Monthly Archives: October 2017

Thunder @ Bucks preview (Game 7 of 82)

okc logo @ bucks

  • When: Tuesday, 31 October 2017 at 7:00 pm CST
  • Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
  • TV: NBATV/FSOK
  • Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
  • Line: OKC -1.5 | O/U – 212.5

Consistency is something the Oklahoma City Thunder have been lacking this season. Play one great game and follow it up with a subpar game. And while a lot of that may have to do with the opponent (all the losses have come against teams that will likely be in the playoffs), the Thunder have got to start winning those games.

Tonight is no different. After obliterating the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, the Thunder face one of the up and coming teams in the East in the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing like a bonafide MVP candidate and the rest of the team is playing well in their roles.  Continue reading Thunder @ Bucks preview (Game 7 of 82)

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NTTB Rumblings – 31 Oct 2017 (Halloween edition)

okc halloween

Erik Horne (NewsOK) on Paul George finding his rhythm: “Throughout the game we know Russ is going to push the tempo, really create all the mismatches with his aggressiveness and attacking the floor,” George said. “But yeah, if I get going early, especially being a shooter out there, it’ll only open up the game for all of us.” George has found a rhythm early in games for the Thunder so far, one which could be a boon for a Thunder team feeling out who shoots when this season.”

The NBA’s version of Cain and Abel featuring Jerami Grant and Jerian Grant.

Brett Dawson (NewsOK) on Giannis Antetokounmpo giving the Thunder their biggest defensive test yet: “I think the biggest thing with him is trying to take away that deep paint where he’s getting all the way to the rim, because then he’s a monster finishing,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “But he’s also a really good passer. He sprays the ball around really well and obviously, they’ve got good shooting on the perimeter. He’s an incredible player.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 31 Oct 2017 (Halloween edition)

The Week That Was: 23-29 October 2017

big 3This “superteam” was supposed to be 6-0 and on their way to the first 96-0 (82 + 16 playoff games) record in league history. The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to leading the league in Offensive and Defensive Rating. They were supposed to be winning games by at least a margin of 20+ per game and Dakari Johnson should now have six games worth of experience under his belt.

Instead the Thunder find themselves at only 3-3. Chemistry is still an issue as they attempt to assimilate three alpha-dog scorers into a cohesive system. It is no longer just grab the ball and score, as all three have been used to throughout their careers. Now, it’s run the offense until there’s an open shot and if nothing develops, then revert back to your natural instinct of isolation dominance. All the while, there are two other players out there on the floor that can be involved in the offense also.

It’s going to take some time. We can look back at all the other recent iterations of super teams and see that there were adjustment periods for all of them. Some of those teams adjusted quickly, like the Warriors of last year and the Celtics of 2007-08. Others took at least a season to find themselves, like the 2010-11 Miami Heat. But they all eventually found success. Continue reading The Week That Was: 23-29 October 2017

NTTB Rumblings – 30 Oct 2017

cropped-nowthatsthunderbasketball_sheriffbadge1.jpgIn case you didn’t hear, the Thunder’s plane hit something on their flight from Minnesota to Chicago. Everyone is okay, though.

Royce Young (ESPN) on Russell Westbrook getting a triple-double against every team in the NBA: “Already well-entrenched in the NBA record book for his triple-doubles, Westbrook added another mark: He is the only player in NBA history to record a triple-double against every team he has faced. “He had one against us in practice,” Carmelo Anthony said jokingly afterward.”

If you’ve ever wondered what life would be like if Russell Westbrook chose to be a beekeeper, instead of a basketball players, well here’s your glimpse into that reality.  Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 30 Oct 2017

Thunder vs. Wolves preview (Game 5 of 82)

twolves vs. okc logo

  • When: Friday, 27 October 2017 at 7:00 pm CST
  • Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • TV: NBATV/FSOK
  • Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
  • Line: OKC -1.5 | O/U – 218

A lot has been made about the Big 3 in Oklahoma City. And deservedly so. Anytime you combine a current MVP with two prolific wing scorers, it’s bound to draw a lot of attention. The results after four games can be summed up in three words: Work In Progress.

But lost in all the attention the Big 3 are garnering has been the play of fifth year center, Steven Adams. Four games in, Adams is averaging 13.8 points, 8.5 rebounds (5 on the offensive end!!!!), 2 steals, and 1.75 blocks per game. He’s starting to “call his own number” when he spots a mismatch on offense, and is anchoring a defense that ranks 5th in the league in defensive rating. If those defensive numbers continue, Adams may be in contention for defensive player of the year, a la Marc Gasol in 2013.  Continue reading Thunder vs. Wolves preview (Game 5 of 82)

NTTB Rumblings – 27 Oct 2017

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Today feels like revenge. I don’t know why, but it just does.

Kristian Winfield (SB Nation) on Paul George and Carmelo Anthony finally having the perfect superstar teammate: “Here is Westbrook — reigning league MVP, all-time single-season triple-double leader, and walking terminator — who carried his team of non All-Stars to a competitive first-round exit to the Houston Rockets in the playoffs. Now, enter two more All-Stars, two more egos, and two more offensive superstars who each need to eat to be satisfied. Or so we thought. That’s the beauty of what Anthony said. Russell Westbrook can have the main course — let Melo and PG-13 have the sides.”

