Tag - memphis

What Westbrook needs for a triple-double

Mar 2, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after scoring during the second half of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. The Blazers won 114-109. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

As the season winds down and the Thunder make their push for the playoffs, we’re sitting here wondering: What does Russell Westbrook have to do in order to average a triple-double for the season?

We know he needs 125 rebounds and 151 assists in his next 16 games. That’s a given, but will he reach there? According to Kevin Pelton at ESPN Insiders, Westbrook has a 70 percent shot at scoring the elusive goal.

As we know and assume, Westbrook’s toughest goal will be getting the assist goal. When his teammates aren’t making shots, it’s tough for him to hit that goal of 10 assists per game.

Right now, he’s on pace for 40 triple-doubles, as he has 32 through 66 games. A game short of where the pace should be. Oklahoma City is a cool 26-6 when the MVP front runner schools a triple-double on his opponents. Oklahoma City is a saltry 11-23 when he doesn’t. So, so much for stat padding.

Games against Brooklyn, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Orlando, Phoenix, Minnesota and Denver (twice) could be the best bets for Westbrook. He’s scored a triple-double against every team this season already. That’s eight with one remaining.

He has a career four triple-doubles vs. Houston already; including one this season. Memphis is another target. That would be Westbrook at 10. That would be a bit far fetched and it’s a bit far fetched, still, to say that Westbrook could exceed Robertson’s record. Though, we have to at least talk about the ability of Westbrook to do 10 triple-doubles in 16 games.

It’s also something we should address: If Westbrook is suspended for a game, his chances of tying Robertson’s 41 triple-doubles goes down by a wide margin. However, his ability to average a triple-double would probably sky rocket, due to less boards/assists needed to get there.

On April 2, look for Charlotte at home for Westbrook to aim for a triple-double. Though he says he doesn’t look for it, the Hornets are one of two teams (Chicago) who’ve stopped Westbrook in pursuit of a triple-double. He came awfully close the first time around, scoring only two assists shy.

If Westbrook stays on pace, we could see him tie Oscar Robertson on the last game of the season, which would be at home vs. Denver. To do that in front of a sold out Chesapeake Energy Arena, with a potential playoff battle on the line. Westbrook would show a nuclear performance maybe for the ages.

Worst case scenario, Westbrook finishes with 36 triple-doubles. Best case, Westbrook triple-doubles against all eight teams we mentioned above and ties or breaks Robertson’s 55-year old record on Wednesday, April 12.

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Thunder Game Day #39: at Chicago Bulls

Oklahoma City Thunder (22-16, 8-10 away) vs. Chicago Bulls (19-18, 12-7 home)
Monday, Jan. 9 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: United Center (20,500)

Thunder Game Day #39: at chicago bullsvs. Thunder Digest

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, 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 enemyHere.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 1½-point underdog. O/U is 207½
Notes: Thunder: here | Bulls: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma ended a three-game losing skid on Saturday night, they’ll look to continue their winning ways against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
  • Another ho-hum triple-double for your MVP front-runner, Russell Westbrook on Saturday night.
  • Jimmy Butler hit a last second shot to knock out the Raptors on Friday night.
  • Chicago has won three of the last four against 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.
  • 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)

THAT’S A BUNCH OF BULL

  • According to the Chicago Bulls Encyclopedia, team owner Richard Klein was brainstorming nicknames for his new franchise in 1966 and wanted a name that portrayed Chicago’s status as the meat capital of the world.
  • Klein was considering Matadors and Toreadors when his young son exclaimed, “Dad, that’s a bunch of bull!”
  • The rest is somewhat dubious history.

SCOUTING THE BULLS

  • The Chicago Bulls are 19-18 on the season, eighth in the eastern Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Bulls are 5-5.
  • Chicago has beat the Thunder three of their last four games.
  • The Thunder is 9-6 all-time vs. Chicago all-time.
  • Chicago swept the season series with the Thunder last season.
  • Denzel Valentine (ankle) is a game-time decision.
  • Jimmy Butler (illness) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Chicago came on Feb. 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 102-72 (30-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (10 points) vs. the Bulls occurred during an 86-96 loss on Jan. 27, 2010.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 54 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
  • 16 of the 54 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • 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.

