Tag - Memphis Grizzlies

Thunder Game Day No. 26: vs. Charlotte Hornets

Oklahoma City Thunder (12-13, 9-3 home) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (9-16, 1-10 away)

Monday, Dec. 11 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 7-point favorite. The over/under is 206.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Hornets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder goes for their five win in six tries as they host the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Despite how much we love Kemba Walker, the Charlotte Hornets aren’t very good. They’re 1-10 away from the Spectrum Center. They’ve lost back-to-back games against Chicago and the Lakers.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hornets are only 3-7, including losing eight straight road games since beating Memphis on Oct. 30.
  • Last season, the Charlotte Hornets swept the Thunder, ending the Thunder’s 11-game win streak over the Hornets.

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 HORNETS

  • The Charlotte Hornets are 9-16 on the season, 13th in the Eastern Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hornets are 3-7.
  • When away from the Spectrum Center, Charlotte is 1-10, losing eight straight since Oct. 30.
  • In their last game, the Hornets lost to Lakers by double-digits, 110-99.
  • All-time, Oklahoma City is 36-17 against Charlotte.
  • When you break it down between Hornets and Bobcats, the Thunder are 4-2 against the Hornets and 9-2 against the Bobcats.
  • Last season, the Charlotte Hornets swept the Thunder, winning both games by double digits.
  • When in Bricktown, the Thunder are 8-1 all-time against Charlotte, with their first ever loss coming last season.
  • Oklahoma City is 11-2 in their last 13 games against the Hornets.
  • Injury report:
    Nicolas Batum (elbow) is out.
    Cody Zeller (knee) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Charlotte came on Nov. 26, 2012, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 114-69 (45-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (12 points) vs. Charlotte occurred during a 101-113 loss on April 2, 2017.

NEW FACES

  • 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.

Injury Report

  • Paul George (right calf contusion) is a game-time decision.

Next Up

  • The Thunder will travel to Indiana on Wednesday for Paul George’s return to Indiana (maybe if he’s healthy).
  • Oklahoma City then has back-to-back against the 76ers on Friday night and the Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony’s return to New York City, on Saturday night.



Three Keys to the Game

Jeremy Lamb

This might be Paul George or Andre Roberson’s call. The Hornets are 1-9 when Jeremy Lamb scores 15 points or less. Lamb has only done it once over the last seven games. That explains how Charlotte is 1-6 over that span. Let’s see how he fairs tonight.

Bench

Oklahoma City’s bench ranks 29th in the NBA in points contributed per game. They’re averaging 23.4 points per game. If Paul George is not able to go, the Thunder will have to find a way to get someone on the bench to step up. They didn’t really step up on Thursday. We’ll see.

Make your free throws

The Thunder are middle of the league in attempts. However, they’re horrible at makes. They’ll make their free throws, this game will be a cake walk. Oklahoma City is 72 percent from the line, 29th in the NBA. Just atrocious.

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Plus-Minus vs Memphis: Thunder steal one

PLUS

Steven Adams

Steven Adams continued his rich vein of form against the Memphis Grizzlies scoring 21 points and nine rebounds shooting 7-of-11 from the field at 63.6 percent. Adams was once again the key to the Thunder getting out of a hole and being a weapon Russell Westbrook could use to set up the Thunder’s offense and make space for Alex Abrines and Carmelo Anthony.

Alex Abrines

Alex Abrines started his second game in a row against the Memphis Grizzlies while Paul George sat out for the second game in a row. Abrines was phenomenal for the Thunder scoring a career-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting at 70 percent and a career-high 6-of-8 from three-point range at 75 percent. Abrines stood up at critical times for the Thunder when it looked like the Grizzlies couldn’t miss from three the Thunder turned to Abrines who would hit an answering three in return.

Second Half

The Thunder managed to erase a 20 point deficit and outscore the Grizzlies 56-44 in the second half. It all started with an 13-0 run in the second quarter were Russell Westbrook assisted Adams on two of his scores and an Anthony three-pointer that kick-started a Thunder comeback that was finished off in overtime with Westbrook hitting two free throws to give the Thunder the win 102-101. The Thunder did a good job of finding the hot hand at crucial times against the Grizzlies with Westbrook finding Abrines and Adams while Felton came off the bench providing a vital six points.



MINUS

Westbrook shooting

Russell Westbrook tried his best to shoot the Thunder out of this game. Westbrook went 7-of-29 from the field at 24.1 percent and a staggering 1-of-12 from three-point range at a percentage of 8.3. Westbrook has been in a terrible shooting slump these past weeks, and he seems intent to shoot himself out of it no matter the cost it may bring the Thunder. Westbrook also struggled at the free throw line finishing 5-of-8 at 62.5 percent but came up clutch in overtime hitting two free throws to give the Thunder the lead. Westbrook had another triple-double finishing with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists.

