Tag - Monday

West playoff race 3.11.18

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs last night to jump to fifth in the Western Conference Playoff race. For the Thunder, they have to keep up their winning ways as they’re sitting on the backside of a lot of head-to-head match ups.

Here’s how the tie-breakers work right now for the Thunder

Portland: The Trail Blazers leads the regular season series 3-0 (one game remaining on March 25).

San Antonio: Oklahoma City leads the regular season series 2-1 (one game remaining on March 29)

Minnesota: The Timberwolves have won the regular season series 3-1.

New Orleans: The Pelicans have won the regular season series 2-0 (one game remaining on April 1).

Denver: The Nuggets lead the regular season series 2-1 (one game remaining on March 30).

L.A.: Oklahoma City leads the regular season series 2-0 (one game remaining on March 16).

Utah: Oklahoma City has won the regular season series 3-1.

Here’s the current standings after Minnesota’s win over Golden State on Sunday afternoon:

#2Golden State5016.7611
#4New Orleans3827.58513
#6Oklahoma City3929.57413.5
#7San Antonio3729.56114.5
#8L.A. Clippers3629.55415

Here’s Oklahoma City’s upcoming weekly schedule

Monday (3/12): vs. Sacramento (21-45)
Tuesday (3/13): vs. Atlanta (20-47)
Friday (3/16: vs. LA Clippers (36-29)

Here’s what’s coming up this week for all the teams that impact the Thunder.

Portland (W9)

Monday (3/12): vs. Miami (36-31)
Thursday (3/15): vs. Cleveland (38-27)
Saturday (3/17) vs. Detroit (30-36)

New Orleans (L1)

Sunday (3/11): vs. Utah (36-30)
Tuesday (3/13): vs. Charlotte (29-38)
Thursday (3/15): at San Antonio (37-29)
Saturday (3/17): vs. Houston (51-14)

Minnesota (W1)

Tuesday (3/13): at Washington (38-29)
Saturday (3/17): at San Antonio (37-29)

San Antonio (L2)

Monday (3/12): at Houston (51-14)
Tuesday (3/13): vs. Orlando (20-47)
Thursday (3/15): vs. New Orleans (38-17)
Saturday (3/17): vs. Minnesota (38-29)

L.A. Clippers (W2)

Tuesday (3/13): at Chicago (22-43)
Thursday (3/15): at Houston (51-14)
Friday (3/16): at Oklahoma City (39-29)

Denver (W1)

Sunday (3/11): vs. Sacramento (21-45)
Tuesday (3/13): at Lakers (29-36)
Thursday (3/15) vs. Detroit (30-36)
Saturday (3/17): at Memphis (18-48)

Utah (W5)

Sunday (3/11): at New Orleans (38-27)
Tuesday (3/13) vs. Detroit (30-36)
Thursday (3/15): Phoenix (19-49
Saturday (3/17): vs. Sacramento (21-45)

Magic Numbers:

Western Conference Playoff Standings
Record Conference Playoff Spots No
Team W L 1* 2* 3* 4* 5 6 7 8 9
Rockets 51 14 15 6 4 3 3 2 1 0 ^
Warriors 51 16 DNCD 6 5 3 2 2 1 1 0
Trail Blazers 40 26 DNCD DNCD 14 14 13 12 12 11 0
Thunder 39 29 DNCD DNCD DNCD DNCD DNCD 14 13 12 0
Pelicans 38 27 DNCD DNCD 17 16 15 14 13 13 0
Timberwolves 39 29 DNCD DNCD DNCD DNCD 14 13 11 12 0
Spurs 37 29 DNCD DNCD DNCD DNCD 16 16 15 14 0
Clippers 36 29 DNCD DNCD DNCD 17 17 17 16 15 0
Nuggets 36 30 DNCD DNCD DNCD DNCD DNCD 16 16 15 0
Kings 21 45 X X X X X X X X 0
Mavericks 21 45 X X X X X X X X 0
Suns 19 49 X X X X X X X X 0
Grizzlies 18 48 X X X X X X X X 0
  • Notes
  • ^ means the team will finish better than this playoff spot
  • X means the team cannot win this playoff spot
  • numeric indicates the number of consecutive upcoming games that must be won to guarantee winning this spot
  • “DNCD” indicates the team Does Not Control its Destiny for this playoff spot and thus, even after winning all remaining games, needs help from other teams to win
  • * denotes first round home field advantage in the playoffs
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Thunder Game Day No. 67: vs. Phoenix Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder (37-29, 21-11 home)