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

  • Oklahoma City hosts Memphis on Wednesday night.
  • It’s going to be an ESPN affair for those not in Oklahoma.
  • Memphis thumped Oklahoma City 114-80 in their first meeting.
  • Russell Westbrook was ejected in the third quarter.
  • The Grizzlies are 24-16 on the season, fifth in the Western Conference.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Defend the three

Chicago is the worst three-point shooting team in the association. Oklahoma City cannot let the Bulls get hot. Chicago is shooting 33 percent in wins and only 28 percent in losses from deep. The Thunder have to keep Chicago more around the 28 percent mark.

Get to the free throw line

Oklahoma City needs free shots in this road contest to go down for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is taking 27 attempts in wins and Chicago is only allowing 17 attempts in their victories. If you can get to the free throw line, this could be something big tonight.

Hey Bench, show up

If the bench shows up, Oklahoma City runs away with this game. However, they’re non-existent at times, especially defensively. They have to find a way to defend, the Thunder are going to find a victory finally. We’ll see how that’ll work out before too long.

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Grizzlies steal one in OKC, shock Thunder 94-88

It reminded me of the 2011 playoffs between Memphis and Oklahoma City. The hard nosed defense, the body colliding offense, and Oklahoma City struggling in the half court offense. Memphis used 14 offensive rebounds in the first half to stay within striking defense of a decent shooting Thunder team to hold on and win 94-88. The loss for Oklahoma City dropped them to 40-13 on the season and 23-5 at home. Also, the loss ended their six game winning streak.

Oklahoma City led early in the first quarter but the Grizzlies fought back with extra chance points, The grizzlies had 16 second chance points in the first half. Oklahoma City fought from an early 5-11 deficit to take the lead 17-11. Memphis closed the quarter on a 11-6 run to end the first quarter with a thunder one-point lead.

Memphis really controlled the tempo throughout the game. They forced Oklahoma City into a half court offense all night. The Grizzlies limited Oklahoma City to just two fast break points for the ball game.

Oklahoma City closed the second quarter with the last five points, including a Thabo Sefolosha three-pointer which gave Oklahoma City the 44-42 lead at the break.

The second half was much more of the same, except for one thing. The Grizzlies were hitting shots. Memphis led by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter. Grizzlies led by eight points multiple times. Each and every time Oklahoma City made a run, the Grizzlies would find a way to keep their distance.

Oklahoma City trailed 87-78 with 3:15 to go in the game and then the Thunder tried to get back in it. Russell Westbrook scored the Thunder’s final six points of the ball game. However, would not be enough for them tonight. With :17.2 left in the game, OJ Mayo hit a three-point dagger as the shot clock wound down, giving the Grizzlies a four point advantage.

Post Game Grades

Keep up the pace: F
Memphis did exactly what they wanted. They forced Oklahoma City into a half court offense. Oklahoma City couldn’t do anything they wanted. The Pace was really slowed.  In fact, Oklahoma City had just two fast break points and they didn’t even come until late in the ball game when Memphis already had a decent lead.

Offensive Rebounds: D
Oklahoma City allowed Memphis to stay in the game with the offensive rebounding in the first half. The Grizzlies had 14 offensive rebounds. They had 10 at halftime, so that’s why I didn’t give them an F. They limited the Grizzlies with just four in the second half. However, the Grizzlies used 16 second chance points in the first half to keep themselves in what should have been a double-digit lead at the break.

Three-Point Shooting: D
OKC was just bad tonight from three-point land. You can give Memphis a lot of credit for that tonight. OKC was 5-21 from deep for just 24%. Enough said on that.

