearly doubling how many attempts the Bulls had tonight. Russell Westbrook finished 7-of-7 at the line, making him 24-of-26 over his last three games. That’s what you want to see from your leader.

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Thunder Game Day No. 14: vs. Chicago Bulls

Oklahoma City Thunder (6-7, 4-2 home) vs. Chicago Bulls (2-9, 1-5 away)

Wednesday, Nov. 15 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 12-point favorite. The over/under is 201.5.
Notes: Thunder: here | Bulls: here


  • Oklahoma City is going for their third straight victory with the Chicago Bulls in town.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Bulls 101-69 earlier this month in one of the largest victories in Thunder history.
  • Chicago is 1-5 since playing the Thunder.
  • At 93.6 points per game, Chicago has the worst offense in the NBA.


  • 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).
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for game updates.


  • The Chicago Bulls are 2-9 on the season, 14th in the Eastern Conference. Only Atlanta has a worse record.
  • The Bulls are 1-4 in their last five games.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Bulls 101-69 in their first meeting.
  • In their all-time series, Oklahoma City is 71-73 against the Bulls.
  • Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 11-7.
  • When the game is at the Peake, the Thunder are 9-8 vs. Chicago.
  • Oklahoma City has lost back-to-back games vs. the Bulls.
  • In their last time game, the Bulls were spanked by the Spurs 133-94 on Saturday.
  • Justin Holiday (personal) is out.
  • David Nwaba (ankle) is a game-time decision.
  • Zach LaVine (knee) is out.
  • Nikola Mirtoic (face) is out.
  • Cameron Payne (foot) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Chicago came on Oct. 28, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 101-69 (32-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (28 points) vs. Chicago occurred during an 100-128 loss on Feb. 1, 2017.


  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.


  • The trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony combined for 5,992 total points last season, which is the most by any other set of three teammates in the league this year. They are followed by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler (5,810 combined points) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas, LeBron James and Derrick Rose (5,307 combined points).

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 24th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,399 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

Turnover a New Leaf

  • Through the first ten games of the season, Oklahoma City leads the league in both steals per game (10.60) and opponent turnovers per game (19.0).
  • The Thunder has yet to finish within the Top 5 in the NBA in these categories since they moved to Oklahoma City as their previous season bests were 8.28 steals per game in 2012-13 and 15.2 opponent turnovers per game in 2013-14.
  • Additionally, the Thunder tops the NBA leaderboard for deflections per game (19.2) and forced turnovers on 19.6% of opponent possessions, which tops the league.
  • Paul George ranks first in the league in deflections per game (4.8) and in steals per game (2.40)

Adamsant Scorer

  • Steven Adams currently ranks second in the league in field goal percentage (.676, 48-71 FG).
  • On Oct. 27 at Minnesota, Adams went 8-for-8 through the third quarter, which is his personal best start from the field.
  • As a point of reference, the Thunder record from the floor is held by Serge Ibaka when he went 12-for-12 on 1/31/14.
  • He has scored in double figures in six of the first seven games and led the team in rebounding four times while posting four double-doubles.

Injury Report

  • Steven Adams (calf) is out.
  • Carmelo Anthony (back) is a game-time decision.

Still good odds

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the sixth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fourth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

Next Up

  • The Thunder goes to San Antonio on Friday to play the Spurs. ESPN has your 7 p.m. broadcast.
  • Oklahoma City then goes to the Pelicans on Monday, Nov. 20.
  • Then, the Thunder host the Warriors on Nov. 22.

Three Keys to the Game


The Bulls offense is the NBA’s worst offense. Oklahoma City needs to go out and score and put this game into Lawler’s Law. The Bulls are 0-6 when their opponents hit the 100-point mark. So, get to 100 points and you win the game.

Share the ball

Like rebounding, sharing the ball can be key. Oklahoma City is a cool 4-2 when Russell Westbrook has 10 or more assists. If the MVP gets 10, you might as well chalk up a W tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t try to do it all tonight.

Get to the line

Oklahoma City has done a good job getting to the line during their last two wins. However, they have yet to hit 30 free throw attempts. The Thunder are 4-2 when they attempt more free throws than their opponent. Maybe that’s something they can do tonight.

