Tag - MVP

Not time to panic… yet

Alarms are going off, but not time to panic yet

While most of the time we don’t write these sunshine pumping pieces saying HOLD ON. YOU CAN DO IT. I do want to point out that it may not be time to panic… yet.

When I say yet, I mean, despite being approximately 30 percent through the season, the Thunder are only 3½ games out of fourth place in the Western Conference. That’s really a short win streak and the Thunder are back in it.

A couple of things I look at when I’m sitting here trying to think of why I should tell you not to panic and the first thing I immediately think of is injury. Sure, they’re inevitable. Unless you’re super lucky (see Thunder’s run to the finals), you’re going to have players get hurt. However, with the what happened this week, two of the three losses this week were with starters out. The Thunder definitely missed George in the loss to the Nets. Against Charlotte, the best perimeter defender on the team was hurt and it led to the Hornets making 52 percent of their threes.


If the Thunder are fully healthy, those games probably flip the script and Oklahoma City is sitting above .500 and fifth in the West. That’s how close things are right now in the Western Conference.

The offense sucks but you still have Russell Westbrook. He’s starting to revert to “Let Westbrook be Westbrook” form. However, he’s still not up to his old speed. He’s career low numbers and those are turning around. While they’re not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, the reigning MVP winner will figure this out and throw out a couple straight weeks of spectacular play that will remind everyone of why he’s that good and why he won the award last season.

At this point, some of the issues have to be mental. We’re seeing frustrations come out through Carmelo Anthony leaving before press availability last night. We’re seeing Westbrook revert back to short, curt answers. At least this is showing they care in some ways. While Paul George says this isn’t the team they should be because of all the talent, the Thunder know if they don’t fix things, the season will go down the toilet.

However, this team really just needs a confidence booster. A big win over someone once again. If the Thunder can head into Monday’s game with the Denver Nuggets on a three-game win streak, all of these issues will seem as if it was a distant nightmare.

If they go into Denver 1-2 or heaven forbid, a three-game losing streak, it’ll be time to press that panic button and figure out some drastic moves.

There are 11 games remaining until 2018. The most important 11 games in recent history. Oklahoma City has to find some momentum, going 8-3, 7-4 or a preferable 9-2 over that stretch. Of those 11 games, seven are at the Peake. Three against divisional foes and one against the Rockets. The rest should find Oklahoma City to be heavily favored in. There are some –should be– gimme wins from Atlanta and Denver in Oklahoma City.

11 games. Find away. Fix this season. Save someone’s job.

Is it time to panic?

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Where has the free throw shooting gone?

Oklahoma City is shooting 71.2 percent on the season from the charity stripe

In year’s past, the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the league’s best free throw shooting teams. Over the last two seasons, that’s really changed. It’s gotten so bad, the Thunder rank 29th in the NBA in free throw shooting.

What has caused the Thunder’s dramatic decrease in free throw shooting? Only two seasons ago, the Thunder were 10th in the league. It was a given they would get to the line and more than not, they would make those attempts. It’s a drastic change as the Thunder are in the middle of the conference in attempts, too.

First and foremost, we must address who’s left. Two seasons ago, the Thunder ran out Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. Durant shot 89.8 percent in his final season with Oklahoma City; Serge Ibaka made 75 percent of attempts. Those two made up more than a third of Oklahoma City’s attempts at the time. Last season, the Thunder had Victor Oladipo. His 75.3 percent is lost, too. He’s now shooting a crisp 76.6 percent in Indiana.

It doesn’t help Russell Westbrook is shooting a poor percentage, only 71.4 percent, a career low. Before this season, the worst Westbrook shot was only 78 percent. While the MVP winner is improving, he’s shooting 78 percent over his last 13 games. It wasn’t always that way, shooting only 57.6 percent through the first half of the season.

“I used to shoot and walk back behind the 3, and I’m not allowed to do that because of this new rule,” Westbrook said earlier in the season. “I’ve been doing that since high school. Just gotta figure it out, figure out a different routine where I can take some time, take a deep breath, and figure it out.”



It’s not only on Westbrook. Raymond Felton, a career 78 percent free throw shooter is shooting below 69 percent. Carmelo Anthony, an 82 percent shooter is around 78 percent as well. Even Paul George, a career 85 percent free throw shooter is making 81 percent. Everyone is down across the board. The lone exception is Steven Adams. The Kiwi is making a career high 64.4 percent of his attempts.