Thunder Thoughts

  • Russell Westbrook shot poorly tonight. Didn’t play well overall. I think the Grizzlies really just give him fits. I personally think he does much better with Mike Conely on the floor. Westbrook was 5-16 from the floor for 19 points. He was great at getting to the line and getting points when it matter for Oklahoma City.
  • Cannot say enough on how much Kevin Durant saved this team. When the Thunder needed a basket, he was your man. There wasn’t a lot of help for three quarters though. That said, Durant didn’t shoot exceptional either. He shot 40% tonight.  He was clutch in the third quarter though.
  • Tonight’s offense looked tired. I’m not the only one that saw it. Yeah, they had flashes in the fourth quarter, because that’s what elite teams do. However, just wasn’t enough tonight.
  • TWO fast break points all night. Memphis got back on defense while crashing the boards was just very impressive.
  • The ugly turnover bug reared its head tonight. 18 for Oklahoma City. Those 18 accounted for 23 for Memphis.
  • These are short and sweet tonight. Oklahoma City has to get ready for Miami tomorrow.

Next up: at Miami on Wednesday.

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Game Day #53: Grizzlies at Thunder

Memphis Grizzlies (28-22, 11-15 road) at Oklahoma City Thunder (40-12, 23-4 home)

 vs 

Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 7 p.m.
TV: FSOK (DirectTV 679, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 754)
Online Stream: Here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Grizzlies
PG Russell Westbrook Mike Conely
SG Thabo Sefolosha Tony Allen
SF Kevin Durant Rudy Gay
PF Serge Ibaka Marreese Speights
C Kendrick Perkins Marc Gasol
6th Man James Harden Zach Randolph

Last time:  The Thunder sent Memphis home with a 101-94 win at the ‘Peake.

This is the final match up for the Grizzlies-Thunder this season, pending they don’t meet again in the playoffs. However, all the games have been relatively close.  Expect this to be the same if history dictates anything.

The Grizzlies though, coming off a 99-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, are sitting at 28-22 on the season. They’re just 5-7 in their last 12 games.  They had some good wins, winning at the Lakers, and some bad losses, lost at home to the Raptors. They’re really a team that’s hard to predict right now.

Zach Randolph is slowly recovering from his knee injury. The Grizzlies forward had 25 points in his return from a torn right MCL on March 16 but he’s averaged 11.1 over the last eight games — 9.0 fewer than last season’s average — while mainly coming off the bench.

Look for Mike Conely to start for the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies point guard has been out, but sources said they were saving him for this game.

The Thunder however, are one of the league’s hottest teams. They’ve won six in a row. They have wins over Miami, Chicago, Clippers and the Lakers. They’ve ran the proverbial gauntlet you could say.

Russell Westbrook has been insane over these last six games as well. He’s averaging over 28 points per game, while averaging less than 2.5 turnovers per game.

Then you have Kevin Durant. The league’s front-runner for MVP. This guy has just been lights out. It’s his to lose. Even Derrick Rose says he’s the MVP in his book.

Daequan Cook is still out for the Thunder.

Keys to the game

Keep up the pace
Memphis will try to slow Oklahoma City down. They’ve been really effective in the past to get Oklahoma City to play a half court game. Oklahoma City needs to get out and run, and keep this game in a frantic pace so they can keep the Grizzlies on their heels.

Offensive Rebound
The Grizzlies have been successful in the past at grabbing offensive boards against the Thunder. Oklahoma City must limit the opportunities now that the Grizzlies have Randolph back.

Three-Point Shooting
Harden was limited a bit against the Bulls.  However, Oklahoma City shot well against the Bulls from deep. Memphis has done well in the past at defending the three against OKC. However, Grizzlies rank 21st against the three this season.

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The Crushing of the Bulls

In a possible NBA Finals preview, the Oklahoma City Thunder led wire-to-wire against the team with the best record in the NBA, Chicago Bulls 92-78. The Thunder led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who combined for 53 points in a game where Oklahoma City led by as much as 30 in the fourth quater. Oklahoma City improves to 40-12 on the season and 23-4 at home. The Bulls dropped to 42-12 and 21-7 on the road.

