Tag - MVP

Thunder eliminated by Utah 96-91

Russell Westbrook could’ve literally pulled out his own heart and laid it on the court. That would be the only way to describe the reigning MVP’s performance on Friday night.

It wasn’t enough.

Russell Westbrook scored 46 points and it wasn’t enough as the rest of the “Big Three” were left in a layover in Denver. Paul George was fouled on a three by Rudy Gobert with 10.9 seconds remaining but it was deemed a no call. Utah iced teh game, holding on 96-91.

Carmelo Anthony and George combined for 12 points on 5-of-23 and 0-of-6 from three. George was abysmal, 2-of-16 from the field, second worst shooting performance of his playoff career and it happened when Oklahoma City needed him the most. In fact, George had more turnovers (6) than he did points (5).

George was passive, giving up easy shots to teammates with lesser talent. Numerous times in the third and fourth quarter, George deferred to Raymond Felton of all people.

Despite the poor performance, it was Westbrook who put the team on his back. He attacked the rim and got to the rim. He jacked up ill-advised three-pointers that went in like flames on NBA Jam. Without Westbrook’s performance in Game 6, Oklahoma City gets blown out.

Utah took an 86-73 lead with 7:04 left in regulation. Westbrook hit a pull up jumper and then found Jerami Grant in the corner for a three-pointer, cutting the deficit to seven. Raymond Felton continued the run with a big three-pointer, bringing Oklahoma City to within four. Westbrook jacked up a huge three with 1:28 remaining to bring Oklahoma City within one. That’s when the wild time happened.

The Thunder took five shots in a span of 33 seconds, each rimming out and being tipped out and back to another Thunder player by an array of players. Westbrook missed three of the five shots. Then, after a review, George was contacted by Gobert but no call.

Westbrook finished with 46 points on 18-of-43 and 7-of-19 from three, with 10 rebounds and five assists. Westbrook scored 31 points in the second half. Westbrook set a new franchise playoff record in 3-point attempts for Game (19), half (15) and quarter (8). Westbrook also set a franchise record for makes in a half (6).

Adams had 19 points and 16 rebounds.

All of this happened because Donovan Mitchell, a superb rookie, went bananas in the third quarter. He scored 22 of his 38 points in third quarter before getting into foul trouble. Utah outscored Oklahoma City by nine in the eight in the court and it really put the Thunder behind the eight-ball, causing the Thunder to see a 78-70 deficit going into the fourth.

The Thunder led 35-26 in the third quarter, their largest of the game and it appeared Oklahoma City would be in control going into halftime. However, Utah closed the quarter on a 15-6 run as it was tied 41-all at the break.

Oklahoma City’s season ends 48-34 and being eliminated 4-2 in the first round. It’s the second straight season the Thunder were eliminated in the first half.

Keys to the Game

Second quarter: C

Utah outscored the Thunder by four in the quarter and really closed strong. Oklahoma City seemed to have all of the momentum but Utah found their way back into the game. The Thunder needed to close the quarter strong but didn’t. It was deja vu of Games 2-4.

Second chance scoring: C

The Thunder scored 15 second chance points. Utah outscored Oklahoma City 19-15 on the second chance points. It’s easily the most the Thunder scored in a loss this series. However, they gave up 10 of Utah’s 19 in the second half. Oklahoma City seemed to struggle on the boards in the second half, despite winning the rebounding battle.

Big Three: F

Outside of Russell Westbrook, the Big Three should no longer have that title. Oklahoma City’s supporting cast for Westbrook was abysmal. I hate the Big Three name.

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NBA apparently reviewing if Russell Westbrook should be suspended for Game 5

It may be nothing but apparently the NBA is reviewing whether or not Russell Westbrook stepped on the court with or without the official’s permission in the moments where Westbrook and Rudy Gobert exchanged words.

During the exchange, Gobert was hit with a technical as he was upset already by Westbrook and the shot from Raymond Felton on the foul.

According to Andy Larsen of KSL.com:

A pool reporter request to the game officials to ask them about the play was initiated, but the NBA indicated that the officials wouldn’t comment on the matter because it would be reviewed by the league’s disciplinary committee.

This isn’t high school. Players rarely come on the court without official’s approval. Especially with the NBA’s rule on leaving the bench being an automatic suspension, it would be highly unlikely Westbrook would step on the court without being told to do so.