Phoenix Suns (19-47, 10-23 away)

Thursday, March 8 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 10-point favorite. The over/under is 229½.
Online Stream: FS OK | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Suns: here


  • Facing a two-game losing streak, the Oklahoma City Thunder face a must win a game as they host the Phoenix Suns tonight.
  • Oklahoma City comes into tonight’s game 1-1 against the Suns this season, splitting the series in Phoenix.
  • The Thunder are trying to keep pace with the rest of the West. Oklahoma City loses and they’ll only be one game out of missing the playoffs.
  • This stretch starts three of four games against teams that are below .500 for the Thunder.


  • 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 Phoenix Suns are 19-47 on the season, 14th in the Western Conference.
  • While Phoenix is 1-9 in their last 10 games, they just ended a 10-game losing streak.
  • Phoenix lost to the Miami Heat 125-103 on Monday night.
  • The Suns are 5-23 since Jan. 1.
  • Oklahoma City is trailing the series with the Suns 127-107 all-time.
  • The Thunder are 22-12 against the Suns since relocation.
  • Oklahoma City has won 12 straight home games, dating back to Dec. 2010.
  • The Thunder are a lifetime 13-4 at home against Phoenix.
  • The Suns won the first meeting of the season on Jan. 7 in Phoenix. The Suns beat the Thunder 114-100.
  • The Thunder responded with a 124-116 win last week.
    Brandon Knight (knee) is out.
    Alan Williams (knee)
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Phoenix came on Feb. 8, 213, 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. the Suns occurred during a 140-118 loss on Feb. 20, 2009.


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


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


  • General manager Jerry Colangelo, only 28 at the time, settled on a name for his expansion franchise using a name-the-team contest in 1968.
  • Colangelo chose Suns over Scorpions, Rattlers, and Thunderbirds, among the other suggestions included in the 28,000 entries.
  • One lucky fan won $1,000 and season tickets as part of the contest, which included such obscure entries as White Wing Doves, Sun Lovers, Poobahs, Dudes, and Cactus Giants.

Three Keys to the Game

The Suns, for all of their failures this season, when they make some threes, they can be tough to beat. They’re 11-11 when the Suns make more threes than their opponent. The Thunder are 16-7 when they out-shoot an opponent from three. The Thunder will have to keep the Suns at bay. In their first game, the Suns made double what the Thunder made.


Rebounding is so imperative to the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 26-10 this season when they out rebound their opponents. Oklahoma City though, a poor 10-19 when they don’t. It’s like the three-point shooting. Oklahoma City was out rebounded by the Suns, and that contributed to the loss. They have to do a better job tonight.


Oklahoma City needs to figure out their turnover situation. They’re averaging 16.0 turnovers per game since the All-Star Break (27th). The Suns are getting out into transition more than ever since the break, scoring 22 points per game on the break. Oklahoma City cuts down the turnovers and the Suns cannot get out on the break, they’ll win.

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Five Thoughts 2-26-18 (Thunder 112, Magic 105)

Five Thoughts 2-26-18 (Thunder 112, Magic 105)

1. For the last several years I’ve often chronicled taking my kids to the games. I’m at a point where my two oldest (boy 6 and girl 9) are pretty easy to manage start to finish for the entire evening. Not only are they Thunder veterans now, but they are old enough and (just) mature enough to make it to the end without issue. My youngest is TOO young (not quite 2) to even try it so I’m in a gap of sorts. One thing I’ve never done though is take both of my kids to the game at once without my wife present as well. Until tonight. But why stop there? We were actually all there for a very special guest of honor— my 6 year old niece. For her birthday we gave her a night out to the game. It’s not a coincidence I chose a Monday night against Orlando; things were a little more chill and exchanging my two tickets for four elsewhere wasn’t a big deal. So I loaded the three of them up and off we went.

