Wednesday Bolts: 3.14.18

Nick Gallo recaps last night’s win in Atlanta: “For the third consecutive game, the Thunder lost a starter to minor injury midway through the contest. Once again it followed the lead of its floor general, rallied together and took care of business down the stretch. Center Steven Adams was out with a hip contusion from the get-go against the Atlanta Hawks, and after Paul George went down with a groin injury in the third quarter, the Thunder was missing two starters. That was no matter for the Thunder, as Russell Westbrook coordinated a group of Carmelo Anthony, Corey Brewer, Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant on a 16-0 run during a four-minute span to break a 103-103 tie with 5:15 to go to help generate a 119-107 Thunder victory.”

Royce Young on Russell Westbrook, history, and the triple-doubles that got him to 100: “He didn’t really become the triple-double king until the 2014-15 season, when Kevin Durant was injured for most of the year, giving us all a small taste of what Scorched Earth Russ looked like and what was to come; 93 of his 100 have come since the 2014-15 season. “Damn. I think I’ve got like two,” Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony said. “Just to be a part of something like that … I don’t know, that’s working. A hundred triple-doubles, that’s working.” Any time there’s a hundred of something, there’s a lot to choose from, but here are some of the most memorable moments from Westbrook hitting triple-digits on career triple-doubles.”

ESPN looked at the stats behind Westbrook’s 100 triple-doubles: “Since coming into the league in 2008-09, Westbrook has more than twice as many triple-doubles as any other franchise. And looking beyond the scope of Westbrook’s career, he has more triple-doubles than 23 of the other 29 active franchises do … all-time! Only the Sacramento Kings (267), Los Angeles Lakers (258), Boston Celtics (203), Philadelphia 76ers(140), Golden State Warriors (128) and Brooklyn Nets (104) have more than Westbrook’s 100.”

Royce Young on Paul George’s groin injury: “Paul George said he’s “all right” and expects to be able to play Friday against the LA Clippers after leaving with a groin injury in the third quarter of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 119-107 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday. “Yeah, I’ll be all right, I’ll be all right,” George said. “It’s three days until the game, three or four days, so I’ll be all right.” George will be re-evaluated on Wednesday back in Oklahoma City. “We’re going to closely monitor it, be cautious,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.”

Erik Horne on Jerami Grant’s big night in Atlanta: “The Hawks shot 57.7 percent in the paint in the first half before Donovan elected to start Jerami Grant in the second half, when the Thunder’s interior defense tightened up. Grant responded in a huge way, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the second half to go with five rebounds and two drawn charges, taking his tally to 17 on the season. With Grant playing the entire third quarter, the Thunder only allowed 8-of-22 shooting to the Hawks and only put Atlanta to the line twice after allowing 18 free throws attempts in the first half.”

Brett Dawson looks at the updated Western Conference standings: “The Thunder got off to a sluggish start, but some solid second-half defense and Russell Westbrook’s 1o0th career triple-double kept OKC in the No. 4 spot.”

Rohan Nadkarni (SI) on the Thunder’s playoff chase: “OKC may have found something with the addition of Corey Brewer, however. In 61 minutes over four games, the Russ-PG-Melo-Brewer-Adams lineup has a net rating of 18.0, with both an elite offense and stingy defense. What worries me about OKC is the team has only two wins over an above-.500 team since the start of February and one of those came against the wounded Spurs. Of the Thunder’s 13 remaining games, 11 are against winning teams. OKC will have to play the Raptors and Celtics on the road, as well as the Blazers, Warriors, and Rockets. Those are the five best teams in the league. How the Thunder fare could ultimately depend on if the Corey Brewer-magic can last.”

Moke Hamilton (USA Today) on the Thunder’s rest days moving forward: “On Friday, they’ll begin a stretch of 11 consecutive games against teams that have winning records and obviously need to win as many of those as possible. One pro to the remaining schedule, however, is the fact that the Thunder, by virtue of having played a league-leading 70 games through March 14, will enjoy a schedule that’s a bit more spread out than many of their competitors.”

Daily Thunder community post (Hawks recap from Dan!): “Just as I’m talking to Pops about the precarious position in which OKC has found itself in its post-Harden, post-KD instantiation, news flashes across the ESPN ticker that the Green Bay Packers have released Jordy Nelson. Without spending too much – or, really, any – time on what this means for our family of Packer Backers, this all-too-familiar transaction in sports captures the emotional precarity of both the life of an athlete and the life of a fan. There’s no such thing as deep time in sports; rather, there’s merely deep feeling and a cruel ebb and flow of potential and legitimacy. “87 plus 12 equals 6,” Pops muses. How lucky we are to have such moments make sense.”

Around the League: LeBron picked up his 14th triple-double of the season…. Steph Curry is out at least another week…. Toronto picked up win number 50 on the season…. The Pacers took down Philly and still have the East’s three-seed…. How Julius Randle is changing the narrative and his future…. USA Today’s MVP rankings.

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