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April 27, 2021
The news just keeps getting better for Oklahoma City’s tank. The Thunder lost their 14th game in a row on Monday night, tying a franchise record set in the team’s inaugural season.
Oklahoma City also got an assist from D’Angelo Russell, who pushed the T-Wolves to yet another stunning win over the Utah Jazz. The Pistons, Kings and Raptors also notched wins on Monday night.
With 11 games remaining, the Thunder sit just two games out of a top-3 lottery seed. It seems unlikely OKC will be able to jump two of Minnesota, Detroit and Orlando, but stranger things have happened. And it’s certainly not off the table, which is all you can ask for at this point in the season.
– Spenser Davis
Aleksej Pokusevski continues to flash incredible skills, including this floater out of a pick-and-roll that he made on Monday night vs. Philly (via @ThunderFilmRoom).
The Athletic re-drafted the 2020 NBA Draft lottery on Monday. Sam Vecenie picked Pokusevski at No. 7 overall, and considered him at No. 4.
Ty Jerome scored 22 points on Monday night vs. Philadelphia. That’s one off his career high, which he set back on April 8 vs. Cleveland.
OKC turned it over 28 times vs. Philly, setting a new franchise record.
Oklahoma City added another player over the weekend, signing Charlie Brown Jr. to a 10-day contract. The memes have been as good as you’d hope for.
New signing Gabriel Deck is still having immigration issues, according to the Thunder. He’s still likely to suit up for the team at some point this season.
April 29, 2021
So The Thunder won on Tuesday. In hindsight, this was inevitable — a competent organization like Oklahoma City losing more than 14 or so games is pretty rare in the NBA. Sometimes, just playing hard every night is enough to pull off an upset — especially this time of year.
With Cleveland’s loss on Wednesday night, OKC is now tied with the Cavs for the fifth best lottery odds. Sacramento is still four games clear, so the Thunder are virtually guaranteed to finish in the top six.
But that’s enough lottery talk for now. I want to use this space to talk about Lu Dort, who scored 24 points vs. Boston. It’s been on an objectively low sample size, but Dort has broken out in the month of April.
So far in six games — while battling through injury — Dort is averaging 25.7 points per game on an astounding 60.7 percent true shooting percentage. His offensive rating is 117. He’s shooting 45.7 percent from 3-point range. He’s attempting nearly eight free throws a contest. Again, only a six-game sample size — but those are All-Star numbers if extrapolated over a full season. It’s an encouraging leap for a player taking on a much greater role in the offense due to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s injury.
There’s 11 games left in the season. In addition to watching for moments of brilliance from Aleksej Pokusevski, I’ll be tracking Dort’s production. Is this explosion of offense just a blip on the radar, or a sign of significant progress? Somewhere inbetween? Only time will tell.
– Spenser Davis
Lu Dort scored 24 points in Oklahoma City’s win over Boston on Tuesday, including a career-high 11 made free throws. He’s now averaging 14 points per game this season.
Oklahoma City’s win over Boston snapped a franchise-tying 14-game losing streak. After the game, Dort said he predicted the win.
Darius Bazley continued his hot streak vs. the Celtics, scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He’s now scored 20+ points in four of his last five games. This was his first double-double since March 4.
Aleksej Pokusevski shook off his recent shooting slump in OKC’s win over Boston, scoring 12 points. It was Poku’s first time to score in double figures since April 8.
Phoenix officially clinched a playoff berth on Wednesday night. It’s the Suns’ first time in the postseason since 2009-10.
The Kings suffered their worst home loss in franchise history on Wednesday, falling 154-105 to the Utah Jazz. According to The Salt Lake Tribune’s Andy Larsen, 154 points is the most scored in a regulation game that didn’t involve the Houston Rockets since 2008.