Welcome to the holiday season (or is it szn, now?).
Royce Young (ESPN) on the Thunder’s convincing victory over the Milwaukee Bucks: “Playing on the road against the Bucks was a good test to gauge where the Thunder stood and whether the positive momentum of the past few games would continue to build. And the Thunder set the tone early, as Westbrook sparked their best half of the season, a dominant first 24 minutes that put the Bucks on their heels. “That first half, that’s how I would love to see us play,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I feel like when we play like that the floor’s so spaced it takes advantage of all those guys.”
Royce Young on the Thunder not picking up Josh Huestis’ 4th year option: “The Thunder elected to not exercise the $2.2 million team option for a few reasons, a primary one being the lack of evidence on Huestis and his fit with the roster. Before this season, he’d appeared in only seven total games in two years. Future roster and luxury tax implications also factored in, with the Thunder’s planning for the hopeful re-signing of both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Committing to pay Huestis $2.2 million next season could translate to as much as $7 million with relation to the tax.”
Nick Friedell (ESPN) on Jason Kidd comparing Russell Westbrook to another superstar athlete: “He is the [Mike] Tyson of basketball,” Kidd, a former star point guard himself, said before the Bucks lost 110-91 to Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder. “When the jump ball [goes up], he is coming as Tyson did [in getting] off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed, and that’s fast and hard. He’s a little different in that case that he’s probably the only [No.] 1, and then I would put [at] 1B in that same category John Wall. Just that speed of coming at you every time you’re on the floor. There is no kind of walking the ball up; they are coming at you and causing problems.”
Vincent Goodwill (Bleacher Report) on whether a pecking order is needed in OKC: “Anthony is leading the Thunder in shots per game at 18.1 a night, and his scoring average of 22.9 points per game ranks right with where he was the last few years in New York, albeit without the drama that came with being a Knick. George is taking 16.9 shots and Westbrook 15.4 (his fewest since 2009-10), while Steven Adams’ no-nonsense play caused Kidd to say about his team, “When you play grown-ups, you gotta be ready, and we weren’t ready to play tonight.”
Harvey Araton (New York Times) on the Knicks winning 3 in a row, and Carmelo Anthony’s legacy being easily forgettable: “Moving on from the Anthony era was never going to be difficult because it wasn’t really memorable, or all that watchable. And while Anthony was as deadly a scorer as the Garden has ever regularly observed, there was never much evidence that he was a born leader.”
He even blew the crowd a kiss and had a choice word of his own: