A six-game winning streak. First in the Northwest Division. An MVP contender. The good times keep rolling for the Thunder. THREE GOOD THINGS Andre Roberson. The biggest complaint about Roberson is his painfully obvious Keep reading »
The Thunder improved to 14-8 with their sixth consecutive win tonight against the Hawks. This looked like a decisive Thunder win midway the third quarter, but the Hawks scrapped their way back into the Keep reading »
As the Oklahoma City Thunder head into December on an extended break (3 days off in the NBA is an extended break), there are still questions surrounding the team. They’ve played about a quarter Keep reading »
Jordan Conn of The Ringer: ‘After Thunder wins, Westbrook sometimes ventures out. Locals say that they’ve seen him more often around the city, and at least a couple of times, he has shown up at Durant’s old haunt, Deep Deuce Grill. He’s been known to arrive alongside Andre Roberson and Cameron Payne, and together they’ll get a table and eat and laugh, unobtrusive and undisturbed. Eventually, they’ll leave, and Westbrook will take care of the bill. Afterward, the restaurant’s servers say, they notice one big difference between Westbrook’s visits and the visits from Durant and his crew. Westbrook leaves much bigger tips.”
Erik Horne: “Westbrook hasn’t been the only explosive player during the Thunder’s six-game winning streak. Alongside Westbrook’s string of six triple-doubles has been Oladipo’s dynamic all-around play. Headed into the season, the Oladipo-Westbrook tandem was being talked about as arguably the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. While Oladipo had shown flashes in his 21 games leading into Monday’s one-off road contest in Atlanta, no play had detonated like his jam on Howard. It was such an emphatic dunk – Oladipo throwing his hands toward the Thunder bench, polishing off the celebration with a high leg kick – he lost his gum on the play.” Keep Reading…
Chris Barnewall of Fansided: “It turns out maybe the Magic should have kept Oladipo for one more year, or perhaps he just needed a change of scenery because the jump everybody has been waiting for may finally be happening. He’s not quite the superstar player Orlando was hoping for, but the most noticeable improvements of his career are beginning to show on a nightly basis. No longer tasked with carrying an entire offense, Oladipo is able to focus less on creating and more on taking advantage of a defense focused elsewhere. He’s still shooting just as many times this season as he was in Orlando, but there’s more of a purpose to it. It doesn’t feel like pointless chucking anymore.”
Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal: “It seems to be working so far: Oklahoma City is clearly one of the better teams in the NBA. The only problem is what’s happened in the past. None of the players who were relied on as much as Westbrook had their seasons end well. In 1987, before he was teammates with Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan was used on 38.3% of Chicago’s possessions. The Bulls lost in the first round of the playoffs. In 2006, between his stints with Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant was used on 38.7% of Los Angeles’s possessions. The Lakers lost in the first round of the playoffs. And in 2015, with Durant injured, Westbrook was used on 38.4% of Oklahoma City’s possessions. The Thunder missed the playoffs altogether.” Keep Reading…
A six-game winning streak. First in the Northwest Division. An MVP contender. The good times keep rolling for the Thunder.
THREE GOOD THINGS
Andre Roberson. The biggest complaint about Roberson is his painfully obvious lack of an offensive game. Roberson had a bit of an awakening in the Western Conference Finals last playoffs, becoming a real weapon as a roll man in the pick and roll, but still a three-point shot eluded him. This season, though, Roberson seems to be taking a step forward, even if slight. Though his conversion rate is only slightly above last season’s 31% (he’s making 32% so far this season), the bigger surprise is his improved confidence taking the three. So far, Roberson is putting up nearly 3 per game, nearly twice as many as he averaged last season. Keep Reading…
Foul shooting has started to become an issue: “The Thunder took 26 foul shots Sunday night against the Pelicans. The Thunder made 13. That’s not good. Not good in the NBA. Not good in college. Not good in high school. Frankly not all that good for junior high. A team of 12-year-olds that made 13 of 26 foul shots in a game probably would spend a decent amount of time next practice at the foul line. Yet there was the Thunder, playing with matches, threatening to lose a game it had well in hand, all because it failed to make a decent amount of foul shots. And it’s a troubling trend, both this season and long-term for OKC.”
I thought we were doing pretty well from deep. I guess not: “The Thunder took 28 shots from three, making only six. The worst part isn’t that OKC missed 22 shots from three. Rather, it’s that it gave the Pelicans the upper hand in the first quarter, especially since New Orleans scored off of each of the 15 missed threes. Despite the horrid three point shooting from the Thunder, it is not the worst on record. That honor belongs to the Denver Nuggets, who in 2012, shot 0-of-22 from three against Portland. It’s no secret that the NBA is becoming a long-bomb league. It was just over a week ago that the Houston Rockets set an NBA record attempting 50 three’s against the Sacramento Kings. That said, the Thunder are guilty of falling in love with the three ball at times as well.” Keep Reading…
The Thunder improved to 14-8 with their sixth consecutive win tonight against the Hawks. This looked like a decisive Thunder win midway the third quarter, but the Hawks scrapped their way back into the game. Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a three-pointer on the final play of the game, which would’ve forced overtime. That last possession for the Hawks was pretty terrible and OKC dodged a massive Kyle Korver bullet to tie the game.
Okay, so this win wasn’t super convincing for the Thunder, but it’s still impressive considering this was the back end of a home/road back-to-back. Those are often considered “schedule(d) losses” for any team that’s not considered a championship contender, but Westbrook doesn’t care about any of that. Westbrook got his sixth straight triple-double tonight by the middle of the 3rd quarter; his eleventh triple-double of the season. I can’t even think of a good enough hyperbole to iterate how incredible he’s playing. Tonight’s insane stat line for Russ consists of 32 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Russ scored 27 points in the second half and he led both teams in points, rebounds, and assists tonight. Are we sure he’s actually a human? Keep Reading…
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Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats)
A lot of Oklahoma City Thunder’s recent success in their last 5 games will be heaped upon Russell Westbrook, and deservedly so. The Thunder point guard has triple-doubled five games in a row and the Thunder have come out on the high side in every one of those contests. He now has 10 triple-doubles in total for the season and is in the top-10 for each one of the triple-double categories. Yes, a 6’3″ point guard is No. 9 in the league in rebound average at 10.8 per game. Keep Reading…
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