If the NBA reviews and finds out Westbrook stepped on the court and had words with Gobert, Westbrook would be suspended for Game 5. Which would be an absolute nightmare for Thunder fans. Being without the MVP for potentially their final game fo the season.

It would be the epitome of the season.

The NBA is most likely going to review the video and determine nothing happened with Westbrook and this will be an afterthought.

If you see the video, Westbrook is near half court when the interaction between and Gobert. So, I seriously doubt Westbrook rushed out to half court to approach Gobert. Though, we only have this vide and the NBA has many more angles. There were three play-by-play sets and three sets of cameras. So, they may be able to make more of a determination on what would happen.

The NBA will most likely only say something if Westbrook is suspended. If nothing happened, we’re probably not going to hear that.

Game 5 is set for 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game will be on Fox Sports Oklahoma and on NBATV.

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Thunder beat down Grizzlies as Westbrook makes history

Many saw the final game of the 2017-18 regular season for the Oklahoma City Thunder as a foregone conclusion.

They had already proven to be mentally tough by winning on the road in Houston and Miami and earning a spot in the playoffs. A matchup with the lowly Memphis Grizzlies had little to do with this game’s pregame hype.

That of course rested with the will-he/wont-he Russell Westbrook grab those 16 rebounds to clinch averaging a triple-double for the second consecutive season. A feat no other player has ever accomplished.

“It’s amazing,” Billy Donovan said afterwards. “Last year everyone tracked it and this year no one did. It just speaks to how great of a player he is.”

The reigning MVP did not disappoint as the Oklahoma City Thunder used his ability to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 137-123 on Wednesday night.

“It’s an unbelievable blessing,” Westbrook said in the locker room. “To have teammates that support me, and I support them. To succeed at a high level like this. It’s special.”

Westbrook finished with a career-high 20 rebounds, 19 assists and a meager six points. There was some fair share of conceding by Westbrook’s teammates to allow their point guard to gobble up a rebound or two. But this was a game where Westbrook’s rebounds led to explosive outlet-to-fastbreak points for Oklahoma City.

“He (Westbrook) really surveys the floor well,” Donovan said. “When our team is shooting the ball like that, he tries to read the game to the best of his ability and it resulted in some easy points.”

With the Thunder up 27 at halftime and Westbrook only five rebounds away from the 16th board, everything seemed to be going according to plan. A few minutes into the third quarter Westbrook grabbed rebound number 16 to a loud Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd, and then it seemed Oklahoma City stopped playing focused.

“We didn’t do a great job,” Donovan said. “But we took care of business when we had to.”

Memphis went on to outscore the Thunder 39-28 in the third quarter. The deficit was cut to nine. We have all seen this movie before.

But it ended up being Oklahoma City’s night. A Terrance Ferguson three followed by two Raymond Felton buckets kept the Grizzlies from mounting a serious comeback and the Thunder were able to leave with a victory.

Lost in all this was the fact that Paul George decided not to miss a shot for most of this game. The recently struggling George dropped 40 points on 13-of-20 shooting (8-of-14 from 3) and looked like the player prior to the All-Star break.

The Thunder now know their foe in the playoffs — the Utah Jazz. Currently, the Jazz are playing Portland on the road. Depending on that game will determine whether the first playoff game will be in Oklahoma City or not.

Three Keys to the Game

Bench: A

40 points is great any night. Ferguson was great from three, dropping 12 points. Jerami Grant did his usual solid stuff. Felton was a welcome addition.

Efficiency is key: A

Oklahoma City shot over 55 percent for the game. They scored a season high 77 points at half. All this without their leading scorer attempting to score much.

Rebound: A

For obvious reasons. 

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Rockets Meltdown 4.7.18

The Houston Rockets never foul says every Houston fan ever. They complained about Oklahoma City free throw advantage but ignored the 34-11 advantage they had the last time these two played. What a bunch of cry babies this time around. Oklahoma City didn’t play well and stole a game in Houston. Enjoy the Meltdown!