David Brandon (16 Wins A Ring) looks at the shooting guards on the roster: “Huestis is the surprise. After barely playing, and even then largely playing at the 4, Huestis has seen significant backcourt and frontcourt minutes over the last few games. He’s definitely not where he needs to be yet on rotations, but Huestis might wind up a usable member of the team, which not many observers expected. Though he’s worse defensively than Roberson and worse offensively than Abrines, he’s more well-rounded than both, with a clean release on his 3-point shot and good balance navigating screens on the perimeter. He fouls too much, but that might work itself out with time. Don’t fool yourself—at this point he’s maaaaaybe replacement level. But that might be just enough for now.”

The Thunder are looking to do what every beauty queen vows to do: fight hunger: “The Oklahoma City Thunder and Whataburger have partnered to help fight hunger in Oklahoma during this holiday season through a food drive at next Friday’s Thunder game and a three-week fundraiser at Whataburger restaurants.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 27 Oct 2017

NTTB Rumblings – 26 October 2017

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Great win last night. Sure wish Oladipo could have consistently played like that for the Thunder last season.

Jeremy Lambert (Thunderous Intentions) would like to remind you the sky is not falling in regards to the Thunder: “We’re one week into the NBA season and the OKC Thunder sit at 2-2. Not a bad record, but given the firepower on the squad, most fans probably hoped for better. And it could be 3-1 if not for an Andrew Wiggins buzzer beater, so the sky isn’t exactly falling. That’s the theme for this column: the sky is not falling. Neither is Paul George’s shot, Russell Westbrook’s free throws or Andre Roberson’s anything.”

Royce Young (ESPN) on Paul George’s struggles against his former team: “George then fouled out with 6:15 left in the fourth, with only 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting in 19 minutes. “That hasn’t happened often in my career,” George said of winning the game despite his struggles. “Fortunate to have those guys carry me. They knew how big this game was for me, and they went out and got it for me.”

The Thunder opened up a new basketball court in Calumet.  Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 26 October 2017

Pacers vs. Thunder preview (Game 4 of 82)

pacersvs. okc logo

  • When: Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at 7:00 pm CST
  • Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
  • TV: FSOK
  • Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
  • Line: OKC -14.5 | O/U – 218

I’ve never been a huge fan of moral victories. It feels like a gateway to developing a losing mentality. The great, “Oh, we lost, but…” A team says that enough times and failure becomes an acceptable habit. “Missed it by this much” becomes the norm.

Sunday’s loss felt different, though. Yes, it was definitely a moral victory, which means it was a loss. But it felt like the team discovered something about itself in that fourth quarter (almost) comeback. Russell Westbrook, who has had to adjust on the fly to having two scoring wings next to him, reverted back to what felt natural to him. And it worked. Shots fell. The team got stops. And what started as a 13-point deficit heading into the quarter turned into a one point lead with 5 seconds left. Of course, we all know what transpired after that as Andrew Wiggins and the three referees made sure Minnesota came out of that game with a victory (shouts out to you, Last 2-Minutes report).  Continue reading Pacers vs. Thunder preview (Game 4 of 82)

NTTB Rumblings – 25 Oct 2017

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Kyle Wagner (FiveThirtyEight) on the Thunder’s sudden inability to rebound: “However, the George and Anthony moves do seem to have had an effect on another piece of the team’s core identity: For the first time in a decade, the Thunder are struggling to rebound. The Thunder have grabbed just 47.5 percent of available rebounds in their first three games — about 6 percentage points lower than last year and 24th in the league. As a team, the Thunder haven’t finished outside the top 10 since they moved to Oklahoma City.”

When the robots finally attack, they can point its genesis to the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Clifton Brown (Indy Star) on Paul George facing his old team for the first time: “There was no way to reconcile those conflicting emotions, as George prepared to play his first game against the Pacers on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. George was smiling and had the aura of a man at peace after Tuesday’s practice at the Oklahoma City Thunder’s practice facility. But George admitted that the timing of his departure from the Pacers was awkward and that if he could do it again, he would have handled some things differently.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 25 Oct 2017

NTTB Rumblings – 24 Oct 2017

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Royce Young (ESPN) on the referees missing two calls down the stretch against the Thunder: “The NBA announced Monday that there was one incorrect no-call and noted the officiating crew didn’t see Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau calling for timeout in the final five seconds of the frantic finish against the Thunder that led to Andrew Wiggins’ game-winning buzzer-beater Sunday. Karl-Anthony Towns’ screen on Paul George that freed Wiggins was ruled to have been illegal, based on Towns’ stance being too wide. The report notes that Towns was stationary but his leg was out, which clipped George.”

Jack Maloney (CBS Sports) with a great break-down of the Thunder last 10 possessions in crunch time: “Thus, as Sunday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves went down to the wire, the new-look Thunder were put into a close game for the first time. Last season, there was no debate who would have the ball in the clutch: Russell Westbrook. But with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George — each a No. 1 option used to having the ball down the stretch for his old team — now in town, how they would handle end of game situations was one of the main questions heading into the season.”

Sports Illustrated on the influence Twitter has on the NBA’s media coverage.  Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 24 Oct 2017