Free throws

The Thunder won this game on two free throws and a great defensive effort from Carmelo Anthony, but it wasn’t from a lack of trying to lose it. The Thunder should have won this game in regulation time with how many shots they missed at the free throw line; the Thunder shot 18-of-31 from the free throw line at a percentage of 58.1. Adams got to the line 12 times making seven of them Anthony also got to the line eight times only making two. The Thunder have struggled all season from the free throw line they are ranked 15th in attempts, 20th in makes and 29th in percentage with 71.2 this is a stat the Thunder need to address and fix if they are to have any success come playoff time.

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Career night for Abrines as OKC survives OT

Alex Abrines scored a career high 20 points starting in place of Paul George as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 102-101 in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Russell Westbrook was fouled with 4.4 seconds left in overtime, making both free throws to give Oklahoma City the victory.

Abrines hit big three after big three, nailing down five threes in the contentious game, which was a career high.

Oklahoma City now has won four of their last five games, improving to 12-13 on the season.

“It’s tough to win in this building.,” Westbrook said. “They still can play well here, so it’s a good win for us.”

It’s also Oklahoma City’s first road win since beating Milwaukee on Oct. 31.

More random things: It’s also Oklahoma City’s second largest comeback. The Thunder came back from 21 down at Orlando last year on March 29, 2017.

The road to a 20-point comeback starts with the other team nailing shots and the Thunder not defending. Those two things came up big. Tyreke Evans and the Grizzlies were popping threes as if they were the Golden State Warriors. Memphis built a 34-19 lead after the first quarter.



In overtime, the Grizzlies built a 98-95 lead with 2:26 remaining, but Alex Abrines nailed a three to equal the game up at 98-98.

Westbrook drove through the lane, hitting a lay up and pulling the Thunder within one with 13 seconds remaining.

Once again, free throws helped the Thunder tonight. JaMychal Green missed two free throws, leading to the Thunder’s victory.

The Grizzlies would continue piling it on the Thunder, taking a 50-30 lead with 5:08 left in the second quarter. It appeared a team that had lost 13 of their last 14 games and 16 of their last 19 games were going to run away from the Thunder. However, that’s when the Thunder decided to get back into the game.

Oklahoma City would go on a 13-0 run, cutting the deficit down the 50-43 with 1:38 left until halftime.

Memphis would lead 57-46 at halftime.

Oklahoma City would open the second half on an 18-6 run, taking their first lead at 64-63 lead with 4:24 left in the quarter. From there on out, the Grizzlies and the Thunder would ride the seesaw, going back and forth. Neither team would have more than a five-point lead.

The Thunder took a 67-66 lead after the third quarter.

Carmelo Anthony tipped in a missed bucket with 2:00 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Thunder a 91-88 lead.

Anthony had an opportunity to give the Thunder a three-point lead but missed the front end of two free throws. Memphis would one up the Thunder, missing 2-of-4 free throws in the final seconds. The free throws tied the game up at 92-all.

 

Westbrook, who was 7-of-29 shooting, also went 1-of- from three-point range. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 14 assists for his eighth triple-double of the season. Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams led the Thunder with 21 points and nine rebounds each.

Oklahoma City returns home for a showdown with the Charlotte Hornets on Monday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and we’ll have your coverage all over your social media and here.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Turnovers: A

Oklahoma City only turned it over 10 times. They did a quality job of taking care of the ball against a team that was getting hot from three. The Thunder only had five turnovers in the second half and overtime. They also were good in only allowing 10 points off those turnovers.

Bench: B

While the bench scoring was really low, only 18 points, but it was in the manner they would score. Oklahoma City’s Raymond Felton came on hot when it mattered the most. Finding Josh Huestis for three, nailing back-to-back jumpers and then finding Huestis for a cutter, the Thunder held their largest margin at a five-point advantage

Free Throws: F

Oklahoma City finished the game 18-of-31 from the free throw line and once again an abysmal free throw performance almost cost the Thunder a victory. Anthony and Westbrook finished a combined 10-of-16 at the free throw line. They want to be superstars and leaders of their teams, they have to make the free throws.

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Thunder Game Day No. 25: at Memphis Grizzlies

Oklahoma City Thunder (11-13, 2-10 away) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (8-17, 5-9 home)

Saturday, Dec. 9 :: 9:00 p.m. CST :: FedEx Forum (18,119)

Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 5-point favorite. The over/under is 198.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Grizzlies: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma City have lost to the Nets but tonight they get a chance to rebound against the Memphis Grizzlies.
  • Memphis comes in as one of the most struggling teams in the NBA. The Grizzlies are 1-9 in their last 10 games.
  • Oklahoma City is 5-2 over the last two seasons against Memphis.