  • The Brook of the West cometh……..
  • Step on their throats and don’t let up.
  • Corey Brewer is gonna drop season high.
  • I will be at the game, I’ve got some boos saved up for Westbrook
  • I’d LOVE to see Beard give the Thunder a serious beatdown tonight.
  • would love to beat the thunder and knock them out of the playoffs
  • Please let Westbrook take all the 3-pointers to his heart’s desire — the omen for a Thunder loss.
  • ROCKETS WITH THE DOUBLE TRIPLES!!!
  • I’m all in on OKC in 9th
  • Of course carmelo and pg break out of their slumps today
  • Aww the Thunder fans think they still have a shot!
  • We gonna try on defense tonight?
  • Carmelo is going off WTF!?
  • The flukiest quarter of OKC offense this season. They won’t score 25 in the 2nd
  • Melo bricks coming soon just wait a bit
  • Thunders brickers turn into shooting God this game.
  • I hate games on national tv, all they do is oohhh and ahhh about ANY team playing houston. It’ f*&@%#! disgusting…
  • Down six is nothing to a championship caliber team. We will persevere fellas.
  • Im going to need Nene to put Jerami Grant in the rim.
  • rockets looks like **** on both ends.
  • Joe Johnson’s defense is so bad, it’s really going to hurt us during the playoffs.
  • I’ve seen enough refs paid for thunder
  • bad news for the rockets, westbrook, pg, and melo all on.
  • Ok now hardens buzz is wearing off finally
  • lol JVG is right, that is NOT a foul on paul george. that’s an offensive foul on harden or a no call, harden is the one hooking his arm around paul george
  • Westbrick in full effect
  • Thankfully Corey Sewer plays for OKC
  • LMAO at Harden. He made the refs call a foul by way of fetal position.
  • i love how corey brewer blatantly gets fouled and it doesn’t get called but he does not sit there and whine to the refs! he rushes back and hustles and gets back on DEFENSE. i respect that.
  • Screw these refs
  • Westbrook did that on purpose, I’m sure
  • Officiating for both sides has been garbage.
  • Harden now is pissed. OKC is dead.
  • Lol, too bad for OKC Melo won’t do this in the playoffs
  • My goodness. Westbrook just does not shut up.
  • Would love to see OKC out of the playoffs !
  • The blunder threw their best punches and harden just single handedly said f*** you. Lol
  • This game is a clear case of the other team playing their best form of basketball and we still lead.  I say at least a 10 point victory for us.
  • Fun game! First one I’ve been to in like 3 years. I made sure to arrive late so I wouldn’t look out of place.
  • Man I wanna hit Mo cheeks right in the kisser… this bum made it but not Rudy T. Smh.
  • corey brewer keeping the rockets in the game lmao
  • MAKE YOUR ****ING FREE THROWS JAMES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 8 on 5 and the Thunder are still losing
  • Another tech on us lmao
  • Paul George should’ve fouled out by now!! Rigged!!
  • whenever we put in these two grandpas nene and jj at the same time, we lose lead…
  • joe johnson should get 0 minutes in the playoffs.
  • Of course Westbrook would hit a three against us.
  • This may be a nba move here… Rockets lose
  • uhh, wow harden. just get completely embarrassed by westbrook. a complete clowning.
  • This is like a horrible 4th quarter team .
  • Westbrook looks fantastic.
  • Time for a patented Rockets 15-2 run.
  • Westbrook’s intensity is unmatched in the league
  • If Melo blocks you at the rim. Retire.
  • harden ****ing choked.
  • it’s like he’s trying to lose mvp
  • The Refs have completely f***ed us
  • This team didn’t handle the pressure very well.
  • another technical. STOP CRYING LIKE B***ES AND PLAY BALL.
  • Refs gave them about 10 points so we should’ve won in my book
  • he lost the ball again…wtf is up with Harden and pressure?
  • Rockets lost!!!….Westbrook deserves MVP over Harden!!
  • Harden bricking fts when they chant MVP just shows how mentally weak he is.
  • Go home rockets. You’re drunk
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Russ does his thing, but OKC falls 111-107 to GSW

In a game that the Oklahoma City Thunder desperately needed in order to further secure a playoff spot, Russell Westbrook did all that he could in order to help the cause.

Sadly for the Thunder as Oklahoma City lost 111-107. There was little efficiency from the other two stars, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony — who combined to shoot 9-of-35 and score 32 points. You add the minimal production from the bench — 14 points — and you find yourself seeing the Thunder drop another pivotal game.

