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Friday Bolts: 02.14.20

Friday Bolts: 02.14.20

The Thunder staved off a pre-All-Star slump that felt inevitable, beating the Pelicans in exciting fashion. Let Brandon Rahbar tell it.

I’m typically the glass half empty guy, but losing two home games in the middle of an eight-game road winning streak (tied for the franchise record) does not a “slump” make.

OKC didn’t exactly slow Zion Williamson down, as Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman) details in her notes from the game.

Oh, and this happened:

Jon Hamm joined the DT podcast this week to talk cap and Kardashians.

Speaking of the cap:

Erik Horne (The Athletic) on Lu Dort, the defender: “Dort worked his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame around a screen and dashed to get back in front of Lillard, who prepared to pull up for a jump shot. Dort contested and made the veteran hesitate. The next part was the most remarkable, something few rookies and even fewer players Dort’s size can do. When Lillard leaned in to absorb contact and draw a shooting foul, in a fraction of a second Dort was agile enough to get his body out of the way. Dort’s feet flashed out of Lillard’s landing zone like he was stepping off of hot coals. Lillard, bracing for contact, was thrown off.”

Nick Crain (Forbes) says Dort has earned a real NBA contract.

Sam Vecenie (The Athletic) has the Thunder selecting Jalen Smith (20), Tre Jones (26), and Nick Richards (50) in his latest 2020 mock draft: “If you limit it to just his last eight games, Smith is at 18.6 points and 11.8 rebounds. He’s been an absolute monster inside, has improved as a rim protector, throws down monstrously athletic dunks, and is genuinely starting to hit shots from 3. And in that latter vein, I fully buy him as a shooter now. The ball comes out of his hand cleanly. Now, there are a couple of concerns. First, is he something of a tweener — between the 4 and the 5? I buy him more as a rim protector than I did earlier this season, but I’m unclear if that’s going to hold up at the next level.”

Here’s a nifty look at where teams shoot their shots from, relative to league-wide trends (via r/nbadiscussions). No one pins the elbows to the page like Chris Paul and Dennis Schröder:

Royce Young (ESPN) on Victor Oladipo working to be “really” back, now that he’s back on the court.