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 8-17 on the season, 13th in the Western Conference.
  • The Grizzlies are 1-9 in their last 10 games.
  • In their last game, Memphis lost to the Toronto Raptors 116-107.
  • Last season, the Thunder took three of four from Memphis in their season series.
  • All-time, Oklahoma City is 56-26 against Memphis.
  • Since relocation, the Thunder are 19-14 against the Grizzlies.
  • When playing on Beale Street, the Thunder are 8-9 and only 3-6 over the last five seasons.
  • Injury report:
    Chandler Parsons (rest) is out.
    Brandan Wright (groin) is out.
    Mike Conley (achilles) is out.
    Wayne Selden Jr. (quadriceps) 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. the Grizzlies occurred during a 80-114 loss on Dec. 19, 2016.

NEW FACES

  • 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.

Injury Report

  • Paul George (right calf contusion) is a out.

Next Up

  • Oklahoma City splits up the mini-road trip with a single game at home vs. the Hornets on Monday, Dec. 11.
  • Oklahoma City then goes on a three-game road trip starting with Paul George’s return to Indiana on Dec. 13.



Three Keys to the Game

Turnovers

Take care of the ball and the Thunder will have a really good chance at dominating this game. Memphis without a lot of their key players should be easy to attack. We’ll see how that works out.

Bench

Oklahoma City’s bench ranks 29th in the NBA in points contributed per game. They’re averaging 23.4 points per game. With Paul George is not able to go, the Thunder will have to find a way to get someone on the bench to step up. They didn’t really step up on Thursday. We’ll see.

Get to the line

The Thunder are middle of the league in attempts. However, they’re horrible at makes. They’ll make their free throws, this game will be a cake walk. Oklahoma City is 72 percent from the line, 29th in the NBA. Just atrocious.

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Brooklyn out hustles Oklahoma City

Everything that was frustrating about the Oklahoma City Thunder came to fruition in Mexico City on Thursday night. The Brooklyn Nets out-hustled the Oklahoma City Thunder en route to a 100-95 Nets victory.

The loss drops Oklahoma City to 11-13 on the year, ending their three-game winning streak.

Oklahoma City appeared to be on their way to their fourth straight victory as the Thunder participated in the Mexico City Games. However, a 16-point first half lead as the Thunder jumped up 33-17 early in the first quarter. However from there on out, the Thunder disappeared offensively. Brooklyn trimmed it down to nine by halftime, as the Thunder only led 58-49.

The Nets fought through and took a lead shortly into the second half, completing the Thunder meltdown. Brooklyn took a 63-62 lead with 6:19 on a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson step back jumper. Russell Westbrook responded with a big three-pointer, giving the Thunder their lead and a ride on the seesaw.

Brooklyn started to pull away when they went up 84-81, their largest lead of the game at that point when Allen Crabbe cut to the bucket with 9:44 left in regulation. Kyle Singler, yeah he’s alive, hit his second three-pointer of the game, tying it up on the ensuing possession.

Andre Roberson fould Spencer Dimwiddie on a three, giving the Nets an 93-85 lead over the Thunder. Oklahoma City climbed back to within 94-91 with 3:12 but would get no closer as the Nets would close out the game strong.

Westbrook had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists on a very poor 10-of-27 shooting.

It was reported in the post game Westbrook has been diagnosed with a hip contusion. Westbrook had a collision in the fourth quarter where he came up a little limp. Westbrook would play through it. However, as Westbrook left the floor after the game ended, you could see a hitch in Westbrook’s step.

OKC shot just 39 percent from the game and were only 15-of-52 in the second half (28.8 percent).

With no Paul George and Jerami Grant, Carmelo Anthony was expected to step up but he stepped out instead. Anthony finished 5-of-20 from the floor for 11 points and 11 rebounds. He was 1-of-6 in the second half.

Steven Adams added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Oklahoma City but was largely unused in the second half. He didn’t even play 12 minutes.

Oklahoma City will take on a wounded Memphis Grizzlies team in Memphis on Saturday night. That’s an 8 p.m. tip-off. We’ll continue to have your game day coverage here and on our social media.

Keys to the Game

Turnovers: D

Oklahoma City only forced 13 turnovers on a team that turns it over about 17 times a game. The Thunder struggled on this side of the ball. The Thunder’s offense is predecated on forcing turnovers and getting into transition. They did not do that tonight and for that, they’re going home with a loss.

Bench: D

While Raymond Felton showed out with seven points in the third quarter and Kyle Singler had a season high nine points, that’s really about it for the Thunder’s offensive bench. Only 29 points combined and the Thunder didn’t step up. While the Thunder were short handed, they really let their teammates down.