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George goes bananas again, Thunder win again

Paul George dropped 37 points and if it wasn’t for a quick timeout by Billy Donovan, the Fresno State alum was about to pull up from three and make it an even 40. George’s 37 points led Oklahoma City to a 112-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evening.

The Thunder now have won back-to-back games and are 6-7 on the season.

George hit seven three-pointers, only one off Russell Westbrook’s franchise record of eight, which Westbrook has done twice. George had 29 points in the second half, including five made threes.

Oklahoma City held Dallas to 42.5 percent from the floor and an impressive 29 percent from beyond the arc. Despite getting out rebounded, the Thunder had a fantastic day forcing turnovers. Dallas turned it over 20 times for 28 Thunder points

“I thought we played a complete game defensively,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.

Westbrook finished with 27 points on 6-of-18 shooting, pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists. Westbrook started out the first half going only 2-of-10. The birthday boy came out in the second half with different shoes on and threw down 3-of-4 to start the third quarter.

Carmelo Anthony was ruled out about an hour before the contest because of a sore back. Steven Adams missed his second straight game. Jerami Grant and Dakari Johnson started in their place.

After Dallas tied it up at 48-all and Westbrook took over. Chirping at the Maverick’s bench, Westbrook nailed a three, looked at the sideline and said “That’s one.” Westbrook came back and hit another three-pointer after George did. Dallas called a timeout and the run still came at it. Westbrook’s final three put the Thunder up 74-58 with 3:35 left in the third quarter. Oklahoma City’s 39-point third quarter was the highest point guard for the Thunder this season.

“We’ve got to be ready for anything,” George said. “When Steven went down, Dakari (Johnson) stepped up. Melo went down and it was a huge contribution from a bunch of guys. Josh (Huestis) stepped up, Jerami (Grant) stepped up. We’ve got to be that team. We’re fortunate to have two other guys who can take the (scoring) load, but it’s even better when we’ve got young guys who can step up and help the team.”

The Thunder nailed 15-of-32 from three, a season high in makes. The 46.9 percent is also a season high percentage as well.

Oklahoma City will have a few days off before playing the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Thunder already spanked the Bulls by 32 points earlier this season. Oklahoma City will look to have their first three-game win streak this season.

Keys to the Game

Shoot well: B

Outside of the first quarter, the Thunder shot pretty well. Oklahoma City was 5-of-17 in the opening frame and shooting 56.4 percent the final three quarters. That’s exactly what you want from the Thunder and to do it without Carmelo Anthony is impressed.

Share the ball: A

Oklahoma City is now 6-0 when they have 21 or more assists. They’re 0-6 when they have 20 or less assists. Oklahoma City does a good job when they share the ball and getting everyone involved. It’s not every day we see someone nearly have as many assists as Westbrook as Paul George did.

Get to the line: A+

33 attempts for the Thunder tonight. 13 of those came from Russell Westbrook, the birthday boy. Westbrook finished 12-of-13 and that’s the most important thing. Westbrook pushed his season average from 60 percent to 65.4 percent. In the last two games, the Thunder have attempted 73 attempts. The previous five games the Thunder had 85 attempts.

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Power Rankings Week 4 (Nov. 7-13)

I’m just as impressed as you are I’m doing this for a fourth straight week. That said, the NBA is a fickle season. We hoped the Thunder would be a little bit further along but a stupid ejection continues with the woes of this team. Boston is on fire, despite losing arguably their best player. Cleveland has their own entire set of issues which we’re not touching with a 10-foot poll. Are the Rockets really the best team in basketball right now? It’s completely possible. The way James Harden played the other night, he might be on his way to an MVP.

Without anymore hesitation, here we go:

Weeks: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 |

Biggest rise: Philadelphia — 12 spots

Biggest drop: Oklahoma City — 10 spots

1. Boston Celtics (8-2) (LW: 5)

Despite losing their best player in my opinion, Gordon Hayward, the Celtics are the league’s best defense and are on an 8-game winning streak.

2. Houston Rockets (8-3) (LW: 7)

James Harden dropped 56 points in 32 minutes, what are you doing with your life?

3. Orlando Magic (6-4) (LW: 1)

While the Magic aren’t in first, they’re still playing well. Expect the Magic to continue to fall in the rankings but they’re respectable.

4. Detroit Pistons (7-3) (LW: 10)

The Pistons are for real. They defend and get the Hawks this week. They’ll get more wins this week.