“Those are shots we want,” Anthony said in the postgame. “We want those opportunities, they just haven’t been falling. We need to do a better job.”

Don’t ask Westbrook if there are things that still need to be tinkered or figured out however.

“We figured it out,” Westbrook said in the locker room afterwards. “We’re good. As long as we’re good in this locker room, it really don’t matter.”

Westbrook was sensation throughout but achieved MVP form in the third quarter, where he scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He finished with 44 points, six assists and 16 rebounds.

Oklahoma City needed every bit during the third quarter too.

The Thunder came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter until Durant got the ball rolling with eight straight points to close out the first. From there the Warriors ran their offense beautifully and stretched their lead to 10, a lead they carried into the third until Westbrook came alive.

The Golden State Warriors were already shorthanded coming into tonight with the injury to Steph Curry. They only went 10 deep and forced Steve Kerr to reach into the bench and use Damian Jones to counter the physicality of Steven Adams (seven points and 13 rebounds).

“We knew we were shorthanded coming into tonight,” Kerr said after the game. “But I thought we played well against a great team. It’s certainly tough going against guys like Russ and Adams even at full strength.”

The Thunder and Warriors traded buckets in the final quarter but some untimely misses from George and Anthony ultimately doomed any chance for Oklahoma City to secure a win. Durant, who was abysmal from beyond the arc (2-of-9), did most of his damage from the free throw line, where he sank all 14 shots. In the end, the Thunder could not get over the hump.

The loss moves to the sixth seed where they only hold a half-game lead over the Minnesota Timberwolves. For Oklahoma City, they must win two more games to reach the postseason.

Oklahoma City now takes their journey on the road to play the Houston Rockets on Saturday night on ABC. This will be the 10th of 11 straight games against teams .500 or better. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Three Keys to the Game

Force turnovers: D

In the two wins over the Warriors, the Thunder forced 22 and 25 turnovers respectively. Tonight they only forced 13. Against an injured Warriors team playing with 10 guys is more than disappointing.

Make your free throws: C

OKC sank 28 of their 37 free throws. Not bad considering the season, but not well when you lose a game decided by a few possessions. Adams and Corey Brewer combined to go 2-of-8 in a game the Thunder lost by four.

OK3: C

Westbrook alone keeps this from being an F. His 44 points gave the Thunder a chance, but George’s and Anthony’s lack of shooting continues to haunt Oklahoma City in tight ball games.

 

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Thunder get important win over NOLA 109-104

The best present the Oklahoma City Thunder could’ve given fans on Easter Sunday today was a crucial 109-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans to avoid the season sweep and move back up to the fifth spot in the Western Conference with a 45-33 record.

I’d also like to think the last several brutal Thunder games were all part of an elaborate April Fool’s prank that was just revealed to us today.

Oklahoma City showed up in an aggressive way and played with an intensity that they haven’t brought in a while.

The main fuel source, especially in the first half, was Paul George. He had 19 of his 27 points by the 8:48 mark in the second quarter and shot 50 percent by halftime. George came out swinging on both ends of the court and racked up eight rebounds and three steals. During the few slow points in the game, he was always there to get the momentum to quickly shift back to the good guys.

“We knew it was going to be tough,” George said after the game. “I just tried to get into a rhythm early and sustain it.”

The Thunder shot 53 percent and outscored the Pelicans 33-22 in an electric second quarter dominated primarily by George to take the 53-50 lead at the half.

Russell Westbrook was instrumental in keeping the ball moving on offense as he secured his 103rd career triple-double and fifth straight against New Orleans. The fast paced nature of the game led him to 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists. If you like flashy Westbrook highlights of dunks, dimes, and drives, this was definitely the game for you.

The matchup between big men Steven Adams and Anthony Davis didn’t end up taking center stage even though Davis has gotten some MVP buzz over the past couple months. Davis ended with a significant 25 points and 11 rebounds, but he didn’t command control and just take over like he has been.

A tie game at 63-63 with around five minutes left in the third was the last real possible turning point for New Orleans, but they ultimately couldn’t keep up with Oklahoma City firing on all cylinders.

“I thought we did the things coming down the stretch that maybe in some of these previous games we weren’t able to do,” coach Billy Donovan said postgame. “I thought we were consistent for a good portion of the game.”