Free throw line: F

Oklahoma City went 12-of-23 from the free throw line. You make half of those misses and Oklahoma City wins this game. Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony both missed two free throws in the final five minutes of the game. Absolutely unacceptable.

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Power Rankings Week 3 (Oct. 31-Nov. 7)

The NBA is fun. Boston may be without Gordon Hayward but they’ve won five in a row. The Magic and Grizzlies are … good? So, we forgot a day but we’re back. Oklahoma City has slipped in our rankings once again. We’ll see if they can string together some wins to move up.

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: Orlando — 19 spots

Biggest drop: Cleveland — 13 spots

1. Orlando Magic (5-2) (LW: 19)

I had to. The Magic have earned this as they’ve won four of their last five. Orlando’s offense is second in the NBA in scoring and their three-point defense is holding opponents under 30 percent from beyond the arc. That’s a recipe for success. It doesn’t hurt when Aaron Gordon drops 47 in a win over Brooklyn.

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

Toronto has the largest net point differential in the NBA (+10.8). That’s large in part to what Dwayne Casey has these Raptors doing on defense. Opponents are only shooting 30.5 percent from beyond three-point range against Toronto.

3. Washington Wizards (4-2) (LW: 3)

Bradley Beal got ejected but and the Wizards took the L against the Warriors. This Wizards team though, has a real shot at winning the whole thing.

 

4. Milwaukee Bucks (4-2) (LW: 6)

Giannis Antetokounmpo is an absolute monster. Antetokounmpo is leading Milwaukee in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Oh, he probably is a pretty good chef. So, he leads in that department, too.

5. Boston Celtics (5-2) (LW: 15)

Remember when Gordon Hayward went down and we thought the season was over for Boston? I do, but this team is still really talented. They’re the hottest team in the NBA as they’ve won five in a row.

6. Golden State Warriors (5-3) (LW: 10)

Warriors continue to climb as they’re showing mortal signs. However, a trouncing of the Clippers last night may show the champs are back.

7. Houston Rockets (5-3) (LW: 1)

Back-to-back losses for most might send smoke signals of larger issues but the Rockets are fine. One was without Eric Gordon and the other was by a really decent Memphis team.

8. L.A. Clippers (4-2) (LW: 5)

Despite the trouncing to the Warriors, this Clips team is pretty solid. However, back-to-back losses sends this team tumbling in the rankings. Dallas comes to town on Wednesday to help those losing blues.

9. San Antonio Spurs (4-3) (LW: 2)

San Antonio hasn’t won a game in almost a week. Life is tough on the riverwalk. Most likely will catch their fourth straight loss as they play the Warriors but Charlotte and Phoenix come up, too.

10. Detroit Pistons (5-2) (LW: 14)

When you sweep the Clippers and the Warriors, the league takes notice. They get to beat up on the Lakers and the Kings this week. Expect the Pistons to rise again.

11. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-3) (LW: 8)

This team is a little harder to predict than I expected. Much like Oklahoma City, they’re gelling. However, losing Jimmy Butler to sickness for two games doesn’t help. Minnesota has Dallas and Charlotte to ease their pains this week.

12. Utah Jazz (4-3) (LW: 9)

When you lose to the Suns, you should drop even more. However, dominating wins over Dallas and Los Angeles correct some of that.

13. Portland Trail Blazers (4-3) (LW: 12)

The Blazers are only 1-2 in the last week. Their lone win was a beating of the Phoenix Suns. It doesn’t get any easier as they have Utah and Oklahoma City on their schedule this week.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (5-2) (LW: 17)

This one may get me assaulted a bit. Memphis is good but I’m sure a lot of it was beginner’s luck. Losses to Dallas and Charlotte have warning signs for this team.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3) (LW: 11)

I’d love to rank the Thunder much higher but they are 0-3 vs. team above .500. However, they’re only allowing 96.5 points per game. So, there are good things to see.

16. Indiana Pacers (3-3) (LW: 26)

The Victor Oladipo show came to Indy and has partied ever since. He’s having a phenomenal season and he was just named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 28.7 points per game on 60.4 percent shooting in Week 2.

17. Denver Nuggets (3-4) (LW: 13)

Denver has a tough schedule coming up with Miami, Toronto and Golden State, yikes.

18. Charlotte Hornets (4-3) (LW: 20)

Dwight Howard has been re-energized in Charlotte. He’s averaging 13.3 points and 15.0 rebounds per game. In return, Charlotte is 3-1 in their last four.

19. New Orleans Pelicans (3-4) (LW: 21)

Anthony Davis had 39 points and 10 rebounds but the Pelicans have no defense. The Mavericks and the Hawks are on the schedule, should be a couple of wins for the Pelicans this week.