2. They talk. They talk a lot. I mean, a lot. I made a special playlist for my niece for the car ride and they somehow managed to dance, sing, bop around in their seats, AND talk the entire time. The playlist was full of their favorites; lots of pop hits from the likes of Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, etc. They know most of the lyrics. I know them all. The chatter didn’t stay in the car. They brought it along with them to Texadelphia for the pregame meal. My niece is a doll. Blonde, sweet, a little sassy, good sense of humor. She and my son are both 6. Both in kindergarten. They get along well and always have. Yet, they do antagonize each other fairly regularly. Sometimes my 9 year old is a good moderator. Other times she is an instigator. My son is almost always a contrarian in these situations. Tonight, he decided he wasn’t going to root for the Thunder. The girls were all in; all Thunder’ed Up. He has been all in this year as well, except tonight he refused to wear any of his Thunder gear and declared he was a Magic fan. He was actively inviting the barbs and jabs from the ladies. They obliged. He also declared he wasn’t hungry and had no interest in eating. He then proceeded to abuse a bowl of queso to an almost criminal level. They all got mini corn dogs. He took his and drenched each one in the cheese-goo. I mean, he made sure every square inch of that breaded dog was covered and then he popped them in his mouth, taking each one down in a single bite. The girls were more demure. And they wore a lot less of the queso than he did.

3. During intros the girls jumped up and down and clapped; my son booed. They then booed him. Overall, they were pretty good in the seats. But oh my God, the fidgeting. Sweet Mary, the fidgeting. The two 6 year olds treated the seats as if they were mini trampolines. And they are all so incredibly oblivious to their surroundings. When someone needs to get by them in the aisle it is as if they are all blind and deaf. Blank stares. C’mon guys, just MOVE! There was one momentary spat of relative silence— ice cream time. For about 7 minutes during halftime they each sat in their seats, fixated on the treats with a minimum of fidgeting and almost no commentary exchanged. If they offered bottomless soft-serve for $50 I might consider that for each of them. When I take just my 9 year old she is pretty tuned in to the game. My son is about 50/50 between watching the game and focusing on whatever else might be distracting him at the moment. Tonight? They might as well could have been on the roof of the arena. I’m not sure they were even totally aware a game was going on at all. There were some semi-good natured taunts between the girls and Captain Queso about his new favorite team, but most of the banter had very little to do with anything basketball related. In other words, it was as if my wife and sister in law were sitting next to me. All in all, no complaints from me. They were all in great moods and I was able to (mostly) watch the game.

4. There are a lot of amazing things about kids. But one of the most amazing might be that they have absolutely no idea how to walk through or navigate crowds. After the game, it was truly like herding cats getting them down the stairs, through the concourse, down the escalator, out the door, across the street, down the sidewalk, and into the car. This actually might be insulting to cats. Perhaps more like herding turtles with vertigo. They are incapable of walking in a straight line. And I’m pretty sure they would have walked directly into a construction pit had I not redirected them. I was quite relieved when we got to the car. I came with three kids. And I left with three kids. I consider that a success. I thought they might pass out on the way home. Oh, I was wrong. More music, more singing, more giggling, and lots more talking. My niece had a slew of post game questions for me. None of them had anything to do with the box score or the standings. She was baffled that they only release the streamers after the Thunder win. In her mind the idea of not dropping the streamers from the rafters for a reason as silly as not winning is a total waste of a good opportunity to drop streamers. Dropped her back at home around 10:10pm and my kids hit the sack around 10:30pm. This is a solid three-ish hours later than normal so I can’t wait to see them do the Zombie-walk in the morning. Hopefully it will be worth it to them. It was certainly worth every minute for me.