Despite getting three fouls in the first six and a half minutes on the court and having to move to the bench (where he then received a questionable technical foul to add to his resume) until the middle of the second quarter, Carmelo Anthony eventually put up 16 points on 4-of-8 from deep along with six rebounds.

There were certain moments where he even started to drive and work more in isolation than he normally does. Anthony did a decent amount of post work, and even though the ball didn’t always go in, it was still an interesting change of pace.

Donovan’s rotations tonight also saw a lot of change. For instance, George came out for about two and a half minutes in the first when he normally plays that entire quarter. George and Russ seemed to be staggered more often, and perhaps the biggest surprise was rookie Terrance Ferguson didn’t even step foot on the floor even though he’s been playing about 14 minutes lately (much to the dismay of many Thunder fans). But, hey, I’m not complaining.

More time for some bench players meant more moments for Jerami Grant, who knocked down 12 points and made all five shots he took from the field. Two blocks were also fruits of his defensive labor.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Golden State Warriors on TNT on Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. A win clinches the playoffs for the Thunder. Brady Trantham will be in arena for the Thunder.

Keys to the Game

Three-pointers: B

New Orleans has proven an ability to get hot from beyond the arc, and they showed spurts of that tonight. They made 34 percent of their three-pointers, just outshooting the Thunder at 29 percent. Melo sunk 50 percent of his perimeter shots, but didn’t really attempt a high volume of them. It wasn’t terrible, but players who are known to be able to make those shots, especially George, could still work on their consistency.

Rebounding: A

Having to battle a guy like Davis for rebounds can be difficult, but it didn’t phase Oklahoma City tonight when they grabbed 51 total boards compared to the Pelican’s 44. They now move on to 32-10 on the season when out rebounding their opponents.

Make your free throws: C+

The atrocious free throw shooting lately didn’t turn around overnight. George was the only player to make all of his shots from the line, and the team as a whole shot 72 percent. The fact that New Orleans also struggled a bit in this department may have been a little saving grace, but the Thunder have still got to figure this mess out.

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You live by the Brodie. You die by the Brodie

Russell Westbrook pulled up from deep three, the AT&T Center arose from their seats. They’ve seen this before. Russell Westbrook is a world ender.

Except on Thursday night, Westbrook airballed twice.

Westbrook doesn’t regret anything. His confidence soars through the roof and at times is his own fault. Westbrook’s ability last season is why the Thunder are even in this position. Killer after killer shot, Westbrook destroyed the NBA. He went nuclear and dominated teams. Oklahoma City road the wave all the way to the playoffs.

It’s back and forth this season. You live and die by Westbrook’s hand. He knows it. You know it and the Thunder know it. The only thing that’s changed is the addition of a few players. There have been moments this season in which Westbrook looked like the MVP of old. Other times, like on Thursday night, Westbrook has yet to live up the legend he built with his own play.

“I trust him in those situations. He’s very bright and he’s very smart,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I’m going to trust him in those situations.”

Though the loss on Thursday night was not solely on Westbrook. Oklahoma City failed to get good shots and struggled to defend when it matter. They made silly moves (fouling three-point shooters) and went 2-for-16 over a 9½-minute span. San Antonio marched to a seven-point lead. That’s where Westbrook did his thing again.

Westbrook had a pull up jumper. It had all of the feeling of a classic Westbrook take over. However, just a minute later, Westbrook airballed his first three. He did it again with 14 seconds left, all but sealing the Thunder’s fate. There was no regret in Westbrook’s shot selection down the stretch.

“What do you think?” an annoyed Westbrook answered reporters. “You know me.”

We do know Westbrook. He’ll take that shot every time. We’ll cringe every time he airballs it, which has happened more than once in the last two seasons. When it sinks through the net, devouring all hope and happiness of his opponents, we’ll run around our living rooms, praising his name. For all his faults, Oklahoma City wouldn’t be here without his heart and drive. This is what he does. He’s not going to succeed every time. He does it more than what’s asked of him.

The Brodie is the greatest and the worst. He makes basketball fun and annoying. He’s the unhealthy relationship that we will never quit. The Brodie will give you life and salvation. The Brodie will also end your world. Oklahoma City may have Steven Adams and Paul George to partner with Westbrook. Whether it’s a 20-15-10 triple-double or a couple of airballs in the clutch. What we all know is true, the Thunder will only go as far as Westbrook will take them.

