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.”
Tim Keown (ESPN) on the evolution of Carmelo Anthony’s game: “The world has moved on, and he’s trying to move with it. Lord knows he’s trying. But for 15 years, Carmelo Anthony has tied his worth to what he can create from this one spot. It has given him 10 All-Star appearances and a scoring title and a cosmopolitan lifestyle that comes with nearly $250 million in career earnings. He drinks only the best wine and smokes only the best cigars and is close enough with Barack Obama that the two of them are in the process of finalizing Anthony’s future role in the Obama Foundation. It has also created divisions on teams, serial conflicts with coaches and none of the postseason success that his talent seemed to portend when he left Syracuse in 2003 after one championship season.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”