Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season. Thank you for supporting Daily Thunder and what we’re trying to do around here. Learning more every day.
Olivia will be in later with your Rockets preview. Feel free to compliment the festive Bolts logo.
Brett Dawson on the Thunder’s eighth Christmas Day appearance: “Seattle’s NBA franchise went 0-11 in Christmas games. That lump of coal has turned into a sweet stocking stuffer since the team moved to Oklahoma City. The Thunder is 5-2 on the holiday in the OKC era and seeks a sixth Christmas win on Monday, when the Rockets visit.”
Jonathan Feigen (Houston Chronicle) on the Rockets’ health ahead of tonight’s game: “Rockets center Clint Capela improved significantly after missing consecutive games with a bruised left heel and was upgraded to questionable to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Guard Chris Paul was upgraded to doubtful with his strained groin muscle, though that also represents important improvement less than a week after he left last Wednesday’s game against the Lakers.”
Tim Bontemps (WaPo) on NBA Christmas Day challenging the NFL’s reign: “Catching the NFL in the ratings someday soon is still a massive long shot, but the NBA has established itself as the clear No. 2 in the American sporting landscape. Its current national television deal pays the sport $2.66 billion annually, more than a billion dollars more than that of Major League Baseball ($1.55 billion). And its Christmas strategy — the day is its biggest ratings performer of the regular season — is at least helping to threaten to close the gap on the leader, the NFL, which last year drew twice as many fans to its highest-rated Christmas Day game than the NBA’s top-rated game.”
Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony being open-minded about his new role: “Realizing that’s what it’s going to be, these are the type of shots I’m going to get, this is the type of offense we’re going to be running and accepting that, and working on that role. That’s something that I’ve kind of been doing over the past week, is allowing myself to accept that role and do whatever I gotta do to make this team win.”
Andre Snellings (ESPN) on why Melo’s role needs to change and how it could benefit the Thunder: “Look at the shots Anthony is taking, according to Second Spectrum: 22.8 percent are pull-up jumpers, and 15.5 percent are “shake and raise,” which means that a total of 38.3 percent of his shots are jumpers off the dribble. The pull-up jumper is the most frequent type of shot that Anthony takes, and he has just a 36.8 percent effective field goal percentage (eFG, which factors in the true value of 3s compared to 2s) on those shots.”
Aaron Falk (Salt Lake Tribune) on the OK3 showing love to Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell: “Westbrook doesn’t really talk to anybody. That kind of took me for a spin. I can’t say all of it,” Mitchell said of the conversation. “He did just say, ‘Keep going. Don’t stop.’”
Danny Chau (Ringer) on what the triple-double boom does to the NBA’s future: “Even if Westbrook does raise all of his averages to that perfect, round plateau, he will likely be on the outside looking in on the MVP discussion. The thrill of improbably rewriting history is gone. What’s left is a league and its observers wondering just how far the game can diverge from the norms established and reaffirmed over the past five decades. Westbrook’s play is both a product of his freedom and of the times. He has effectively broken the meaning of the numbers he’s accrued.”
Yahoo Sports picks the best NBA Christmas Day moments since 2000: “The NBA decided to reward the rising Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that had gone from talent-rich curiosity two seasons earlier to 50-win darlings in the 2009-10 campaign, with a Christmas Day showcase game in 2010, granting hoops-watching families the world over a nice, long look at Kevin Durant.”