Westbrook is the Thunder’s ride or die.

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Why Not? charity bowl event shows another side of Russ

By now you are all familiar with the ferociousness that is Russell Westbrook the basketball player. The intimidating, at times abrasive supernova of an NBA point guard.

But like all professional athletes, he is a human being as well.

The human side of Westbrook is a fascinating case study in its own right. His history prior to the NBA is well-known to an extent — nearly missing out on a basketball scholarship out of high school, considered a math scholarship to Stanford prior to his ultimate destination at UCLA for basketball.

Since his entry into the league in 2008, Westbrook’s elevation into the upper-echelon of the NBA has given him a platform to give back to the community.

He famously gave the Kia he won as the 2015 All-Star Game MVP to an Oklahoma City single-mother. His Why Not? Foundation has set up multiple reading rooms across Oklahoma City public schools in an attempt to encourage reading amongst children.

Yesterday’s event marked the eighth Why Not? Bowl. A time where Westbrook is joined by his family, teammates, coaches and other Why Not? Foundation employees can sit back, relax and have fun with the accomplishments of Why Not? by enjoying some bowling.

From Why Not?:

This event will celebrate the foundation’s accomplishments including the Russell’s Reading Room initiative. The Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation is dedicated to support community based education and family service programs while encouraging youth to believe in themselves. The foundation strives to empower children to ask “Why Not?” when told they cannot succeed or when faced with adversity

The entire Oklahoma City Thunder team — minus Patrick Patterson and Corey Brewer — attended along with Westbrook’s wife, Nina, his son Noah, brother Raynard and his parents.

Westbrook admitted that when he was originally drafted by Oklahoma City (technically Seattle during the draft) he didn’t have much to do.

“When I first got here I didn’t have much to do,” Westbrook said during a brief media scrum. “I needed to find a hobby and I had never bowled before.”

Cred: Zach Beeker

After watching Westbrook bowl for an evening, it is safe to say he has made vast improvements in his game. The always confident Westbrook made everyone very aware who the best bowler on the team, and in his own family, was.

Among the sights that stood out — none other than the seven-foot mammoth that is Steven Adams.

Adams, in a bowling alley that was rather warm, continued to wear his camouflage rain jacket over his Why Not? shirt. He also chose to deny bowling shoes for his orange custom slide flip-flops with a cartoon face of Adams on them.

Westbrook doesn’t believe he could pull off bowling in slides like Adams.

“Steven can do whatever he wants. Flip-flops, shoes without socks,” Westbrook said. “I’m just thankful he is here and being apart of the night.”

It was a nice breath of fresh air for a team currently fighting for playoff positioning. With three days off before their trip to San Antonio on Thursday night, Westbrook and his teammates were able to enjoy an evening celebrating the reigning MVP’s charity work.

Cred: Zach Beeker

For more information on Westbrook’s Why Not? foundation, click here

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Steven Adams for Most Improved? Maybe.

There’s probably one player who’s running away with the Most Improved Player award this season. That’s former Thunder player Victor Oladipo. However, what discussion would be complete without adversaries for said award.

That’s where Steven Adams comes in.

In his fifth year with in the NBA, Adams has shined this season on the court, arguably becoming the second or third best player on the court this season. Many may see Adams’ large contract as a negative to his inclusion within this award race. A $100 million contract last season. Many detractors say Adams didn’t earn it last season. That’s large in part to the Thunder’s lack of offensive identity in a season where Russell Westbrook was really the only offense the Thunder had. They put it in the MVP’s hands and let him do work. Because of this, defenses sagged into the paint, causing a log jam and limiting the overall impact of Adams.

Enter Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

The two acquisitions this summer for the Thunder have opened all of the space in the paint and Adams has thrived. His averaging a career high in points, offensive rebounds, total rebounds, blocks, steals and shooting percentages, The 2-man game with Westbrook and Adams pick-n-roll that is deadly for any opponent is complying an almost instant score when the two initiate it.

When you dive more into the advance stats, Adams is once again thriving. His win shares, measures the number of wins contributed by a player per 48, 9.3, is a career high by almost three full wins per 48. While PER is largely an offensive statistic, is a career high at 21.3 over a previous high of 16.5 according to Basketball-Reference.

