Logan Meyer (Daily Thunder) gets us started with a deep-dive on your favorite player’s favorite player — Lu Dort. “OKC has definitely had its memorable cult heroes, as well. Nick Collison, AKA Mr. Thunder, was a charge taking extraordinaire, plus minus king, pick n roll maestro off the bench, and culture standard bearer for OKC. Eric Maynor was a buzzer beating savant during his time in OKC. Enes Kanter championed OKC against slights, and was part of the beloved Stache Brothers. Dion Waiters brought immense swagger and Philly toughness. Hasheem Thabeet was a brilliant bench mob hype conductor. Fast forward to the present, and OKC has discovered its newest cult hero: Lu Dort.”
Dan Devine (The Ringer) hands out some more imaginary awards from the NBA season’s “Third Quarter”, and some love to OKC. “The Yooooo! Award for Most Pleasant Surprise of the Quarter: The Thunder! Shame on me for finding this surprising. After all, I wrote a couple of months ago about how dope it is that Oklahoma City has turned what many expected to be a gap year into an exceedingly fun playoff push. I guess I just figured that, at some point, something would reach out, grab the Thunder, and pull them down. Maybe an injury to a key veteran. Perhaps some growing pains for 21-year-old ace Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or some shooting regression for career-year-haver Schröder, or some stumbling from the many young athletic wing types Billy Donovan is deploying—guys like Bazley, Dort, and Hamidou Diallo. Turns out, I was wrong. (Imagine that!) Rather than slowing down, Oklahoma City went 15-6 during Q3, tied for the fourth-best winning percentage in the league during that span. Rather than fading away, the Thunder are still here, still stacking Ws with crunch-time guile and panache, still somehow on pace for the 50 wins that Russell Westbrook and Paul George couldn’t deliver during their two-season test drive.”
PSA: with the popular NBA Highlight YouTube channel “Dawkins” no longer available (boo) I’d like to recommend “Smart Highlights” for any of you looking for high-quality footage of players and games. Here’s SGA’s night in Detroit.
With OKC playing tonight at Madison Square Garden here’s a throwback to a fun Russ moment on Christmas Day 2013.