5. Golden State Warriors (8-3) (LW: 5)

The Warriors are starting to find their groove. They’re going to win a lot of games. The Warriors have won four in a row. Might be 10 in a couple of weeks.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-3) (LW: 11)

Another team on a run, the Timberwolves are on fire, second hottest team in the NBA. Their defense might not be best but definitely can score a lot of points. They’re sixth in scoring at 109.4 points per game.

7. Washington Wizards (5-4) (LW: 3)

Wizards struggled a bit this week but the Hawks and Mavericks are up.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (6-4) (LW: 14)

Chandler Parsons is respectable. Mike Conley is a stud and Grit’n’Grind is still alive. However, Houston, Milwaukee and Portland this week.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (6-4) (LW: 13)

A couple of big wins this week over the Lakers and the Thunder push the Damian Lillard into the top 10 this week.

10. Philadelphia 76ers (5-4) (LW: 22)

I don’t really know why I moved the 76ers up this much. Why not? They’ve won four in a row and looks like the team we expected to make the playoffs in the East. Ben Simmons is probably the Rookie of the Year.

11. Toronto Raptors (5-4) (LW: 2)

Raptors go 1-2 this week with the lone win over the Jazz, so at least it was a good one. Boston ends out the week for Toronto.

12. San Antonio Spurs (6-4) (LW: 9)

Despite winning two straight, Spurs drop a spot. I think this is more about the improved league around them.

13. L.A. Clippers (5-4) (LW: 8)

Back-to-back losses for L.A. drops them five spots. It doesn’t get any easier with Oklahoma City and San Antonio on the next up.

14. Milwaukee Bucks (4-5) (LW: 4)

A top-four team last week, but a three-game losing streak sends the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s MVP chances tumbling down the rankings.

15. Denver Nuggets (5-5) (LW: 17)

Some of these teams like the Nuggets and Pelicans move up because of the Thunder and the Cavaliers moving way down.

16. New Orleans Pelicans (5-5) (LW: 19)

Two in a row for the Pelicans. However, only wins over the Bulls and Mavs. Let’s see how they do against Toronto and the Clips this week.

17. Utah Jazz (5-5) (LW: 12)

Had to drop the Jazz as they’ve lost their last two games.  New Orleans and Washington are up on the schedule.

18. Los Angeles Lakers (5-5) (LW: 27)

The Lakers, like the Knicks are respectable. Who knows how long that’ll last. If it wasn’t for DOLLA DAME, the Lakers would be on a three-game win streak.

19. New York Knicks (6-5) (LW: 24)

Are the Knicks… good? They’ve won three of their last four. I guess the Knicks are good at basketball again.

20. Indiana Pacers (5-5) (LW: 16)

Indiana’s fun is wearing off. While Victor Oladipo is doing fine, they’re struggling. They’ve lost two bad games recently.

21. Charlotte Hornets (5-5) (LW: 18)

If you don’t love Kemba Walker you can get out of my house. However, their defense isn’t great and they don’t score a lot.

22. Brooklyn Nets (4-6) (LW: 21)

While the Nets score a lot of points (112.7 ppg), they allow the most in the league (116.6)

23. Phoenix Suns (4-7) (LW: 25)

So the Suns fire their coach and win a few games. Phoenix is somewhat respectable now.

24. Miami Heat (4-6) (LW: 23)

This team is too inconsistent, for me, to be inside the Top 23 right now.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-5) (LW: 15)

The way they’ve lost the last two games, they deserve to be lower.

26. Chicago Bulls (2-6) (LW: 29)

They get back Bobby Portis. So, that’s a positive sign. They’re also only one of two east teams giving up under 100 points.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers (4-6) (LW: 20)

When LeBron James is your only source of production, did we time travel back to 2009?

28. Atlanta Hawks (2-9) (LW: 30)

I should’ve just kept the Hawks at 30, but I do this counting up from the bottom.

29. Sacramento Kings (1-8) (LW: 28)

Four straight losses by nine points or more shows the Kings are in a for a long stretch of losses. Oklahoma City, Philly, New York and Washington this week provides tough slate for the Kings.

30. Dallas Mavericks (1-10) (LW: 26)

This is the worst season for Dallas since 1992-93 when the Mavericks finished 11-71. Poor Dennis Smith Jr. Dirk Nowitzki doesn’t deserve this, either.

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