Adams’ 16.7 percent offensive rebounding percentage, which measures the percentage of available offensive rebounds a player or team collects while on the floor, is the best in the NBA. It’s a drastic rise over his 12.7 percent last season. His rebounding rise is a large reason why the Thunder are one of the league’s best rebounding teams in the NBA.

Though, it also should be pointed out, Oklahoma City is 4-1 without Adams in the lineup this season. Their lone loss: a one-point win over Denver back in December.

Sure, Oladipo is going to run away with this award. His points per game are a third higher than they’ve been in his career. He’s taken the flailing Pacers, who missed the playoffs last season, to a potential home court advantage in the first round. The impact he’s made since his trading to Indiana.

However, it’s not without the discussion. Adams is there. He may not win it but the recognition should be warranted.

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Thunder roars in the 4th, beat the Heat 105-99

It was tough for the Oklahoma City Thunder offense the entire evening.

Two days after the collapse in against the Celtics, the Thunder appeared to be in a bit of a Boston hangover. Both the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City obliged to shoot in the mid-thirties percentage from the floor. Needless to say, the game was a hard watch.

That is save for animal-lover, Steven Adams.

The seven-footer was sensational in about every facet of basketball. Finishing with a double-double, 24 points and 13 rebounds, Adams kept the sluggish Thunder offense above water throughout.

“Steven had a size-advantage all night,” head coach Billy Donovan said in the post game. “I felt that the matchups called for him to have a big game. Russell (Westbrook) didn’t take too many shots in the first half and it allowed Steven to have a lot of opportunities.”

It was the second game in the last three that Adams had a big night offensively — the most recent in the win against the Toronto Raptors where he scored 25 points.

“Steve-o is underrated,” Paul George said in the post game. “When we need an easy bucket or a maybe a breath on offense, Steven is always there for us.”

If not for the Thunder’s plot twist of hitting their free throws in the first half, Oklahoma City may have been in danger of being behind for the entire half. The Thunder shot 12-13 from the charity stripe despite shooting 34.4 percent.

The Heat were able to find some productivity on offense late in the third quarter. Behind James Johnson’s 23 points and Goran Dragic’s 20 points, Miami gained a slight lead heading into the fourth.

“I knew it was going to be a hard game for us,” Donovan said. “Erik (Spoelstra) does a fantastic job and our guys had a few days off after a disappointment in Boston.”

All this was due in large part to George and Carmelo Anthony shooting a combined 5-of-24 and finishing with 18 points.

Then Raymond Felton did that thing where he owns the beginning of the fourth quarter inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

With the Thunder down 66-64 to begin the fourth, Felton opened up with a three. He then followed that shot off with five points, capped off by a drive and layup and-one against Dwyane Wade. It was an 8-0 Thunder run and it fueled the Oklahoma City offense until the final buzzer.

Westbrook took it from there.

“I just took what the defense gave me,” Westbrook said in the locker room. “It’s as simple as that.”

The reigning MVP scored 17 points to close out the Heat and pick up a much needed win. He finished with 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

Oklahoma City crushed the Heat in the fourth, outscoring the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference 41-33.

In addition the the scoring exploits of Felton, the Thunder bench had a much-welcomed solid game. The reserves combined for 30 points and were a combined +29 in the +/-.

The Thunder now move to 44-30, currently tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the fourth seed.

Oklahoma City will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. in a crucial Northwest Divisional showdown.

Keys to the Game

Transition: A+

The Thunder pushed transition and scored 18 points on the break. It’s the recipe for a Thunder victory. Oklahoma City needed to find their way to basket on the break and it worked well tonight.

Bench Production: A+

The bench scored 30 points tonight and more importantly they were a combined plus-36 tonight against the Heat bench. Oklahoma City’s bench has been lackluster all season but really shined tonight. Raymond Felton scored 10 points to lead the Thunder bench.

Rebound: A+

Oklahoma City’s rebounding skills were stellar tonight. Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook combined for 25 of Oklahoma City’s 51 rebounds. The Thunder improve to 31-10 when they out rebound their opponent on the season. The Thunder out rebounded the Heat 51-41 tonight.

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