20. Cleveland Cavaliers (3-4) (LW: 7)

The Cavs lost three straight this week. That’s why the big drop. They’re going to climb the ranking but for now, they deserve to be down here.

21. Brooklyn Nets (2-4) (LW: 18)

The Nets are coming back down to earth as they’ve lost two games this week but they can still score a lot of points. Look at D’Angelo Russell, he’s averaging almost 20 points a game as the Nets are third in total scoring at 114.7 points per game.

22. Philadelphia 76ers (3-4) (LW: 24)

After starting 0-3, Philadelphia is starting to find their legs. Weirdly enough, the 76ers are 0-2 at home but 3-2 away from their home venue. With Atlanta and Indiana, this is a good chance to get near .500 again for Philly.

23. Miami Heat (2-4) (LW: 16)

The Heatles are no more. This Miami team has played a brutal schedule lately with San Antonio, Boston and Minnesota. It doesn’t get any easier as the Clippers and the Warriors are this week.

24. New York Knicks (3-3) (LW: 29)

The Knicks beat the pants off the Cleveland Cavaliers and I am impressed. They’re figuring some things out. They have the second biggest win streak in the NBA. Weird.

25. Phoenix Suns (2-4) (LW: 30)

Firing your coach works? I guess. Gone is Earl Watson and Eric Bledsoe is at the hair salon but the Suns went 2-1 this week. So fire your coach.

26. Dallas Mavericks (1-7) (LW: 27)

Dallas may have the worst record in basketball but five of their seven losses are by six points or less. They’re right there.

27. Los Angeles Lakers (2-4) (LW: 23)

The Lakers with Ball on the court are bad. They’re 11.3 points per 100 possessions with him off the court and they’re -13.0 with him on the court. That’s very telling.

28. Sacramento Kings (1-5) (LW: 22)

I thought the Kings were going to be on the up-and-up but I was wrong. Three losses this week, including a 28-point loss to Washington gives the Kings a headache.

29. Chicago Bulls (1-4) (LW: 28)

A 32-point loss for the Bulls on Saturday night might not be the worst point of the season for the Bulls. They’re without way too many people and it’s going to be tough to win games.

30. Atlanta Hawks (1-6) (LW: 25)

Atlanta without Dennis Schroder out, the Hawks are floundering. They’ve lost six in a row and have allowed 100 points in every game but one.

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Power Rankings Week 1 (Oct. 16-22)

The NBA season is upon us! Oklahoma City doesn’t play until Thursday but the NBA season starts tomorrow night. With that said, we’re going to try and do something every Monday here at Thunder Digest. We’re going to rank all 30 NBA teams. If you disagree, please tell us. We’re going to try and remain impartial to being a Thunder site.

1) Golden State Warriors

I feel like this is a given. The Warriors added Nick Young and are the defending champions. They’re going to be here until they lose more than they’re expected. Vegas has them at 67 wins. I’d take the low as the West is very tough this season.

2) Houston Rockets

When you add a hall-of-fame point guard, you’re going to improve. The Houston Rockets with the addition of Chris Paul are going to barrage every team in the league with three-pointers and there is only way to stop them, let them miss. That’s really it.

3) The Oklahoma City Thunder

You add Paul George and Carmelo Anthony? You shoot up everyone’s rankings. Russell Westbrook doesn’t need to do it all himself this year. Alex Abrines, who set a rookie Thunder record for made threes, is back and will provide a nice support off the bench. The bench is the major question mark for the Thunder.

4) Boston Celtics

Once again, a team acquiring another superstar(s) shoots up the rankings. Though, Boston went to the Eastern Conference Finals, they added Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Boston is deep and very talented. How will Irving and the rest of the Celtics gel?

5) San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard. Enough said. This man might be the front-runner for the MVP this season. Their age is always going to be a factor but you cannot discount everything the Spurs do. They’re consistent as the sun and the moon.

6) Washington Wizards

I have a soft spot for Scottie Brooks. That man will always be revered in my household. Wizards almost won 49 games last year after an abysmal 3-9 start. With a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards are on the right path.

7) Cleveland Cavaliers

Now please don’t sacrifice me for putting the Cavaliers this far down. It’s really due to Isaiah Thomas being out with the hip until at least Christmas. This list is to start the season. The Cavaliers will probably still win the Eastern Conference.

8) Minnesota Timberwolves

How many teams have 2016-17 20-point scorers? Three. Golden State, Oklahoma City and Minnesota. Adding Jimmy Butler and Co., the Timberwolves will finally move into the playoffs.

9) Toronto Raptors

Patrick Patterson is gone but that’s fine. Serge Ibaka is the stretch Toronto wanted anyway. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan give the Raptors one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA.