The percentages are down and it’s costing Oklahoma City. The Thunder are making 71 percent of their attempts and that’s costing them in games. Two things are happening in wins: 1) They’re getting to the line significantly more, almost seven more times a contest. This is because Oklahoma City is typically more aggressive in wins and settling for less jump shots. 2) Oklahoma City is making more. They’re shooting 73 percent in victories compared to 68.8 percent in losses. In fact, Oklahoma City is making more free throws in wins than they attempt in losses.

LocationFTMFTAFT%PTS+/- 
Home17.824.373.5%104.87.8
Road14.521.268.7%99.0-1.8
Wins / Losses
Game ResultFTMFTAFT%PTS+/-
Wins19.426.673.0%105.413.0
Losses13.119.068.8%98.4-6.6
Month
MonthFTMFTAFT%PTS+/-
October15.120.474.1%106.610.9
November16.823.172.7%100.0-1.2
December15.824.664.2%99.61.8

If the Thunder are going to right the ship, they’ll need to make free throws.  They’ll have to improve. It’s weird though, in the 10 games where the Thunder have shot 75 percent or better, the Thunder are only 4-6. It doesn’t help they’re only 2-7 when they make 67 percent or less of their free throws.

It starts with Westbrook and continues with the rest of the team. However, if they continue to do what they did last night, missing key free throws in the final 10 seconds of the game, they don’t deserve to win. They were bailed out on the Grizzlies being even worse last night.

To Thunder up is to make free throws. To miss those free throws could be to miss the playoffs.

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Thunder blow out Warriors 108-91

Seven months ago, the Golden State Warriors heard Russell Westbrook say “I’m coming! I’m coming!” It might have not been that night. On Wednesday night, Westbrook brought some new friends and brought it. No longer saying “I’m coming!” He was here. Westbrook powered Oklahoma City to a 108-91 blow out of the Golden State Warriors.

“The effort, the intensity, our disposition in the second half was really good,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.

Oklahoma City beat the Warriors for the first time since Jan. 2015. They had lost seven in a row before winning tonight.

The Thunder finally did what we’ve wanted them to as they played essentially a 48-minute game. It was intense and it was a playoff level game for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City jumped on the Warriors and never let up. They led by 11 in the opening quarter, pushed it to 17 by halftime. It’s exactly what Oklahoma City needed to help exercise their demons.

“The possibilities were shown tonight,” Donovan said.

With the return of Kevin Durant, the atmosphere continued to be raucous but it wasn’t vile. The boos rained down on the former Thunder favorite. However, there were no cupcake costumes. The Thunder used their talent to punish Durant over and over.

“It seemed pretty civil compared to last year,” Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.

Durant and Westbrook went head-to-head with Durant calling names. After that, the game took another turn. Oklahoma City turned their 17-point lead into a 26-point lead, with 54 seconds left in the third. The Thunder led 94-68.

“I play the same way every night, whether it’s against Kevin or, whoever we play Friday, Detroit and Reggie Jackson,” Westbrook said.

It’s symbolic. Going back to that Feb. 11 blowout loss to the Warriors. Despite how intense and entertaining the game was, the Warriors led by 26 at their precipice in that game. Less than a year later, the Thunder were on the other end of that footing. Up 26, crowd was flowing and the Thunder’s defense was at a Championship level.

“We had our best game tonight,” Raymond Felton said. “We made up our mind we’re not losing anymore.”

Westbrook finished with 34 points on shooting. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, dishing out nine assists and finishing with four steals. He was everything we loved in him and more. He was mouthy, flashy and down right nasty. His euro-step in the third quarter was so nice, he did it twice.

“His entire leadership tonight was great,” Donovan said.  “Not only on the floor, he had a huge impact on our team as he was really driven throughout the entire game.”

The Thunder pushed their first double-digit lead out in the first quarter when Oklahoma City led 31-20. They’d have a 17-point lead at the break when Westbrook stole a pass, went in for the lay up and put it off the glass. Oklahoma City led 65-48 at the break.

“We sustained a high level of concentration tonight,” Donovan said.

Paul George hit his shoulder shimmy, finding a big three to push the Thunder lead multiple times. George and Carmelo Anthony combined with Westbrook to literally outscore the Warriors “Big Four” on their own74-58. Anthony had 16 in the first half alone. George finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Anthony had 22 points, including three three-pointers.