5. They don’t know it, but they witnessed a rarity tonight. The Thunder bench was awesome and Russ was the opposite. He seems to be in a post-break funk. Tonight was weird. He’s certainly had his fair share of bad games. Some REALLY bad games at that. But rarely, if ever, does he seem disengaged. He just wasn’t himself tonight at all. He looked lethargic. I was wondering if he might be a little hurt. Maybe it’s a good sign that Russ can be such a non (or even negative) factor and OKC still wins. PG had a solid night and the bench was fantastic. Four Thunder bench players in double figures? Yes, please. Thunder must start beating teams they should beat and they’ve done just that over their three most recent wins. None of those wins has been particularly impressive, but that doesn’t matter much to me at this point. I know what our upside is— I want to see them stop riding the rollercoaster. That said, roller coasters can be fun. And exhausting. And memorable. And worth the wait in line. It’s all about who is riding with you.

Ed Kleese is a long-time Thunder season ticket holder and a smart Thunder fan. You can read all his work on his own personal blog.
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Bench mob shines in OKC’s 112-105 win vs. Magic

The Oklahoma City bench scored 48 points en route to the Oklahoma City Thunder topping the Orlando Magic 112-105 on Monday night.

Oklahoma City is now 35-27 on the season, they’ve won three of their last four.

The bench mob performed amazing in a time where the Big Three were less than stellar. Raymond Felton had 13 points, including 3-of-3 from beyond the three-point line. Alex Abrines scored 12, Patrick Patterson went 2-of-2 from the three line, with 11 points and Jerami Grant’s monster dunks gave him 10 for the game.

With the victory, Oklahoma City avoided getting swept by the Magic for the first time since year one in Oklahoma City.

The win moved the Thunder up to sixth in the Western Conference playoff race for a moment. New Orleans beating Phoenix dropped Oklahoma City back to seventh, as the Pelicans jumped to fifth.

After the Thunder allowed Orlando to drop 38 points in the first quarter, they did a solid job of holding Orlando to 43 in the second half. Oklahoma City defense struggled at times, especially with backdoor cuts and closing out on three-point shooters. Orlando hit 12 three-pointers and was the biggest reason for this close game.

After trailing 62-61 at halftime, the Thunder opened the second half scoring six straight.

Orlando took a 77-75 lead with 2:20 left to go in the third. The Thunder responded with a 9-0 run, taking an 84-77 lead into the fourth and keeping the lead for good.

The Magic climbed to within 86-83 early in the fourth but the Thunder responded with a run of their own, grabbing their largest lead at 103-91 with 5:55 left in the fourth.

Paul George scored 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting tonight. He also grabbed eight rebounds in the victory. For George it was an impressive turn around after his poor 1-of-14 shooting in the blowout loss to the Warriors on Saturday night.

Steven Adams scored 16 points and Russell Westbrook had eight points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Thunder. Westbrook had a couple of opportunities to get a triple-double but either took a bad shot or finally decided to pass to his teammates. He has 97 career triple-doubles.

Oklahoma City will travel down I-35 to play the Dallas Mavericks at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. Oklahoma City has split with the Mavericks so far this season. We’ll have your continual game coverage here and on social media.

Keys to the Game

Hit their shots: A+

Oklahoma City shot 48 percent from the field and nailed 44 percent from beyond the arc. All of that wraps up to be a pretty stellar offensive evening. This type of production comes against teams like the Magic. It would be nice to see the Thunder do this against quality competition.

Big 3: F

Sure, George scored 26 but it was the other two who pulled down this F. Carmelo Anthony looked old. Russell Westbrook looked out of sync and even tired. You can win these type of games against the Magic or even Dallas. However, the other playoff contending teams is where this will hurt you.

Turnovers: F

20 turnovers for the Thunder tonight, leading to only 16 points for the Magic. That could’ve been a lot worse. However, quality defensive possessions and getting back on defense really helped prevent it from being a lot worse.

