Thunder vs. Wolves preview (Game 5 of 82)

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  • 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)

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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)

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  • 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

NTTB Rumblings – 23 Oct 2017

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Tough one last night. But we move on…

Royce Young (ESPN) on the crazy finish from last night’s game: “It was the perfect finish, the ideal answer to the first crunch time test for the new look Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook remained the clutch-time king, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the final five minutes. But in the biggest spot, after Karl-Anthony Towns put the Minnesota Timberwolves up two with 8.9 seconds remaining, Westbrook did what many within the team claimed he’d do, but many outside were skeptical of — he found the open man. He drove right at Carmelo Anthony’s defender, and dropped a pass off to an open Anthony, who splashed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left. Then, Andrew Wiggins went and messed it all up.”

Kent Youngblood (Star Tribune) gives a recap of the game from the other side: “Andrew Wiggins did not call glass. After the game was over, surrounded by reporters, taking all sorts of abuse from his teammates, Wiggins admitted that much. “No,” Wiggins said, smiling. “I did not.” A few lockers down, Karl-Anthony Towns laughed. “He called ‘game,’ ” Towns said.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 23 Oct 2017

Thunder lose on a Wiggins game winner, 115-113

BOX SCORE

Why does it always have to end like this? Whether it’s Anthony Davis double clutching one in at the buzzer or Stephen Curry shooting it from Gotebo, the Oklahoma City Thunder always seem to succumb to buzzer beaters that should count as 4-pointers.

This time it was Andrew Wiggins unleashing a 35-foot running banker that had MidFirst Bank wondering whether they should give him a $20,000 check or not. It was a shame too, because the Thunder finally started looking like Thunder after a 7-quarter slumber. Between the Utah game and the first three quarters of this game, the Thunder did not look anything like a team that featured three 20-point scorers. Instead they looked like a team that was completely unsure of how it should play with it’s plethora of talent.

But with the Thunder down by 13 heading into the 4th quarter, the light kind of started to turn on over the Thunder’s collective heads. It started with (duh!) getting stops on the defensive end. The Thunder went on a 12-2 run in the first three and a half minutes of the fourth. Once the Thunder brought it down to about 5, it became a game again. Continue reading Thunder lose on a Wiggins game winner, 115-113

Timberwolves vs. Thunder preview (Game 3 of 82)

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  • When: Sunday, 22 October 2017 at 6:00 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 -4.0 | O/U – 210.5

Six points? Six points for current MVP, Russell Westbrook. Much of the credit needs to go to the Utah defense, who executed a great defensive game plan. But it didn’t much seem like Westbrook was trying to attack the defense, either. He almost looked like he was settling. And the words Westbrook and settling don’t necessarily go together in a sentence.

Westbrook is known for his attacking nature and his ‘never say die’ style of play. But last night, he seemed almost content with passing the ball to Carmelo Anthony and Paul George and letting them shoot the Oklahoma City Thunder out of the rut they were in. The Westbrook from last season would have looked at the Westbrook from last night and wondered ‘what the hell are you doing?’.  Continue reading Timberwolves vs. Thunder preview (Game 3 of 82)

NTTB Podcast (Episode 18) – Growing Pains

IMG_4109On Episode 18 of the NTTB podcast,we discuss the following topics:

  • Knicks game recap
  • Jazz game recap
  • Preview the Timberwolves game
  • Worrisome trends
  • What’s up with Westbrook
  • Inconsistent refs
  • NBA news

Intro/Outro music provided by OSC Productions

Thank you for listening. We will be doing a podcast once a week. If you have any Thunder or NBA related questions, make sure you hit us up on Twitter (@alexroig_NTTB or @Montero_A13).

We are on ITunes under the NTTB Podcast. Make sure you leave us a 5-star review if you can. As always, Thunder Up!