Tuesday Bolts: 10.3.17

The Thunder will be without key pieces for tonight’s preseason opener in Tulsa: “Russell Westbrook, who is still recovering from platelet-rich plasma injections he received in his left knee shortly before the start of training camp, has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game in Tulsa, Okla., coach Billy Donovan said. Shooting guard Alex Abrines, who is nursing a mild left knee strain, and power forward Patrick Patterson, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, will also miss the Rockets game, per Donovan.”

Nick Gallo on Raymond Felton’s veteran impact at training camp: “From Semaj Christon to Terrance Ferguson and Alex Abrines to Daniel Hamilton, Felton has tried to help usher along the development of the Thunder’s young guards, who he believes have the talent to be contributors this season and in the years to come. ‘We’ve all been young before. We’ve all been on the basketball court when we go too fast,’ Felton said. ‘That’s all it is, it all comes with experience. Those guys are young but they’re all great players.’”

Jenni Carlson on who will/should lead the Thunder in scoring this season: “But now with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joining forces with Westbrook, the question about the Thunder’s leading scorer is back in play. Will it be George and his sweeter-than-honey shot? Will it be Anthony, who is one of the greatest shot creators the game has ever known? Or will it be Westbrook, who not only handles the ball but also carries the mantle of reigning MVP? For as juicy a bar-stool debate or water-cooler conversation as that creates, there’s a better question to be debated here. Who should be the Thunder’s leading scorer?”

David Aldridge (NBA.com) on Westbrook’s extension, what it means, and how it impacts the future: “According to a source, Paul George will give Oklahoma City an audience next summer. The source says George has been impressed by the culture of the Thunder and how meticulous general manager Sam Presti and the organization are in building the roster and the franchise. George was impressed that the front office “had the (guts),” in the source’s words, to put everything on the line in getting him, and followed it up by getting Anthony without giving up any of the team’s core group. Now, both George and Anthony know that the reigning league Kia MVP will be in OKC.”

Danny Chau (The Ringer) on the best case/worst case scenarios for the Thunder: “Best-Case Scenario: The Thunder take the Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference finals on the back of one of the best starting lineups in the league—and unlike in 2016, they seal the deal…. Worst-Case Scenario: Anthony struggles to adapt to the first complementary role in his NBA career, George develops a wandering eye as the Thunder disappointingly fill a low-seeded playoff spot, and it becomes, once again, Russ all alone.”

Eric Pincus (B/R) on what Westbrook’s extension does to the Lakers: “Some in the Lakers front office expected Westbrook to extend, but until he did, the chance of him becoming a free agent next summer remained, and so, too, remained the chance the the Lakers could fill a max slot with Westbrook. That hope is now extinguished, raising internal fears that Johnson and Pelinka may repeat the mistakes made by Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak.”

Danny Leroux (Sporting News) on how Westbrook’s deal sends a ripple effect through the NBA: “While it can be hard to quantify, Westbrook’s extension also frames this season for both George and Anthony. Each can experience these 82 games (and playoffs, presumably) as a test run of sorts for a potential commitment of their own. Both have the choice of whether to be unrestricted free agents in 2018 and will have their share of intriguing suitors, but now Oklahoma City can pitch them on a long-term opportunity they will know from firsthand experience.”

The Rockets are ready for Carmelo Anthony tonight in Tulsa: “After a summer filled with speculation that he would be traded in a deal to bring Carmelo Anthony to Houston, when the preseason schedule opens Tuesday in Tulsa, Ryan Anderson will be matched up with Anthony, bringing him face-to-face with reminders of the rumors that seemed left behind when Anthony was instead dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder. With other things to do than consider what might have been, the Rockets will face the Thunder to find the kinks and begin the preseason work to repair them. But Anderson could chuckle at the way things worked out, finding that preferable than lamenting much of an offseason in which he seemed in limbo.”

It all starts tonight: Tip-off is at 7 PM CT on NBA TV, and also streaming live on the Thunder website/app.

Good morning Tulsa. It’s game day. #OKC10

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