The Thunder seem their eight-game win streak fade in Portland as OKC fails to make any big plays in crunchtime. Keep reading »
Anthony Slater: “Entering the season, there was an understandable concern regarding Jeremy Lamb’s efficiency. In brief stretches last year, he shot 35 percent. And in the preseason, that number dipped even lower. So smart money suggested that Lamb was destined to be a high-volume scorer in the making, needing plenty of shots to pile up substantial points. But 17 games in, it hasn’t been that way. Lamb is shooting a respectable 46 percent overall and 40 percent from three. And lately, he’s been even more impressive, making 54 percent of his shots (37-of-68) over the past eight games.”
Ben Golliver of Blazersedge: “Stotts and his players weren’t sold on the notion that the angry outburst turned things, and indeed the Thunder were in position to potentially win until the very end, thanks to Durant and 20 combined points from Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson off the bench. If the technical foul wasn’t a fulcrum, it was a jolt, at the very least. The Blazers committed just four turnovers in the second half (after committing seven in the first half) and allowed just five second-chance points (after conceding 15 in the first half). Portland shot 50 percent in the second half after shooting 40 percent in the first half.” Keep Reading…
You can look at it this way: Second night of a back-to-back on the road against a team that was 15-3 and if Kevin Durant sinks a wide open 3 with 1:13 left and the Thunder down one, we’re talking about maybe the best win of the season.
Or you can look at it this way: The Thunder are now 0-4 in games they’ve been the underdog and played an infuriatingly stupid 48 minutes of basketball, doing the kinds of things that will get you beat in a playoff game. Like having only 11 assists, or allowing 16 offensive rebounds.
Fact is, the Thunder had an excellent opportunity to win this game, despite playing incredibly dumb basketball for the majority of it. They often survive purely off of athleticism and talent, and that’s what they were doing in Portland tonight. Even with elementary offensive execution, shaky lineup choices and critical defensive lapses, with 4:22 left the Thunder are up one. Durant had that clean look at a daggerish 3, and a Kendrick Perkins illegal screen wiped out a possession down one with 37 seconds left. Keep Reading…
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.1 (12th), Blazers – 111.3 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.2 (5th), Blazers – 106.0 (21st)
Pace: Thunder – 96.5 (5th), Blazers – 93.5 (18th)
Boy, I am excited about this game. For one, the Blazers are a fun team and it’s always great to watch a game at the Rose Garden where their fans are as passionate as any fanbase. But for two, it’s a big one in the scheme of both the Western Conference and Northwest Division. The Blazers are still trying to convince everyone that they’re to be taken very seriously, while we know who the Thunder are, which means Portland only has more motive. Keep Reading…
Probably because the scars are still showing from the James Harden trade, Thunder fans are already starting to worry and wonder what’s going to happen with Reggie Jackson. With each bucket he makes, particularly in fourth quarters of close games, fans aren’t hearing the thawck of a swish — they’re hearing cha-ching that’s a Thunder… player about to get too expensive.
It’s absolutely too early to really think about this seeing as Jackson isn’t eligible for an extension off his rookie scale deal until July 1 of next summer. And if no extension is reached there prior to Oct. 31 (sound familiar?), he’d become a restricted free agent July 1, 2015. Meaning, the Thunder would have the ability to match on any offer sheet he signs.
But again, the fear is increasing as Jackson puts up lines like 23 points on 10-14 shooting, 18 on 8-11 and 13 on 5-10, looking like all his game is missing is an over-the-top beard. Keep Reading…
David Thorpe of ESPN Insider: “It’s not a complete shock that Adams is showing this potential, as he was a late lottery pick, but it has been a pleasant surprise that he is affecting games already. He is only 20 years old (and will be for the entire season), meaning his future is bright if he can stick to what he is doing now. For the Thunder to be able to draft a likely starter late in the lottery in this class is also a surprise. The best part is the fit for Adams in OKC, considering the Thunder’s personalities and stars. Adams is the genuine article; tough, strong and only looking to do his job, he’s exactly what the Thunder needed.”
Anthony Slater: “Down the stretch, Scott Brooks went with my favorite of his lineups: Russell Westbrook – Reggie Jackson – Jeremy Lamb – Kevin Durant – Serge Ibaka. What a dynamic and versatile group. All five are 25 or younger. All five have elite athleticism. All five can be disruptive on defense. And all five bring something different and useful to the table offensively. They cause so many matchup problems and can play so many styles. I wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes Brooks’ common go-to closing five by playoff time.” Keep Reading…
Heading into the fourth quarter Tuesday against the Kings, the Thunder appeared to be positioning themselves nicely to give the starters a good break ahead of a big game tomorrow against the Trail Blazers. They led 79-65, and picked right up where they left out, extending their run to 18-0, taking total control.
Then Isaiah Thomas outscored them 21-19 in the fourth quarter.
It was one of those games where it didn’t really seem in doubt, until the Kings had the ball down two with 15 seconds left. And with the way Thomas was ballin’ out, a dagger 3 seemed imminent. Russell Westbrook took the assignment, stayed disciplined on a pump fake and contested well to force Thomas to miss short. A good win that got cloudy there in the last four minutes.
The game started horribly for OKC as the Kings jumped out to a 14-2 lead with the Thunder starting 1-12 from the field, which included missing 11 straight shots. And it finished just as miserably. Everything in between was really good, but a bad start and a bad finish nearly cost them. Keep Reading…
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.2 (11th), Kings – 103.7 (15th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.5 (5th), Kings – 107.8 (27th)
Pace: Thunder – 96.5 (5th), Kings – 92.9 (22nd)
After completing an impressive 6-0 stand, the Thunder kick off a little road jaunt with three against the Kings, Blazers and Pelicans, before returning home to take on the mighty Pacers. It’s a stretch of five of six away from home, and while one might expect five of six wins, it won’t be a successful stretch unless you take care of the ones against teams like the Kings. Keep Reading…
David Thorpe on TrueHoop TV today, just raving about Steven Adams:
“He’s a gigantic, strong seven-foot man that is absolutely tough to his core. He just plays with a ferociousness and calmness. Perkins is ferocious, but emotional. Adams is ferocious and poised. I think it’s a huge get for Oklahoma City. He’s a guy that I think ultimately starts for them. If Scott Brooks was willing to be more flexible, he might start for them this year, but clearly he’s their long-term center. He’s a perfect guy for them and I think he helps their culture from a toughness standpoint. He’s just so physically dominant and tough, and again, it’s not an act.”
To which Henry Abbott pondered, if Adams is their starting center of the future, and he’s this good, it has to alter some of the perception around the James Harden trade, right? Then Thorpe tees off like Tiger on a Par 5: Keep Reading…