The Oklahoma City Thunder nabbed the most improbable win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Brandon Rahbar’s recap covers the madness.
I still can’t believe Chris Paul got a technical foul called on Jordan Bell and the T-Wolves:
I also can’t believe that Steven Adams dropped this dime right into Dennis Schroder’s breadbasket for the game-tying shot:
Royce Young’s (ESPN) recap of the Friday fun is worth a read. “I ain’t never been a part of something like that,” [Karl-Anthony’ Towns said. “I’ve been a part of a lot of basketball games in my life, but never seen something like that happen. And I’m not talking about the call, I’m just talking about the execution of everything going down.”
For an encore to the thrilling overtime win, the Thunder won just their third game away from Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sunday. Rahbar recaps the victory over the Portland Trailblazers.
Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman) delves into how the Thunder found a way to win in Portland. “The last time the Thunder came to Portland, it lost 136-119. The last time the Thunder came to Portland, the Trail Blazers made their first 12 shots. Not this time. On Sunday, Hassan Whiteside made the Trail Blazers’ first shot. Then Portland guard Damian Lillard missed a 3-pointer. Thunder guard Abdel Nader drove to the rim, drew a foul and tied up the game with free throws. Lillard turned the ball over.”
Oklahoma City has yet to lose with Abdel Nader in the starting lineup.
Marcus Kwesi O’Mard (NESN) reports that a Steven Adams for Gordon Hayward swap would “change the Eastern Conference.” What’s most interesting is that Amin Elhassan, a former front-office executive for the Pheonix Suns and now NBA analyst for ESPN, called Adams’s contract “very affordable.”
With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at times struggling with consistency, Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman) details the text message advice that SGA received from his trainer, Olin Simplis. “Olin Simplis promised Shai Gilgeous-Alexander two weeks ago that this was the last basketball-related text message of the year. ‘Go back to being Shai,’ it read.”
ICYMI: Deonte Burton was suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Young reported that the suspension was the result of a locker room argument between Burton and a teammate after a loss to the Indiana Pacers. Word on the street the teammate was a Dennis a Schroder.
Darius Bazley is playing a key role for the development of the New Balance basketball brand, writes Ruben Palacios (CBS Sports). “Bazley could’ve been like every other elite high school basketball player. He was a five-star recruit who at one point was committed to playing college basketball at Syracuse. Playing college ball wasn’t in the cards for Bazley, who de-committed from Syracuse and decided his path to the NBA would be one of a kind. In a completely unprecedented development, Bazley signed a multi-year endorsement deal with New Balance in October of 2018 that included a three-month internship at the brand’s Boston headquarters.”
Speaking of Bazley, John Hollinger (The Athletic) mentions Bazley as one of the silver linings from the “train wreck” that is the 2019 draft class. “Bazley hasn’t been productive, per se, but the Oklahoma City teenager has shown why the Thunder picked him – he can handle the ball well for his size, his shot isn’t broken, and he’s a decent athlete who can guard second-unit forwards. The skin-and-bones frame he showed as a high schooler is filling out, too. The Thunder are blessing him with rotation minutes despite his uneven early results, but he hasn’t been so bad as to force their hand either.”