“The stories about the game we lost. They kicked our ass,” Durant said.

It’s the game you’d like to see from Westbrook. He summoned his Why Not? attitude and that was apparent from the opening tip. He went right Steph Curry and anyone else who decided they could guard Westbrook, or at least try. He hit his free throws and dished assists to his opponents. He stole the ball and it was the MVP in his own form, coming up the best when it mattered most.

 

For the Thunder, they’ll have to use short term memories. This win is great. Take the things in which led to the victory and turn them onto the Detroit Pistons. They’ll roll into the Peake at 7 p.m. on Friday night. It will be the second time Reggie Jackson has returned to Oklahoma City to play since his trade two seasons ago.

“Hopefully this starts a run for us,” Felton said. “We cannot go backwards.”

Keys to the Game

Rebound: A+

Oklahoma City dominated the rebounding all night long. In the first two minutes of the game, the Warriors scored a couple of buckets on second chance points. However, Jerami Grant checked in and shut that down. From there on out, Oklahoma City limited the Warriors to five offensive rebounds the final 46 minutes. Oklahoma City out rebounded the Warriors 50-39.

Share the ball: B

Russell Westbrook had nine assists and the rest of the Thunder only had seven assists. You’d like to see more assists from the Thunder, however, you give them “B” because of all of the breakout scores on steals. There were a lot of opportunities that didn’t call for assists.

Get to the line: A

Oklahoma City did just that tonight, took 26 attempts. They were in control all night. They were aggressive and that led to excess free throw attempts. If the Thunder can get to 26 or so attempts per game, the Thunder are going to go on some kind of run coming up. You have to have those easy points and the good guys did tonight.

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OKC drops another lead, game to NOLA 114-107

It was another day at the office for the Oklahoma City Thunder (7-9). Sadly that is not an endorsement for great play recently.

After an early 19-point lead, Oklahoma City fell back down to earth as the New Orleans Pelicans (9-8) fought back and eventually overcame the struggling Thunder 114-107. Oklahoma City surrendered 58 points in the paint. All this with Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins ejected from the game at the five-minute mark in the third quarter for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head.

So much of it started with the ejection of DeMarcus Cousins. With five minutes left in the third quarter, Cousins raised his elbows near Westbrook’s face after grabbing a rebound, and the Thunder guard dropped to the floor holding his head. Officials reviewed the film and decided a flagrant-2 was the right call.

At the time, the Thunder held a comfortable 76-72 lead. However, once Cousins went to the locker room, the Pelicans went to work. New Orleans turned on a 12-5 run to take a 83-81 lead with 2:12 left in the quarter.

The Pelicans were in complete control after that.

“It’s the same story line,” Carmelo Anthony said. “We go up 20 and teams work it down. We can’t allow that.”

One again, the Thunder start strong and struggle after they balloon their lead to double-digits. The Thunder began the night 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and shot 7-of-30 the rest of the contest.

“It’s different things,” Billy Donovan said. “The constant is the lead’s evaporating, but its not the same thing. Tonight there were too many fouls, sometimes it’s shot selection or turnovers.”

New Orleans attempted 36 free throws to Oklahoma City’s 26.

Westbrook had his fifth triple-double of the season with 22 points, 12 assists and 16 rebounds. His 31 percent from the floor was a glaring flaw on an otherwise solid outing for the reigning MVP. Paul George continued his stellar defensive play with five steals, four in the first half, and added 20 points.

Carmelo Anthony struggled throughout most of the middle of the game but finished with 19 points on 19 shots.

For Oklahoma City, the “it is still to early to panic” time frame is running out. With this loss, the Thunder are 16 games into an 82 game season, 20 percent of the way done. If Oklahoma City is going to seriously contend for a playoff run, the wins need to start happening in bunches sooner rather than later.

On the flip side of it all, Anthony Davis ate the Thunder after the ejection. Davis went 8-of-8 at the line, scoring 16 points over the last 17 minutes. For the game, Davis finished with 36 points and 15 rebounds.

“There’s a few [coincidences in losses],” Westbrook said.  “Teams get confidence. On the road you can’t do that.”

Andre Roberson was negative-10 on the court in only four minutes. Westbrook went 1-of-8 during that stretch. The Big Three were more like the little three trouble. Oklahoma City’s trio went 4-of-16 from the floor, turning it over six times, including 4-of-12 from three.