10) Milwaukee Bucks

Kevin Durant said Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the player in the history of the NBA. The dude keeps getting better and better. Experts, not Durant, think he could eventually average multiple seasons of triple-doubles. That’ll be time before it comes true but he’s fun to watch. Oh and there is Thon Maker, too. He’s cool.

11) L.A. Clippers

What a weird season for the Clippers. Chris Paul is gone but they retain Blake Griffin and still have DeAndre Jordan. I’d like to think Milos Teodosic is the real deal. Plus, adding Sam Dekker was a clutch move to sure up them their bench.

12) Utah Jazz

The Jazz are in a weird spot, like the Thunder were last year. However, with Derek Favors and Rudy Gobert, they still have some players. They added Ricky Rubio from Minnesota. It’s not like they fell off the map. Bench is a bit of a question but they’ll be okay.

13) Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic is a stud. Will Barton and Gary Harris will lead a backcourt but the inconsistency of the Nuggets from last year leaves them out of my top 10. Though, they were 15-11 after the Nurkic trade last year.

14) Portland Trail Blazers

It’s the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum show once again. Jusuf Nurkic was a beast after the trade and they added Caleb Swanigan but is there enough defense out there to contend in the super tough Northwest Division?

15) Philadelphia 76ers

Okay, maybe I’m overselling the 76ers but that’s fine. Joel Embiid is so entertaining to watch. If he can stay healthy, he’s an All-Star player and the 76ers make the playoffs. If he gets hurt, JJ Redick made $23 million to go to Brooklyn next season.

16) Charlotte Hornets

Kemba Walker gets help from an over-the-hill Dwight Howard but will still be enough to make the playoffs in the East but won’t be entertaining to watch.

17) Miami Heat

The Heatles went 30-11 down the stretch and barely missed the playoffs. Curious to see what Waiter’s Island is like without a contract year to fall back on.

18) New Orleans Pelicans

Despite Boogie and Anthony Davis being maybe the best front court in NBA history, the Pelicans don’t have enough to get it done. Rajon Rondo isn’t the answer, either.

19) Dallas Mavericks

If you haven’t seen Dennis Smith Jr. play yet, this guy is going to be so good. Dallas found their next franchise player. Even with aging Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks will miss the playoffs.

20) Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have been a staple in the playoffs for the last few years. I think that ends this year. While Mike Conley is one of my favorite point guards to watch, I don’t think him and Marc Gasol can do it alone.

21) Sacramento Kings

Dave Joerger and Zach Randolph, okay. Also, Vince Carter is on this team. Is this the rejected Memphis Grizzlies? Why didn’t Tony Allen come here?

22) Detroit Pistons

There isn’t a lot from keeping me ranking the Pistons lower on this rankings, other than bottom six teams are all from the East. Just a plague of how bad the East bottom half is.

23) Los Angeles Lakers

I’m not sold on Lonzo Ball yet. However, he makes the Lakers relevant, even if they’re bad again. The League’s (and team’s throughout the league’s, profit goes up when the Lakers are relevant.

24) Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker and Dragon Bender got some help in Josh Jackson. The Suns are going to be bad again. However, they’ll at least be entertaingly bad.

25) Indiana Pacers

Victor Oladipo will have his work cut out for him in Indiana. Luckily he has Miles Turner to assist him in this 35-win season.

26) Orlando Magic

Kind of like Chicago, I find it hard to really name some players. Then, they rolled in a bit better than with Chicago. Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier will get some attention but for the most part, this team might not win 30 games.

27) Chicago Bulls

I thought about it really quick, there isn’t a person on the Bulls I could name off the top of my head. That’s not a good sign. However, Zach LaVine and Robin Lopez will try not let this team end up worst than some expect.

28) New York Knicks

Poor Ron Baker. He and Kristaps Prozingis will have to win every game on their own.

29) Brooklyn Nets

They don’t have a first round pick of their own until next season. They do have a first round pick from the Raptors, but it’s lottery protected. That’s about the only thing going well for Brooklyn coming up. This is going to be a rough season. They only won 20 games last year.

30) Atlanta Hawks

Only if the Hawks were going to be as entertaining as their twitter account is. This is going to be a rough season in the dirty south.

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Andre Roberson named 2nd Team Defensive All-NBA

Andre Roberson was named to the All-Defensive Second Team NBA squad.

The Oklahoma City Thunder forward received three first team votes to go along with 47 second team votes. Joining Roberson on the second team is Tony Allen from the Memphis Grizzlies, Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs, Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks.

The All-Defensive First Team NBA included Draymond Green from the Golden State Warriors, Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz, Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs, Chris Paul from the L.A. Clippers and Patrick Beverley from the Houston Rockets.

Russell Westbrook received 10 overall votes and five first team nods. Steven Adams‘ name also was listed as players receiving votes — the New Zealand native received one second team vote.

