Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
Line: OKC -4.5 | O/U – 207.5
Five Things For This Game
1. Again, Injuries
After an incredible Thunder playoff debut, Paul George suffered a hip contusion in the 2nd quarter on a hard fall. He dusted the fall off and went on to play most of the game after that. But you could tell the injury started bothering him late in the 2nd half and he had to be taken out with about 2 minutes left in the game to receive treatment on the sidelines. Continue reading Jazz vs. Thunder Preview (Game 2)→
Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) on what needs to continue into Game 2: “One of the major bright spots for the Thunder on Sunday, and a development that needs to hold firm, was the play of Anthony on the defensive end and around the rim. After an early adjustment to drop the veteran forward into coverage on pick and rolls, Anthony was able to use his quickness and sleight of hand to make 3 steals and 2 blocks to go with 7 rebounds. On many occasions, Anthony was the last line of defense between the Jazz and a potential layup or a put back, and he held firm with toughness and veteran guile.”
I’ll be honest with you. These last few days have been refreshing. I haven’t had to worry about the Western Conference standings. I haven’t had to worry about not knowing what Oklahoma City Thunder team was going to show up on a night to night basis. I didn’t have to stress about a Paul George shooting slump. Or worry about Carmelo Anthony aging exponentially before our eyes. Or any other plethora of things I’ve worried about this season.
All season long we’ve heard this would be a work in progress. That this process would take time. And with how this team was pieced together over the summer, that request for patience was not a far-fetched one. Many fans view NBA transactions like they view transactions on NBA 2K. If you put Good Player A together with Good Player B, then both players will be good on the same team. But in reality, that’s not always how it works. The process of putting three alpha dogs together and telling them to play as a team is not something that happens instantly. There’s a chemistry that needs to naturally develop, especially when you think of the other variables on the roster. Continue reading First Round Preview vs. the Utah Jazz→
Jon Hamm (Bleacher Report) on the Thunder’s wild ride this season: “In true Thunder fashion, clinching the franchise’s eighth playoff berth since 2008 on Monday night came with requisite drama. Sewing up a playoff spot required OKC to battle back from an 18-point first-quarter deficit against the Miami Heat. It was par for the course for a Thunder squad that stumbled to an 8-12 start then spent the rest of the season playing catch up.”
We’re officially in the playoffs!!!! On to the second season.
Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) recaps the win over the Miami Heat: “First it was a 12-0 deficit. Then 16-1 and finally 23-5. It was clear from the outset, the Thunder was going to have to earn its playoff berth. Despite missing its first 10 shots with 3 turnovers in the first seven minutes on Monday against the Miami Heat, the Thunder never relented, and scratched its way back into contention in the second quarter.”
Dave Zirin (The Nation) on Russell Westbrook standing with Oklahoma teachers: “These teachers also have an ally in the state’s most famous athlete, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. The reigning NBA MVP was asked for his opinion about the state-wide strike and he did not mince words, saying, “Education is very, very important to me. The teachers are standing up for something that obviously they believe in—that’s helping the kids get a better education—obviously them getting paid more. More funding for the schools is very, very important. I’m definitely all in for that because I believe education is key for a lot of things going on in society.”
Tim Cato (SB Nation) says the Thunder’s recent win streak is answering questions about them: “The schedule is still hard — their next nine games are all against teams in the playoff hunt, only for the final game of the year to come against the Memphis Grizzlies. Some games look easier now than on paper: the Boston Celtics are injury ravaged, and that’s Oklahoma City’s next opponent; Kawhi Leonard still might not be back for the San Antonio Spurs on March 29; who knows how hard the Golden State Warriors (April 3) and Houston Rockets (April 7) will be trying.”
Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) recaps the Thunder’s epic win in Toronto: “In a game like that, it’s always good to have the NBA’s most competitive, most relentless closer. Russell Westbrook took over down the stretch for the Thunder by scoring 17 of the team’s 19 points to close out the win, including a banked in jump shot from the left wing over Serge Ibaka with 11.7 seconds to go that made it a 4-point game. Prior to that, Westbrook continually attacked and got to his left hand, finishing with three layups going that direction in the final 3:18 of play after Toronto’s Kyle Lowry fouled out.”
Chris Thompson (Deadspin) on the impact Corey Brewer has had on the Thunder: “But this is as good a time as any to note that the Thunder are a truly fucking ridiculous 6-0 since they made Corey Brewer a starter. Corey Brewer. This was cute and funny when it was four straight, and three of the wins had come over Sacramento, Atlanta, and Phoenix, but it is no longer a laughing matter. Their last two wins have come over a desperate Clippers team and the NBA’s best home team. Again I want to stress that this was done while Corey Effing Brewerwas starting in their backcourt. He’s played more than 30 minutes in each of their last five games.” Continue reading NTTB Rumblings – 19 March 2018→