All was not terrible for the Thunder. Jerami Grant continues his improved play off the bench, scoring 10 points  on 4-of-7 shooting. Steven Adams was a factor early on and in the fourth with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Despite some nice numbers sprinkled amongst the box score, the Thunder continue to play amazing basketball in spurts with disorganized stretches haunting the team the rest of the game. It has now become a trend, a trend the Thunder want nothing to do with.

Oklahoma City saw their lead in the first quarter balloon to 25-6 when Alex Abrines nailed a three-pointer. New Orleans responded with a 28-9 run of their own to take their first lead at 38-37 with 8:39 remaining until halftime.

The Thunder led 65-57 at halftime.

Oklahoma City will have to regroup quickly. The Golden State Warriors make their way to the Chesapeake Arena Wednesday and the Thunder will have to fix a lot of problems if they are going to compete with the world champs.

Oklahoma City now is 0-8 in games decided by seven points or less. It’s the sixth time out of nine losses the Thunder have blown a double-digit lead in a loss.

“You can talk,” Westbrook said. “Talking don’t do anything at this point. You got to go out and play. You can talk as much as you want to, but guys got to take personal pride and understand how important it is to go out and compete and not take it for granted.”

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Thunder beat hapless Bulls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys to the Game

Score: B

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

Share the ball: D

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

Get to the line: A+

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

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Power Rankings Week 4 (Nov. 7-13)

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

Without anymore hesitation, here we go:

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

Biggest rise: Philadelphia — 12 spots

Biggest drop: Oklahoma City — 10 spots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thunder Game Day No. 10: at Sacramento Kings

Oklahoma City Thunder (4-5, 2-3 away) vs. Sacramento Kings (1-8, 0-3 home)

Thursday, Nov. 7 :: 9:00 p.m. CST :: Golden 1 Center (17,608)

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
TV: NBATV
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 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 203.
Notes: Thunder: here | Kings: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder look to right their wrong as they travel to the California capital against one of the worst teams in the association.
  • For the Kings, it’s a seven-game lose streak, and it hasn’t been that close, either.
  • Sacramento has four straight losses of nine points or more.
  • The Thunder have dropped back-to-back games for the second time this season.

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 the Oklahoma City market.
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for game updates.

SCOUTING THE Kings

  • Last season, the Sacramento Kings finished the regular season 32-50, 12th in the Western Conference.
  • The Kings have not made the playoffs since 2006, second longest streak behind Minnesota.
  • This season, Sacramento is 1-8 on the year, second worst record in the NBA.
  • In their last game, Sacramento lost to Detroit 108-99 on Saturday, Nov. 4.
  • In their series last season, Oklahoma City went 2-1 vs. the Kings.
  • Overall, Oklahoma City is 142-85 against Sacramento.
  • Since moving to Bricktown, the Thunder are 26-7 vs. the Kings.
  • In games played away from Oklahoma City against Sacramento, Oklahoma City is 11-6. That includes going 3-3 over the last three seasons.
  • Not so fun fact: three of the last four King’s victories have been by double digits.
  • Harry Giles (knee) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Sacramento came on Feb. 15, 2011, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 126-96 (30-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. the Kings occurred during an 83-104 loss on Jan. 7, 2015.

Thunder don’t do well against Portland.

  • Despite holding Boston to a season-low 37 points in the first half, the Celtics produced a 64-point second half led by Kyrie Irving’s 22 second half points to secure the win. Oklahoma City has now held their opponents to 42 points or less in the first half of each of the last three games for the first time since Nov. 14-18, 2014.
  • The Thunder defense held Boston to 31.0% shooting in the first half before the Celtics defense held Oklahoma City to 33.3% shooting in the second. Boston and Oklahoma City have the best and second-best defensive ratings in the league of 95.6 and 97.2, respectively.
  • Paul George led the team in scoring as he posted his first double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Carmelo Anthony grabbed a game and season-best 14 rebounds along with 10 points, 3 assists and a block and was ejected.

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.

OK3

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

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,326 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

PG13

  • Paul George is the only player since he was drafted in 2010 with at least 2,800 rebounds, 700 steals and a three-point percentage of 37 percent or better.
  • He is one of just five players with at least 8,000 points in 400 starts or less alongside Damian Lillard, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irvingand Kemba Walker.