Roberson’s position at small forward may have been the culprit in leaving the talented defender off the first team. In the 2016-17 season, Roberson allowed 107 points per 100 possessions.

Routinely guarding the opponent’s best guard or wing player, the San Antonio native thrusted himself as one of the premier defenders in the NBA. The Colorado alum’s reputation as one of the more difficult defenders to face grew as the Thunder moved through the post-Kevin Durant era.

Roberson now looks forward to his first experience of uncertainty as he becomes a free agent on July 1st. Earlier in the year, Oklahoma City and Roberson could not come to an agreement on an extension, allowing the All-Defensive Second Teamer the opportunity to test the free agency market.

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Orlando Summer League Schedule

The Orlando Pro Summer League gets set to kick off in a little over a week. For the Oklahoma City Thunder, they never head to Las Vegas. They prefer the intimate details of the Orlando league. There are no fans. No real distractions. There is media and team personnel there. With the outside world blocked off, the Thunder can better evaluate their prospects. Oklahoma City did win the 2013 OPSL Championship with Jeremy Lamb winning MVP honors.

You’ll get to see a nice squad of Thunder players at this year’s event. Josh HuestisDomas Sabonis, and Semaj Christon, are all expected to play. Oh yeah, and Terrance Ferguson, the Thunder’s most recent draft pick is expected to play.

From the Oklahoma City BlueDaniel HamiltonAlex Caruso, and Dakari Johnson should be suited up as well.

We’re still learning what undrafted free agents will join the team, too. Right now only one confirmed is Malcolm Hill of Illinois. He’s a small forward and should see minutes behind Huestis.

This season, the Thunder will be joined by the Orlando MagicCharlotte Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.

In the past, Orlando has fielded a blue and white squad. That is not the case this season.

All games will be available on NBA.com or you can watch them on your TV on NBATV. Check your local listings and such.

Here is the Oklahoma City schedule for the six-day event:

  • July 1: at Detroit Pistons- 4 p.m.
  • July 2: OFF
  • July 3: vs. New York Knicks – 12 p.m.
  • July 4: vs. Charlotte Hornets – 12 p.m.
  • July 5: vs. Dallas Mavericks – 12 p.m.
  • July 6: Championship Day:

    1st game — 7:00 a.m. — 8th place at 7th place

    2nd game — 9:00 a.m. — 6th place at 5th place

    3rd game — 11:00 p.m. — 4th place at 3rd place

    4th game — 1:00 p.m. — 2nd place at 1st place

Oklahoma City’s history in the OPSL
(since becoming the Thunder)

2008: Sixth Place (of six) — 2-3
2009: Third Place (of six) — 3-2
2010: Champions (of six) — 4-1
2011: No Summer League due to lockout
2012: Fourth Place (of eight) — 3-2
2013: Champions (of 10) — 5-0
2014: Seventh Place (of 10) — 2-3
2015: Fourth Place (of 10) — 3-2
2016: Third Place (of 10) — 4-1

Past OPSL Champions

Year League Champion Score Runner-up League MVP
2013 Orlando Oklahoma City Thunder 85–77 Houston Rockets Jeremy Lamb
2014 Orlando Philadelphia 76ers 91–75 Memphis Grizzlies Elfrid Payton
2015 Orlando Memphis Grizzlies 75–73 (OT) Orlando Magic (White) Aaron Gordon
2016 Orlando Orlando Magic (White) 87–84 (OT) Detroit Pistons Arinze Onuaku

Game Rules

  • Four 10-minute quarters
  • Eight-minute halftime
  • Ten-minute warm-up period prior to the start of each game
  • Teams are in the penalty on the 10th team foul or second in the last two minutes
  • Players foul out on their 10th personal foul
  • Each team will receive two full timeouts per half
  • Mandatory timeouts will be taken at the first stoppage of play after 5:59 and 2:59 of each quarter
  • A timeout taken by a team will negate the next mandatory timeout in that quarter
  • Timeouts do not carry over
  • All timeouts will be 1:45 in duration
  • Each team will also receive one advance (stop play, ability to substitute, and inbound the ball from the 28’ mark in the frontcourt) in the last two minutes of the 4th quarter and in any overtime period

Overtime

  • Two-minute overtime period
  • Each team is allowed one timeout
  • Each team is allowed one advance
  • Penalty begins on the 2nd team foul
  • The second overtime period is sudden death (first team to score a point wins)

All other NBA rules apply.

Competition Format

  • Each team will play five games over the six-day event
  • Standings will be kept over the first five days of the league according to a point system (described below)
  • Every team will play their fifth and final game against the opponent seeded most closely to them in the standings
    • For example, the two teams with the highest point totals will play in the Championship game; the teams with the third and fourth-highest point totals play in a third place game, etc.