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Thunder Game Day No. 62: vs. Orlando Magic

Oklahoma City Thunder (34-27, 20-10 home)


Orlando Magic (18-41, 7-24 away)

Monday, Feb. 26 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 10½-point favorite. The over/under is 218½.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Magic: here


  • Things didn’t go as planned on Saturday night, so the Oklahoma City Thunder will look to go rebound against the struggling Orlando Magic tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
  • It’s been awhile since these two have played. Since their demoralizing blowout in Orlando on Nov. 29, the Thunder have gone 26-15, including an 8-game winning streak. The Magic since that night have gone the other way, they’re 9-28.


  • 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 Orlando Magic are 18-41 on the season, 14th in the Eastern Conference.
  • Over their last 10 games, the Magic are a poor 4-6, but they’ve lost five in a row.
  • Orlando hasn’t won a game since Feb. 6, at home against the Hawks 100-98.
  • Oklahoma City is 34-23 all-time against the Orlando Magic.
  • Since relocating to Bricktown, the Thunder are 12-7 against Orlando.
  • When games are played at the ‘Peake, Oklahoma City is 7-2.
  • Orlando won the game at the Peake last season 119-117.
  • In their first meeting of the season, Oklahoma City lost 121-108 on Nov. 29, 2017.
  • The Magic haven’t swept the Thunder since OKC’s first year in town.
    Jonathan Isaac (ankle) is out.
  • Terrance Ross (knee) is out.
  • Marreese Speights (personal) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Orlando came on Nov. 8, 2009, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 102-74 (28-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (23 points) vs. ORL occurred during an 111-88 loss on Feb. 25, 2011.


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


  • Oklahoma City travels to Dallas on Wednesday night for a 7:30 p.m. showdown with the Mavericks.


  • When the Orlando Sentinel sponsored a name-the-team contest for Orlando’s prospective expansion franchise, Challengers—an allusion to the space shuttle that crashed in 1986—was the most popular suggestion.
  • Other entries included Floridians, Juice, Orbits, Astronauts, Aquamen, and Sentinels, but the panel of judges, including Orlando team officials who reviewed the suggestions, decided to go with Magic.
  • The name is an obvious nod to the tourism-rich city’s main attraction, Disney World.

Three Keys to the Game

Hit their shots

The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a poor shooting performance against the Golden State Warriors as they shot 33 percent from the field and 26.5 percent from three-point range. The Thunder need to find their shot and quick because the season has come down to every game matters.

Wanted: Big 3

The Thunder need their superstars to stand up and start playing some good basketball. Paul George shot 1-of-14 from the field against the Warriors and 1-of-6 percent from three-point range. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and George combined for a total of 34 points that simply can’t happen again if they want to make the playoffs.

Keep the ball safe

The Thunder turned the ball over 15 times against the Warriors with Russell Westbrook being the biggest culprit giving the ball up five times. The Thunder need to start looking after the ball better as they have had 10 plus turnovers in the past two games and they haven’t got the luxury of having a defensive tandem of Andre Roberson and George to make up for their mistakes.

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Thunder take Saturday off, fall to Warriors 112-80

I’d like to say it was the best of times and the worst of times but that would be lying to you. Golden State used a 21-1… not a typo… to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-80 on Saturday night.

Oklahoma City fell to 34-27 on the season. It was the Thunder’s first loss to the Warriors this season.

With the loss, the Thunder fall to seventh in the Western Conference playoff race. Oklahoma City is a ½ out of fifth place and 1½ games from falling out of the playoffs.

Oklahoma City start the game 3-of-18 from the floor and never were able to get a rhythm on the offensive side of things.

Paul George hit his only bucket, giving Oklahoma City a 59-56 lead with 7:52 left in the third quarter. The Warriors would go on a 9-0 run to take the lead for good.

The game seemed to teeter after Carmelo Anthony and Draymond Green had a shoving match. No technicals were called but the Thunder’s mental make up had fallen apart. Turnovers after Turnovers and the Warriors blasted threes from all over the Bay Area.

The deficit was already four points but that’s where the wheels fell off. Golden State went on a 21-1 run, blowing up any chance at a Thunder comeback.

Russell Westbrook had 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Oklahoma City, which failed to reach 100 points for the first time in the last five games. The Thunder had scored at least 100 in 14 of their last 16 games.