Adamsant Scorer

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

Westbrook

  • To cap off his MVP season, Russell Westbrook registered his NBA-record-setting 42nd triple-double of the season last April 9th in Denver (Oscar Roberson tallied 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season). Trailing 103-105 with 2.9 seconds left, Westbrook connected on a game-winning 36-foot 3-point field goal to also become the only player in NBA history to post three 50-point triple-doubles in a single season.
  • He is the only player in NBA history to register seven consecutive triple-doubles on two separate occasions during a single season.
  • Westbrook also posted five straight 30-point triple-doubles this season to become the only player in NBA history to ever accomplish the feat.
  • To put further perspective on Westbrook’s triple-doubles, there are 11 NBA teams that have amassed fewer triple-doubles in their entire team history as compared to the 42 logged by Westbrook

Injury Report

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are relatively healthy at this point.

Still good odds

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

Next Up

  • On Thursday., the Thunder travel to Denver for a game against the Nuggets on Thurs., Nov. 9 to end their three-game road trip.
  • Then, Oklahoma City returns home to play the Clippers on Fri., Nov. 10.

Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

Oklahoma City used to be one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA. They rank only 23rd this season so far. It’s also telling Oklahoma City is 3-0 when they out rebound their opponent 0-5 when they get out rebounded. (1-0 when they tie). Luckily, the Kings are ranked 29th. Sacramento is 1-0 when out rebounding their opponent and 0-8 when they’re out rebounded.  So, leave it to the rebounding Gods to decide who wins this one.

Share the ball

Like rebounding, sharing the ball can be key. Oklahoma City is a cool 4-2 when Russell Westbrook has 10 or more assists. If the MVP gets 10, you might as well chalk up a W tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t try to go right at Damian Lillard and plays within his game.

Get to the foul line

At only 19.0 attempts per game, the Thunder rank 25th in free throw attempts. It doesn’t help Russell Westbrook has struggled from the line in the first two games. Westbrook is 29-50 (58 percent) this season. He was 2-of-7 in the loss to Portland. Westbrook is a career 82.2 percent free throw shooter. The Thunder (and Russ) have to get to the line more.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Game Day No. 9: at Portland Trail Blazers

Oklahoma City Thunder (4-4, 2-2 away) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (5-4, 3-2 home)

Sunday, Nov. 5 :: 8:00 p.m. CST :: Moda Center (19,980)

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 6½-point favorite. The over/under is 206.
Notes: Thunder: here | Blazers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder look to overcome their crunch time woes as they head to Portland to play the Portland Trail Blazers on a Sunday night showdown.
  • The Thunder are 18-18 against Portland since relocation. It’s been such a tight match up.
  • The Trail Blazers beat the Lakers on a last second shot by Damian Lillard in their last match up and are 5-4 on the year.

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

Thunder choke against Celtics

  • Recap
  • Despite holding Boston to a season-low 37 points in the first half, the Celtics produced a 64-point second half led by Kyrie Irving’s 22 second half points to secure the win. Oklahoma City has now held their opponents to 42 points or less in the first half of each of the last three games for the first time since Nov. 14-18, 2014.
  • The Thunder defense held Boston to 31.0% shooting in the first half before the Celtics defense held Oklahoma City to 33.3% shooting in the second. Boston and Oklahoma City have the best and second-best defensive ratings in the league of 95.6 and 97.2, respectively.
  • Paul George led the team in scoring as he posted his first double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Carmelo Anthony grabbed a game and season-best 14 rebounds along with 10 points, 3 assists and a block.

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.

OK3

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

points) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas, LeBron James and Derrick Rose (5,307 combined points).

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,326 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

PG13

  • Paul George is the only player since he was drafted in 2010 with at least 2,800 rebounds, 700 steals and a three-point percentage of 37 percent or better.
  • He is one of just five players with at least 8,000 points in 400 starts or less alongside Damian Lillard, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irvingand Kemba Walker.

Westbrook

  • To cap off his MVP season, Russell Westbrook registered his NBA-record-setting 42nd triple-double of the season last April 9th in Denver (Oscar Roberson tallied 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season). Trailing 103-105 with 2.9 seconds left, Westbrook connected on a game-winning 36-foot 3-point field goal to also become the only player in NBA history to post three 50-point triple-doubles in a single season.
  • He is the only player in NBA history to register seven consecutive triple-doubles on two separate occasions during a single season.
  • Westbrook also posted five straight 30-point triple-doubles this season to become the only player in NBA history to ever accomplish the feat.
  • To put further perspective on Westbrook’s triple-doubles, there are 11 NBA teams that have amassed fewer triple-doubles in their entire team history as compared to the 42 logged by Westbrook

Injury Report

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are relatively healthy at this point.

