Kyle Wagner (FiveThirtyEight) on the effect Andre Roberson’s absence is having on the team: “But the Thunder have yet to capitalize on the additional space available with Roberson out. Westbrook has played well in some ways, creating at James Harden/Chris Paul levels on the pick and roll, and poorly in others, shooting just 43 percent from the field and 18 percent from the three in the games since Roberson’s injury. George has been hot from the three — he’s hit at least five 3-pointers in four consecutive games — and has averaged 29.6 points on a 62 effective field goal percentage through those 10 games. But Anthony has gone absolutely dormant, and both he and Westbrook missed two games to injury.”
Dan Woike (LA Times) on Russell Westbrook’s defining characteristics even being there in high school: “Arturo Jones, the current basketball coach at Leuzinger, helped out with the program while Westbrook was in school and said some of the things that stand out about him now were apparent then. “He was always a hard worker,” Jones said. “His trajectory always continued to grow.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 16 February 2018
Heartfelt thoughts and condolences to the people of Parkland, Florida.
Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) recaps the Thunder’s victory over the Grizzlies in Memphis: “It wasn’t just Anthony (19 points) and Westbrook (23 points, 15 assists, 13 rebounds) who saved the day for the Thunder. There were a variety of characters who made an impact. The most prominent was Paul George, who had an outrageously good first half where he scored 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting, including a 5-for-6 mark from the three-point line to extend his streak of games with 5-plus made threes to an NBA season-high-tying five games.”
If you’re into this kind of stuff, Colin Cowherd said some drivel about Russell Westbrook’s leadership: “Now, Russell Westbrook, you give him, not only new teammates, but excellent teammates. He still can’t figure it out. They add Carmelo, who’s going to be a Hall of Famer. They add Paul George, who’s an All-Star. And they’re one game worse than last year.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 15 February 2018
To all my readers: I you!
Royce Young (ESPN) on Cleveland’s new bunch getting the best of the Thunder this time: “It’s one of James’ many remarkable traits that a roster halfway turned over just a week ago can show up and play cohesively, moving the ball to open players and generating connected offense. James is so adaptable, and carries a gravity that forces teammates to fit, that the Cavs can remodel their team on the fly, whereas it took the Thunder three months and 30 games to start to figure it out.”
Heather Koontz (Thunderous Intentions) with some hilarious Thunder-related Valentine’s Day cards. Continue reading NTTB Rumblings (Valentine’s Day Edition) – 14 February 2018
Erik Horne (NewsOK) on the Thunder keeping Andre Roberson involved: “He’s been around in the background,” said Steven Adams, one of Roberson’s best friends on the team. “I know you guys don’t see him and stuff, but when we’re in, say the back of the stadium, he’s around all the time. It’s good, mate. He’s just doing his own thing, a little rehab. It’s a tough situation to be in, but he’s still keeping in happy spirits, good spirits.”
Brett Dawson (NewsOK) on the Thunder SG starter still being in flux: “I think that (fifth) spot, it could be different,” Donovan said. “I don’t want to say it’s going to be different night to night, but yeah, it could change in certain situations based on what’s best for our team.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 13 February 2018
Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) recaps the Thunder’s mauling of the Grizzlies via the long ball: “George was the instigator on both ends for the Thunder, finding ways to not only generate clean looks and free throws for himself, but also to get others involved. It was clear that the day of practice on Saturday helped get George more acclimated to being the lead playmaker with this group. It’s something he’s done all of his career, but the chance to get some work in with his teammates helped the cohesion mightily. For the game, George racked up 33 points to go with 8 assists, while only turning it over 2 times.”
