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Line: OKC -7.5 | O/U – 214
The Set-Up: Rest. Relaxation. Reset. When you look at the Oklahoma City Thunder roster, names like Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Raymond Felton jump out at you. These names are known because those guys are all veterans. They’ve been through past wars and know what it takes to get through a grueling 82-game season. Continue reading Thunder vs. Kings Preview (Game 60 of 82)→
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.”
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.”
Erik Horne (NewsOK) looks at the year that was for Russell Westbrook: “Before his nine 3-point attempts against Milwaukee with George injured, Westbrook had averaged 1.9 per game in his last seven. The Thunder went 6-1 and Westbrook shot 55.5 percent from the field. “Russell was the MVP last year and he’s having to play different,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Carmelo, an incredible scorer and an elite player in this league for a long time, he’s had to change. Same thing for Paul, Patrick Patterson or any of these guys. Everybody’s had to change a little bit for the betterment of the team.”
Jimmy Do (OKCThunder.com) looks at Paul George’s Christmas party for stroke awareness: “Through the Paul George Foundation, the friendly zap session was part of the fun and games at Main Event Entertainment during the inaugural PG Christmas Celebration for seven local families with stroke survivors. With a red Santa hat sat cocked atop his head, George arrived with a large bag full of gifts slung over his shoulder doing his best impersonation of Jolly Old St. Nick.”
Am I a homer? Heck yeah. I’m a fan of the team I write about. It’s not a difficult concept. I like to write about things I’m familiar with. I know basketball, but more specifically, I know Thunder basketball. So I write about it.
Predictions are always a difficult thing when it comes to sports. They are usually made with the caveat that a ton of variables remain static. Things such as injuries, front office moves, suspensions, chemistry can’t be taken into account.
When you look at these 20 predictions, know two things: 1) They are likely going to favor the Oklahoma City Thunder in some form or fashion. And 2) Because I know a little about basketball, I’ll never make a prediction so outlandish that it won’t have a chance of coming true. Without further ado, here are the predictions:
20. Josh Huestis will play over 750 minutes this season for the Thunder.
In his first two seasons, Huestis played a grand total of 86 minutes for the Thunder. But the third year forward looks determined to get some minutes this year, and his play in the preseason may warrant some looks. While 750 minutes may seem like a lot, that’s just 9.2 minutes per game over 82 games. I think Huestis will be a full-time NBA player this year and will get enough playing time to reach that minutes mark. Continue reading 20 Thunder-centric predictions for the season→
There is actually a Thunder game tonight. Woo-hoo!!!!!!
Paul George is now willing to seriously consider OKC during free agency next summer: “The source says George has been impressed by the culture of the Thunder and how meticulous general manager Sam Presti and the organization are in building the roster and the franchise. George was impressed that the front office “had the (guts),” in the source’s words, to put everything on the line in getting him, and followed it up by getting Anthony without giving up any of the team’s core group.”
David Aldridge (NBA.com) on Westbrook’s loyalty to Oklahoma City: “But then came Westbrook, last Friday, finally signing the $205 million extension that the Thunder had had on the table for weeks. The impact reverberated well beyond the 405. Westbrook didn’t, as everyone seemed to accept as a fait accompli the last year and a half, play out his contract after collecting an extra $28 million in extension money from OKC last season, and bolt to the Lakers, Tom Joad with a 401(K) and options, in the summer of 2018. The scuttlebutt was that Westbrook would go back to his hometown and be united with LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony and/or Idris Elba and/or Shonda Rimes.”