Still good odds

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

SCOUTING THE Blazers

  • Al-Foarouq Aminu (ankle) is out.
  • Meyers Leonard (ankle) is out.
  • Wade Baldwin (thumb) is out.
  • CJ Wilcox (knee) is out.
  • Last season, the Blazers finished the regular season 41-41, eighth in the Western Conference.
  • This season, Portland is 5-4 on the year, seventh in the West.
  • In their seasonal series, Oklahoma City went 1-3 against Portland.
  • Overall, the Thunder lead the series 116-112.
  • Since relocation happened for Oklahoma City, it’s 18-all between the two.
  • When games are in Portland, the Thunder are 7-11.
  • Oklahoma City has not won in Portland since Feb. 11, 2014, a streak of six straight losses.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Portland came on March 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 103-83 (20-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (35 points) vs. Portland occurred during a 72-107 loss on April 3, 2009.

Next Up

  • On Friday, the Thunder travel to Sacramento for a game against the lowly Kings on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
  • Then, the Thunder travel to Denver for a game against the Nuggets on Thurs., Nov. 9.

Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

Oklahoma City used to be one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA. They rank only 24th this season so far. It’s also telling Oklahoma City is 3-0 when they out rebound their opponent 0-4 when they get out rebounded. (1-0 when they tie). So, leave it to the rebounding Gods to decide who wins this one.

Share the ball

Like rebounding, sharing the ball can be key. Oklahoma City is a cool 4-2 when Russell Westbrook has 10 or more assists. If the MVP gets 10, you might as well chalk up a W tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t try to go right at Damian Lillard and plays within his game.

Get to the foul line

At only 19.5 attempts per game, the Thunder rank 24th in free throw attempts. It doesn’t help Russell Westbrook has struggled from the line in the first two games. Westbrook is 26-of-42 (61.9 percent) this season. He was 2-of-3 in the win over Milwaukee. Westbrook is a career 82.2 percent free throw shooter. The Thunder (and Russ) have to get to the line more.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

Thunder Game Day No. 8: vs. Boston Celtics

Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3, 2-1 home) vs. Boston Celtics (6-2, 3-1 away)

Friday, Nov. 3 :: 8:30 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
TV: ESPN (DirectTV 206, Cox 29, HD 1300, Tulsa Cox HD 1025, U-Verse 751/1751 HD
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 6½-point favorite. The over/under is 206.
Notes: Thunder: here | Celtics: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Two of the best defenses in the NBA meet in Bricktown for a big showdown tonight on ESPN!
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder have started to find their groove and have won their last two games by an average of 25.5 points per game.
  • The Boston Celtics will not be outdone as they’re the NBA’s hottest team, winners of their last six contests.

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 contest will also be on ESPN for those not in the Thunder’s market.
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for game updates.

Thunder thump Bucks

  • Recap
  • The Bucks drained the first basket, but Oklahoma City then went on a 16-0 run midway through the first quarter to build a 20-8 lead which they would expand throughout the game. This gives them their second straight 19+ point win, which is just the third time in Thunder history the team has recorded two consecutive road wins by 19 points or more.
  • The Thunder outrebounded the Bucks 46-31 and shot 49.4% from the field.
  • Russell Westbrook registered his fourth triple-double of the season with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, making him the only player in NBA history besides Oscar Robertson to log at least four triple-doubles in the first seven games.
  • Paul George posted 20 points, 3 rebounds, a steal and a block while shooting 50.0% (4-8) from beyond the arc.
  • Jerami Grant produced 17 points (5-9 FG, 7-7 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals off the bench.

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.

OK3

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

points) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas, LeBron James and Derrick Rose (5,307 combined points).

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,316 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

PG13

  • Paul George is the only player since he was drafted in 2010 with at least 2,800 rebounds, 700 steals and a three-point percentage of 37 percent or better.
  • He is one of just five players with at least 8,000 points in 400 starts or less alongside Damian Lillard, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irvingand Kemba Walker.