It wasn’t until a Raymond Felton three fell through the hoop, ending the run but by the end it was too late.

Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 35 in the second half.

Steven Adams finished with 14 points and seven rebounds to lead the Thunder.

The last time the Thunder won three of the four games against the Warriors in a single season was during 2012-13. The teams play again April 3 in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder will now host the Orlando Magic on Monday night in a chance to regroup after this loss. They’ll wrap up the month at Dallas on the 28th.

Keys to the Game

Force Turnovers: F

Oklahoma City forced 25 and 22 turnovers in the first two meetings. Tonight, the Thunder only forced 14 of them. For the first 31 minutes of the game, Oklahoma City forced 10 turnovers. The Thunder only forced 4 for the remainder of the game.

Defend the three: F

The Warriors nailed down 44 percent of their threes. It’s not only the percentages but the quantity. The Warriors hit 17 threes and a lot of them felt like they were in the third quarter. Golden State made 11-of-17 down the stretch. Rough.

OK3: F

Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony combined for 34 points on 24 percent shooting (11-of-46). That’s tied for their fewest combined points and second-worst FG pct in a game that they all played in this season. George was a paltry 1-of-14 from the floor, his worst game with a bucket made in his career.

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Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony go through practice

They’ve missed the last two games, but Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook went through the entire Monday’s practice at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center.

Westbrook (left ankle) and Anthony (right ankle) have missed the last two games, in which the Thunder have gone 1-1 with ankle injuries sustains in the 125-105 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

“I haven’t had any conversations with them about tomorrow yet,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “We’ll have to wait and see how they feel coming out of today.”

In 55 games for the Thunder this season, Westbrook is averaging 25.5 points per game, 10.3 assists and 9.3 rebounds. Westbrook has really been a force to be reckoned with since Dec. 1. Since then, Westbrook is averaging 27.4 points on 46.4 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game.

Since Dec. 1, Anthony is averaging 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as the Thunder are 23-12 over that time frame. For the season, Anthony is averaging 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game on 34.7 percent from three-point range in 54 games. Oklahoma City is 2-1 without Anthony on the floor this season.

Oklahoma City is set to play against LeBron James and the new look Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night on TNT. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and We’ll have all of your game day coverage in and out of the arena.


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Report: Clippers offered Blake Griffin for Paul George

We were all shocked by the wild trade on Monday afternoon, sending Oklahoma Christian School’s Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for a handful of players. What we learned on Wednesday morning is the Clippers originally tried to trade Griffin to Oklahoma City.

It makes sense in the surface. Griffin played high school basketball for OCS in Edmond, winning a couple of state championships. Then, he went south on I-35 to Norman, where he led the Sooners to the Elite 8.

Royce Young of ESPN said on a podcast with Brian Windhorst of ESPN, they essentially reached out to numerous teams. Here’s the transcribed portion of the pod (by RealGM):

“They offered him around to everybody,” said  Young on The Hoop Collective podcast.

“I don’t know if that’s true,” replied Windhorst.

“I mean I know they made calls to Oklahoma City for Paul George,” Young said. “I’m pretty sure they made calls to Minnesota for players, so I mean, like, they tried to get some bigger name players. It just wasn’t happening.”

So essentially, the Clippers approaches teams to see what could stick. It’s apparent the were dead set on getting rid of Griffin, but for the right cost.

Why it made sense

On the surface, this is a win-win. Griffin gets to come come and so does George. Everyone is happy. Plus, Griffin is locked in for the next four seasons. It provides stability to the organization. Especially with how he Thunder are letting it ride with George becoming a free agent this Summer. Not to mention, George’s mentions on how he was a Clipper fan as a kid.

While it’s tough to compare players who play drastically different positions, Griffin provides a post presence the Thunder lack at times. It would also would’ve moved Carmelo Anthony back to his natural three position. While Griffin’s ability archaic in today’s NBA, by no fault of his own can still hit the mid range and has learned how to step out and hit the three.