The Thunder came out on a hot start with Durant and Westbrook scoring the first 12 points against the Bulls. Chicago made a little run cutting it to 10-8 with 7:41 left in the first quarter. That was the closest they would ever be again in this game. Oklahoma City would go on a 8-2 run over the next 2:30, making it 18-10. Harden would hit a big three at the end of the first quarter, pushing it to 27-20.

Oklahoma City and Chicago played a very low, slow second quarter. A lot attributed to the defenses. OKC outscored the Bulls 22-19 and they extended the lead to ten points at 49-39 at halftime.

The Third quarter, the Thunder blew the doors off the Chesapeake Energy Arena in the third quarter. Just 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, the Bulls had to call a time out. Oklahoma City had started out the second half on a 8-2 run. It got worse for the Bulls. Oklahoma City with 5:52 to go in the quarter had outscored the bulls 20-5. The Thunder held the Bulls to just 12 points in the quarter.

With 8:34 to go in the ball game, James Harden made a driving layup, pushing the score to 86-56. It was the first time the game’s lead had reached 30 points.

Post Game Grades

Offensive Rebounding: A
This didn’t matter all. Bulls grabbed 18 boards while Oklahoma City didn’t even grab 5. Bulls grabbed 17 extra chance points off the rebounds.  However, 12 of the offensive rebounds were in the fourth quarter during mop up time. Honestly, this game would have ended with a bigger difference.

Shooting Efficiency: A+
The Thunder shot great from the floor all around. Over 40% from three-point range. 49% from the floor. They did this while holding the Bulls to shooting 33% from the floor and from three-point range.

Russell Westbrook: A+
Westbrook’s stat line: 5 assists, 27 points, 0 turnovers, 4 steals. Just blown away by how well this guy has been playing.  He started the game off by hitting the first shot.

Thunder Thoughts

  • I don’t think the Bulls stood a chance, even before the game. The electricity in the building. The way the players were during warm-ups. It was just something that was in the air this afternoon. It was proven true by a massacre at the ‘Peake
  • MVP front runner, Durant, just was something else. That dunk in the third quarter just really brought the house down. Not a person was sitting around.Might as well say they were jumping around.
  • Durant was just fantastic tonight. He was 11-16 for 26 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and a game high of +33. Hands down the MVP winner in my book.
  • Since acquiring Derek Fisher, Westbrook is averaging Over this six game winning streak, he’s averaged 28.7 points on 50.3 percent shooting. I’m not saying it’s a reason, but after six straight games… You have to start thinking it has to do something with it.
  • Harden struggled at times during this game. I don’t think it was really him as more it was the defense of the Bulls. Bulls did a great job really messing up the screen and roll, and trapping Harden. Doesn’t happen very often. If they were to meet in the NBA Finals, would be very curious on how Brooks would counter the way Chicago was covering Harden.
  • That third quarter was something else. OKC shot 57% in that quarter, including hitting their first five shots of the half.  Holding the Bulls to 12 points was the lowest since February 2010 against Dallas, when OKC held them to just 11 points.
  • The defense was just great. Holding the bulls to just 33% shooting from the floor. Scariest part is that the Bulls were shooting 38% at halftime. The defense turned it up, and really blocked out. They had limited the Bulls to just 6 offensive rebounds through three quarters.  It was the worst shooting performance by Chicago this season.
  • Oklahoma City has the best transition in the NBA. A lot of people said Miami, or the Clippers… or… Yeah.. it’s Oklahoma City. It’s so beautiful when Oklahoma City gets in transition. There are so many weapons.
  • I love the fact that no starters (for either team) played in the fourth quarter. While the Bulls used their scrubs to make a run, the Thunder starters did not play more than 32 minutes
  • Is Derrick Rose really 28 point difference? If he’s not, but is he really a 14 points difference? I don’t think so. Not against the Thunder. Maybe against a lot of teams.
  • Is Oklahoma City really on a 6 game winning streak by an average of 14 points during one of the toughest stretches of the season? Speechless.
  • With the win, Oklahoma City has clinched a playoff berth. They’re just 2 wins away from winning their second straight division title.

Next up: vs. Memphis tomorrow night.

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