Point System

  • Standings over the first six days of the league will be kept using an EIGHT-POINT SYSTEM. In this system, eight points are awarded each game and distributed as follows:
    • Four points for winning the game -One point for every quarter a team wins (in the event of a tied quarter, both teams will receive 0.5 points)
  • As a result, the winning team in each game can collect between five to eight points, while the losing team can collect from zero to three points.

Championship Seeding Criteria

  • Championship seeding will be determined by a team’s total points in the league standings
  • In the event of a tie, the following tie-breaker steps will be in place:
    • Tiebreaker 1: Total point differential
    • Tiebreaker 2: Total points allowed
    • Tiebreaker 3: Coin flip

Note – Overall or head-to-head win/loss record will NOT impact championship day seeding. Seeding will be determined solely by the criteria above.

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Thunder Game Day #79: at Phoenix Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33, 17-21 away) vs. Phoenix Suns (22-57, 13-26 home)
Friday, April 9 :: 9:00 p.m. CST :: Talking Stick Resort Arena (18,422)

Thunder Game Day #79: at Phoenix Sunsvs. Thunder Digest

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
TV: NBATV
Online Stream: here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 9½-point favorite. O/U is 227½
Notes: Thunder: here | Suns: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Russell Westbrook goes for history as the Thunder look to stay alive in the race for the No. 5 seed as they travel to the desert to take on the Phoenix Suns.
  • The Suns have been struggling and that’s saying it nicely. They’ve dropped 13 in a row and 15 of their last 16 games.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-1 vs. Phoenix this season, but the Suns beat Oklahoma City 118-111 on March 3.

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).
  • Tonight’s game is on NBATV for those not in Oklahoma.

WIN OVER THE BUCKS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Recap
  • Oklahoma City held an advantage for the majority of the game but Memphis started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take a three-point lead. Russell Westbrook scored 14 points in the quarter, including to lead the Thunder to a win.
  • Westbrook turned in his 60th double-double of the season, second in the NBA. It was his league-leading 17th 40-plus point game of the year(also a Thunder era record).
  • Doug McDermott scored 10 points to go along with a Thunder season-high seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
  • The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies, 26-13 in fast break opportunities on the evening.

SCOUTING THE SUNS

  • The Phoenix Suns are 22-57 on the season, last in the Western Conference.
  • Phoenix is 0-10 in their last 10 games.
  • The Suns have dropped 13 straight games and 15 of their last 16 games.
  • Phoenix lost to the Warriors 120-111 on Wednesday night.
  • The Thunder is 21-10 versus the Suns during the Oklahoma City era.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-1 vs. Phoenix this season.
  • The Suns beat the Thunder 118-111 on March 3 in Phoenix.
  • Oklahoma City is 8-6 all-time on the road vs. Phoenix, including 2-4 in their last six games.
  • Russell Westbrook has two triple-doubles against the Suns this year and was one assist short of three.
  • Westbrook is averaging 41.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 13.7 assists in three games
  • Leandro Barbosa (hamstring) is a game-time decision.
  • Tyson Chandler (rest) is out for the season.
  • Brandon Knight (back) is out for the season.
  • Eric Bledsoe (knee) is out for the season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Phoenix came on Feb. 8, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 127-96 (31-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. Phoenix occurred during a 118-140 loss on Feb. 20, 2009.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 78 career triple-doubles, that’s tied for fourth all-time.
  • 23 of the 78 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • Westbrook has seven straight triple-doubles.
  • Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
  • Westbrook is fourth all-time in triple-doubles.

ALL-TIME TRIPLE-DOUBLE LIST

Rank Name Triple-doubles
1 Oscar Robertson 181
2 Magic Johnson 138
3 Jason Kidd 108
4 Russell Westbrook 79

INJURY REPORT

  • Oklahoma City is relatively healthy.

50 IS NIFTY

  • On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
  • Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
  • Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.

STILL GOOD ODDS

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

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Sunday.
  • Denver is 37-41 on the season, ninth in the Western Conference.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-0 and has won eight in a row vs. Denver, including four in a row on the road.
  • Denver is 4-6 in their last 10 games.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Turnovers

Oklahoma City’s turnovers were their achille’s heel against Charlotte. Oklahoma City has to take care of it tonight if they’re going to take down the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. If they turn it over, they’ll lose by a sizable margin tonight.

Fast break

The Hornets were able to limit the Thunder’s fast break ability by not turning it over. The Grizzlies takes care of the on average through the league. In their loss to the Grizzlies, Oklahoma City couldn’t force many turnovers and it was their downfall.

Bench production

Oklahoma City’s bench has been very inconsistent this year and lately it has been so bad. If Enes Kanter and Alex Abrines can find their shot and rhythm again, the Thunder can find the W again.

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