Why it would’ve been a bad deal

Oklahoma City essentially took two months figuring out how to play together. Now, you’re taking out a key piece and throwing it another. The chemistry issues could’ve been far and wide. The Thunder are like standing on ice right now with the personalities. They’re found out what’s worked and if you even mess with it a bit, the cracks could cause the whole thing to fall through.

It’s easy to forget but Anthony came here, not for only Russell Westbrook, but George, too. Trading a key piece on why Anthony agreed to the trade could’ve forced Anthony into opting out of his deal and the Thunder could be almost back to square one.

Griffin’s injury history is scary. It started by his meniscus injury at Oklahoma and he’s had a bunch of random ones, including punching a team personnel member at a bar in Toronto. So, you’re giving this talented player over $100 million and hoping he’ll remain healthy.

All-in-all, San Presti probably made the right move. George, in my mind, is the right fit for the Thunder, personality wise and system wise.

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Oklahoma City uses fourth quarter comeback, beat Brooklyn 109-108

It was an electric fourth quarter, as the Oklahoma City Thunder stormed back from being down double digits, to win the game versus the Brooklyn Nets 109-108. Thunder were ignited by Raymond Felton, who started the fourth quarter on fire, scoring 10 straight points after Oklahoma City was cold offensively for most of the night. The Thunder have now won five in a row, the NBA’s current longest winning streak. Oklahoma City is now also 27-20 on the year.

It was looking like another game where Oklahoma City was going to lose to another lesser squad, as the Thunder could not get anything to fall offensively. Even though they put up 30 first quarter points, nobody outside of Paul George could find a rhythm.

George single-handedly kept the Thunder alive in the first half, racking up 16 first quarter points, and had a total of 18 at halftime, on 50 percent shooting from the floor.

The Brooklyn Nets were on fire from deep for most of the night, hitting 16 total three-pointers. Joe Harris led the way, as he hit all five of his three-point attempts off the bench.

For Oklahoma City, it was quite the opposite as they could not hit anything from deep, until the fourth quarter. Heading into the final period, the Thunder had hit just two from deep, on 15 attempts. For the most part, they were all good looks that just refused to go in.

That changed in the fourth quarter, as they hit five threes, two of those coming from Felton to begin that final quarter. If not for the hot start by Raymond, Oklahoma City is probably putting another game in the loss column. After Felton got it going, Oklahoma City fed off of that which ignited a huge run.

The Thunder put up 35 points in the final frame, while holding Brooklyn to just 23 points. It was a quarter that made up for a lot of bad play from Oklahoma City in the first three quarters.

Even with the massive fourth quarter from the Thunder, it was still a nail-biter till the very end. For much of the last six minutes, it was back and forth buckets from each team.

After Spencer Dinwiddie hit a layup with just seven second left, it seemed it was going to be another special game for a guy in Dinwiddie who has hit quite a few big shots this year.

But, then Russell Westbrook happened. On the ensuing possession, Westbrook went straight to the rim and immediately regained the lead for Oklahoma City with just three seconds left. It was key defense by Roberson on Dinwiddie that finally sealed the win.

“I really thought this is one of the best wins we have had all year,” Billy Donovan said.

“Our guys just kept fighting and battling all the way through,” Donovan continued, “I thought our guys gave incredible effort.”

As for the big three, Paul George and Russell Westbrook led the way. They both ended up with big scoring nights, combining for 60 points.

George did most of his scoring in the first half, 18 of his 28 points coming in the first 24 minutes. Westbrook was a monster in the second half, including hitting the game-winning layup, but also putting up 20 second half points, ten of those in the fourth quarter.

Carmelo attempted just 12 shots, but had some very key buckets late in the game. Adams also didn’t put up many points but his rebounding was huge. He grabbed 14 total rebounds, nine of those being offensive rebounds.

Even though the Nets aren’t a great team record-wise, this win for Oklahoma City is big, as they have struggled against lesser teams this season. This is another speed bump they have now gotten over, as they continue to get better and better as we are inching closer to the All-Star break.