Westbrook

  • To cap off his MVP season, Russell Westbrook registered his NBA-record-setting 42nd triple-double of the season last April 9th in Denver (Oscar Roberson tallied 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season). Trailing 103-105 with 2.9 seconds left, Westbrook connected on a game-winning 36-foot 3-point field goal to also become the only player in NBA history to post three 50-point triple-doubles in a single season.
  • He is the only player in NBA history to register seven consecutive triple-doubles on two separate occasions during a single season.
  • Westbrook also posted five straight 30-point triple-doubles this season to become the only player in NBA history to ever accomplish the feat.
  • To put further perspective on Westbrook’s triple-doubles, there are 11 NBA teams that have amassed fewer triple-doubles in their entire team history as compared to the 42 logged by Westbrook

Injury Report

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are relatively healthy at this point.

Still good odds

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

SCOUTING THE Celtics

  • The Boston Celtics are currently 6-2 on the season, best in the Eastern Conference.
  • Last season, Boston finished 53-29, best in the Eastern conference.
  • Last season, the Thunder swept the Celtics.
  • Oklahoma City has currently won eight of their last night against Boston.
  • The Thunder are 5-4 all-time at the Peake vs. Boston.
  • Oklahoma city has won five of their last six at home vs. Boston.
  • All-time against Boston, the Thunder are 62-69.
  • Since relocating to Bricktown, the Thunder are 12-6
  • Gordon Hayward (ankle) is out for the season.
  • Leading Scorer: Kyrie Irving 21.8 PPG
  • Leading Rebounder: Al Horford 9.1 RPG
  • Leading Assists: Kyring Irving 5.6 APG
  • Leading Steals: Kyrie Irving 2.6 SPG
  • Leading Blocks: Jayson Tatum 1.0 BPG
  •  The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Boston came on Jan. 5, 2014, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 119-96 (23-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (19 points) vs. Boston occurred during an 84-103 loss on March 29, 2009.

Next Up

  • On Friday, the Thunder travel to Portland to play the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, Nov. 5.
  • Then, the Thunder travel to Sacramento for a game against the lowly Kings on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

Oklahoma City used to be one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA. They rank only 24th this season so far. It’s also telling Oklahoma City is 3-0 when they out rebound their opponent 0-3 when they get out rebounded. (1-0 when they tie). So, leave it to the rebounding Gods to decide who wins this one.

Share the ball

Like rebounding, sharing the ball can be key. Oklahoma City is a cool 4-1 when Russell Westbrook has 10 or more assists. If the MVP gets 10, you might as well chalk up a W tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t try to go right at Kyrie Irving and plays within his game.

Get to the foul line

At only 20.3 attempts per game, the Thunder rank 23rd in free throw attempts. It doesn’t help Russell Westbrook has struggled from the line in the first two games. Westbrook is 26-of-42 (61.9 percent) this season. He was 2-of-3 in the win over Milwaukee. Westbrook is a career 82.2 percent free throw shooter. The Thunder (and Russ) have to get to the line more.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!

NBA gives Westbrook an assist and a triple-double

On Thursday morning, the NBA gave Russell Westbrook an assist, figuratively and literally, to give him his fourth triple-double of the season.

On Tuesday, Oct. 31, the scorekeeper in the game at Milwaukee missed an obvious lob to Steven Adams and didn’t credit Westbrook with the assist. The NBA made it right on Thursday. Westbrook finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Here’s said video of the missed assist:

It’s Westbrook’s 81st career triple-double and 46th triple-double in his last 89 games. If you eliminate every triple-double for Westbrook before last season, he would still be ranked eighth all-time on these two seasons alone.

The NBA doesn’t only review plays when a milestone like a triple-double is on the table. They often review plays. There was a random play in the playoffs in 2012 where the NBA accredited Westbrook with an assist after dishing off to Thabo Sefolosha. The assist had no barring on whether or not a triple-double happened. The NBA does its best to fix its mistakes.

On the year, Westbrook is averaging 19.6 points, 11.7 assists and 9.9 rebounds per game in seven contests. Across the board, his numbers are at career highs, sans free throws. The reigning MVP might not average 30 points this season but his impact is being felt even more than last season with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

Dean Blevins of KWTV is on the prowl saying the Thunder told him they’re reviewing a rebound. That’s highly unlikely.

Westbrook will be going for his third straight triple-double against Boston on Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The tip-off is at 8:30 p.m., not 7 p.m. It’ll be the late game on ESPN. So, drink some coffee and make sure you can keep awake for this one. It should be exciting.

We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!