Monday Bolts: 10.9.17

Royce Young recaps the Thunder’s preseason win over Melbourne United: “Russell Westbrook said Saturday that he wasn’t expecting “s—” from Melbourne United of Australia’s professional basketball league. He definitely wasn’t expecting a one-point win as the Thunder needed two blocks in the final six seconds from Josh Huestis to hold on 86-85.”

Erik Horne on Russell Westbrook not being worried about OKC’s chemistry: “I think one thing that’s key for everybody to know, especially you guys… you guys keep asking about the chemistry every damn day … we’re gonna get it together,” Westbrook said. “It’s a season-long thing. It’s not gonna happen overnight.”

Zach Lowe (ESPN) puts the NBA into tiers: “Hoping For An Ankle Sprain: Cavs, Thunder, Rockets, Spurs. Oklahoma City could pivot the other way, and slide Patterson to center if Adams has trouble scampering around against Golden State’s offense. That would blow the lane wide open for Westbrook’s rampaging drives, and allow the Thunder to use Roberson, the only non-shooter left, as a screen-and-dive guy — an important tactic if the Warriors stash Curry on him. Anthony’s bully-ball post game gives the Thunder access to Cleveland’s old caveman plan: slow the game, hunt mismatches, and go to work.”

Michael Lee (The Vertical) on a rejuvenated Carmelo Anthony: “This is just me. This is Melo having fun again. This is Melo being motivated again. This is Melo having pieces around him who he can play off of and who they can play off of,” Anthony told The Vertical. “This is something that I’ve always wanted. At the end of the day, it’s basketball for me. With basketball, you make adjustments.”

Brett Dawson with a great piece on “Olympic Melo’s” opportunity in OKC: “Now for the first time in his career, Anthony is sharing a stateside court with the kind of talent he’s teamed with in the summer games. And as he prepares for his first season alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, the Thunder is hoping for some Olympic Melo magic in Oklahoma City. “I witnessed it. I’ve seen it,” said Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, an Olympic teammate in 2012. ‘If he turns into that Melo, they’re going to be a really, really nice team.’

Horne on OKC’s offensive rebounding: “The Thunder has ranked No. 1 in the NBA in offensive rebounds the past three seasons. That figured to drop with Kanter and his 2.7 offensive rebound per game getting traded to the Knicks. Entering Sunday, the Thunder had 13 offensive rebounds in two games. It finished with 15 against Melbourne, which contributed to getting to the free throw line 31 times.”

Carmelo Anthony & Patrick Patterson both made B/R’s list of top 15 power forwards: “Patrick Patterson’s offseason arthroscopic procedure doesn’t remove him from consideration. He’s too good for reachy caveats. Oklahoma City can, and should, use him as a lineup supercharger…. Finally, at long last, Carmelo Anthony is where he belongs—at the 4. ‘He’s going to start the power forward spot for us,’ Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said, per ESPN.com’s Royce Young. ‘That’s what he’s going to do.'”

Rob Mahoney (SI) on the Thunder potentially being the best answer to Golden State: “Best case: OKC pans out as the West’s best answer for the Warriors, matching up to give the defending champs a real series. Worst case: None of the Thunder’s three stars appear especially comfortable with their arrangement. Attempts to take over and attempts to politely defer both fall flat.”