Oklahoma City now has three games separating them from now to Monday, all coming against Eastern Conference teams who are all playoff contenders. The Thunder could get their winning streak to eight, if they keep playing the way they have been in the past five contests.


Keys to the game: 

Third quarter: C

The Thunder definitely made a run in the third, after being double digits at halftime. They also let the Nets answer that run, and Brooklyn got their lead back to double digits heading into the fourth quarter.

Defend the three: D

Brooklyn loves to shoot the three, and tonight we saw why. They were on fire from deep, and made Oklahoma City pay over and over again. The Nets made 16 total three-pointers, but Oklahoma City did do a better job of defending the perimeter in the final quarter.

Rebound: A

Steven Adams continues to dominate this part of the game, no matter the opponent. Oklahoma City out-rebounded Brooklyn by five, and pulled down 16 total offensive boards compared to just eight for the Nets. Rebounding continues to be a huge factor in Oklahoma City’s wins and their losses, as well.

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Thunder steal one against Kings 95-88

The energy and play in the first half was apathetic at best. The play and the score reflected as so. However, even after falling behind by nine in the second half, the Oklahoma City Thunder fought back for a nice 95-88 win over the lowly Sacramento Kings on a frigid Monday night.

The Thunder improved to 24-20 on the season and have won back-to-back games, securing a strong hold on fifth place in the Western Conference.

The Thunder rallied from a 15-point first half deficit on the backs of the big three in their own ways. Despite Westbrook’s plethora of first half turnovers, if it wasn’t for him, the first half deficit of only six could’ve been 14. In the second half it was Carmelo Anthony and Paul George who finished with 20 and 18 points, respectively, fueling the Thunder’s comeback.

The Thunder trailed the Kings (13-30) at the break 54-48.

Oklahoma City’s defense held the Kings to 30.9 percent in the second half from the floor. It’s in stark contrast as 48 percent allowed in the first half.

Sacramento took a 58-49 lead with less than 40 seconds into the second half. It appeared it was going to be a replay of the first half. A Westbrook driving lay up, followed by three-pointers by Anthony and George tied the game up at 61-all with 7:15 left in the quarter.

Anthony hit a three to give Oklahoma City a 64-61 lead and their first lead in what felt like forever. Steven Adams cutting to the rim to give the Thunder a 68-66 lead with 4:18 remaining. Oklahoma City would never trail again.

A 41-16 run for the Thunder capped off the comeback in the face of the adversity they’ve struggled against all season.

With 2:51 left in the game, Westbrook was popped with two quick technical fouls, ejecting him from the contest. Westbrook was complaining about being hit in the face on a play where he was called for traveling. Official matt Boland T’d him quickly as the Thunder led 91-77.

Shortly after the Westbrook ejection, the NBA’s youngest official, Gediminas Petraitis, popped Billy Donovan with a technical foul. After the dust settled, the Thunder only led 91-83 with 2:51. The Thunder’s defense held the Kings to only one made bucket the final three minutes of the game.

After both the Thunder and Kings couldn’t score in the first 3:16 of the fourth, the Thunder responded to a Willie Cauley-Stein bucket with back-to-back Patrick Patterson three-pointers. Alex Abrines capped off the run with an 86-70 lead with 7:11 left in the game.

Oklahoma City will host the Los Angeles Lakers (15-28) on Wednesday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN, so those outside of the Thunder TV market will get to watch this one. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Keys to the Game

Defend the three: A

Oklahoma City held the Kings to 7-of-29 from the arc, including 3-of-14 in the second half. The Thunder’s ability to defend the perimeter really paid off. It’s a large part in why the Thunder were able to win this one.

Bench: B

Oklahoma City’s bench scored 23 points, including 10 from from Patterson, a season high. The key plays at the beginning of the fourth were instrumental in how Oklahoma City was able to extend the their lead at a crucial juncture in the contest.

Big Three: C

While the Big three combined for 57 of the 95 points, their first half performance earns them a C overall. It was a bad F in the first half. However, Anthony’s ability to contribute and Westbrook persistence really helped this team. They all can play better and must play better.

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