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) on the Thunder looking better when they hit shots: “The Thunder had just fallen by 25 to a losing team on a night when they were missing Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, both of whom suffered ankle sprains during the squad’s previous game. OKC scored only 81 points in L.A. But it got its looks. It just didn’t make shots – for whatever the reason.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 12 February 2018
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) on the quietness of the trade deadline outside of Cleveland: “The Thunder, of course, were in that category: active in conversations without anything tangible to show for it. It’s a new normal for the NBA, where teams were weary about taking on longterm money and trading first-round draft picks inside a more fiscally conservative environment.”
Erik Horne (NewsOK) on why he thinks the trade deadline was so quiet: “Could a deal have been done? Yes. Would it have made the Thunder better? The team didn’t think so. The same could be said for the Spurs, Rockets, Celtics and Warriors. The Thunder wasn’t the only team among the contenders in their respective conferences who held off from making a roster-altering decision on Thursday.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 09 February 2018
Sam Amick (USA Today) on Paul George’s upcoming free agency decision: “He’s well aware how his choice will affect the lives of others, from his actual family to this Thunder group that wants so badly for him to return alongside Russell Westbrook. So he picks his words wisely, even goes over old interviews to make sure he’s saying what he means and meaning what he says. Yet as the 3 pm EST trade deadline nears on Thursday, and with the Thunder (31-24) set to face the very Lakers team that is widely seen as the No. 1 threat for his services, there’s one thing that is helping him be more at ease: he’s not going anywhere just yet – if ever.”
Russell Westbrook and Paul George are here to take your basketball.
Paul George had a big fan at the Warriors’ game: Former Fresno State Bulldog Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders. Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 08 February 2018
Russell Westbrook had an incident with a fan after the Nuggets game: “You gotta be able to protect the players, man,” he said. “The fans are obviously there to enjoy the game, but they can’t come onto the floor. That’s totally unacceptable.”
Nick Gallo’s (OKCThunder.com) post-game recap: “After giving up 40, 32 and 32 points in the first three periods, the Thunder’s defense suddenly tightened up in the fourth quarter behind a grimy, scrappy effort by the second unit and scintillating performances by Paul George and Russell Westbrook down the stretch. With just 1.4 seconds left in regulation, the Thunder had allowed just 20 fourth quarter points.”
In addition to being in the All-Star Game, Paul George will also be in the 3-point shooting contest. Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 02 February 2018
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) on this latest stretch of games for the Thunder which has been particularly grueling: “The Thunder are in the midst of a brutal portion of the schedule. They change time zones between five consecutive games — with four of those contests making up a couple of back-to-backs. It’s hectic enough that coach Billy Donovan has decided to forego a couple of morning shootarounds, doing so before Tuesday’s eventual loss at the Washington Wizards and and before Thursday’s game at the Denver Nuggets.”
Colin Ward-Henninger (CBS Sports) on the possible teams vying for Greg Monroe’s services: “Go ahead, try to name the Thunder’s backup center. Trick question … they don’t have one. Jermai Grant has been filling in at center for the second unit, but at 6-foot-8, 203 pounds, he’s not exactly an earth-mover out there. The lineup of Grant, Paul George, Alex Abrines, Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson has a net rating of minus-33.6 in 85 minutes this season — not good.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 01 February 2018
Bruce Jenkins (San Francisco Tribune) on the Thunder being a contender to dethrone the Warriors: “That was the goal in OKC, but it simply wasn’t working. Only when a clear decision was made — this is Westbrook’s team, and he will rule the offense — did this team elevate itself into relevance. “I think the fact that Russ is just playing, not trying to defer to anybody, just letting us play off him — we needed that,” George told reporters recently. “We need that Russ out there. Let the rest of us figure it out.”
A very informative article by Eric Pincus (Bleacher Report) on the Thunder’s future salary cap implications: “With George, along with Westbrook at $35.4 million, center Steven Adams at $24.2 million, Roberson at $10 million and Anthony at $27.9 million (with an early termination option), the Thunder could be looking at paying between $250 and $300 million for their roster. Should Anthony opt out, that would help solve the team’s budget crisis, but that doesn’t appear likely.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 31 January 2018