Friday Bolts – 2.17.17

Berry Tramel: “Here’s more reason to worry about the assists. Rebounding is very much a question of will. Do you want to go get the ball? Sometimes, it’s easy to think of rebounding as just the ball bouncing your way. But it’s not. That’s like thinking in baseball that the ball is hit in the direction of a fielder, so he makes the play. But over 162 games, that’s not what happens. Balls are hit, and really good fielders go scoop up the grounder or catch the fly; mediocre fielders let some of those balls get by or drop. Westbrook wants the ball. His tireless passion produces rebounds. It’s rather incredible. Behind Westbrook, the NBA point guard with the most rebounds per game is the Clippers’ Chris Paul, who is averaging 5.3 rebounds a game. Westbrook basically doubles that. Keeping Westbrook from a rebound is not for the faint of heart. But assists are a different story. Westbrook fires a pass, and it’s not just the ball that’s out of his hands. It’s control. Westbrook can’t make the baskets off his own passes. Believe me, if he could, he would. But he has to pass and hope that his pals can stick ball through the hoop.”

Erik Horne: “Alex Abrines stood in the crowded hallway of the downtown Ritz Carlton wearing green Mardi Gras beads around his wrist, when Domantas Sabonis had to translate into Spanish to explain to his teammate how certain parade goers get a pair of beads. It drew a confused look from Abrines, then a familiar-feeling laugh between the two. They were teammates as teenagers in Malaga, Spain. They’re teammates on the Thunder, each in his first NBA season.”

Steve Kerr is considering playing Russ with four Warriors.

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com: “Some arenas drop bundled T-shirts from parachutes released along the catwalk above the court. It’s a tranquil, less predictable riff on the T-shirt toss and T-shirt gun — you never know where the breeze will take the shirt, and you have time to track its trajectory. The Pistons drop boxed slices of pizza from parachutes. I do not trust parachute pizza. I don’t know enough about its origins, or how long it has been on the catwalk. I would back away from a floating treat like a cowardly big man sidestepping a Blake Griffin dunk.”

Anthony Davis shot down the idea he’d team up with Russ in LA.

Nathaniel Friedman for GQ: “At some point on Sunday, Westbrook will likely share the court with Durant and maybe even some of the other four Warriors on the West. It’s almost laughable to imagine Russ willingly give up the ball in this situation. Then again, if the last two years are any indication, Westbrook scarcely needed that kind of incentive to wreak havoc. While it’s a mistake to call Westbrook selfish or an egoist, he has trouble trusting anyone and is inclined to view even someone on his side with suspicion. On the Thunder, we’ve seen what happens when he’s surrounded by a squad he’s accepted as his people. The All-Star Game is another matter altogether. It’s not an opportunity to prove he’s better than his peers. For Russell Westbrook, it will be just another night of basketball, which means he’ll respond with characteristic virulence.”