4 min read

Friday Bolts: 1.19.18

Friday Bolts: 1.19.18

Brett Dawson on no Thunder players being named All-Star starters: “The Thunder might be represented at the NBA All-Star Game, but the team won’t have a starter. Russell Westbrook finished fourth among Western Conference guards in fan voting and third in voting by both players and media, released on Thursday. That wasn’t enough to get the Oklahoma City point guard a starting spot. Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Houston’s James Harden were the top two vote-getters among Western Conference guards, and they’ll be in the pool of 10 players who will start the game.”

Tim Bontemps (WaPo) picks Russell Westbrook, leaves out Paul George on his list of deserved All-Star reserves: “No, Westbrook isn’t playing at the same level he was last season, even if he is on the verge of averaging another triple-double (24.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.9 assists). But the Thunder is a staggering 12 points per 100 possessions better with Westbrook on the court than when he is on the bench.”

Moke Hamilton (USA Today) on Steven Adams receiving more All-Star votes than Blake Griffin & others: “What’s more interesting, though, is the fact that Adams ended up finishing 11th among frontcourt players in the Western Conference. Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, somewhat remarkably, finished 10th. While we would agree that finishing 10th or 11th seems a bit low, it’s worth pointing out that the “frontcourt” designation essentially clumps small forwards, power forwards and centers into one convenient category.”

Steve Aschburner (NBA.com) grades the Thunder’s first half of the season: “Overall Grade: C- // The Thunder were 25-18 at a similar point last season, when Westbrook had so little help according to critics of the OKC roster then. So now he has serious Hall of Fame-bound help and they’re two games worse? Doesn’t make sense. The creation of “OK3” at least got Westbrook to extend his contract and stay, but it was supposed to be about so much more. The players and coaches are taking the heat for now, but Sam Presti and the front office will be next to feel it. ”

Erik Horne on the Thunder’s progress in correcting its third quarter defense: “During the Thunder’s three-game winning streak, its defense has made a habit of self-correction at halftime, making stunning adjustments that go against its season-long struggles in the third quarter. Wednesday’s win against the Lakers was the third-consecutive game the Thunder’s defense had a bounceback third quarter defensively after a scrambled first half. For the third consecutive game, the Thunder held its opponent under 40 points in the second half, each time keeping its opponent to 20 or fewer points in the third quarter.”

Brett Dawson on strength & perseverance being the key to Steven Adams’ offensive rebounding: “The 7-foot, 255-pound Adams is averaging 5.1 offensive rebounds per game this season, the most in the NBA. He rebounds 17 percent of Oklahoma City’s misses, also tops in the league. For all the physical gifts that requires, those numbers also owe something to Adams’ mentality. As Thunder coach Billy Donovan noted on Wednesday, for Adams to put up those numbers, he has to consistently crash the glass thanklessly.”

Nick Gallo on Nick Collison’s decade of giving back to the community: “As the Thunder marks its 10th season of NBA basketball in Oklahoma City, it’s fitting that Collison made his 10th Homeland Shopping Spree visit with this afternoon’s event. One for each year he’s been in Oklahoma City, and an incredible $10,000 donated to local families in need of a little boost. For Thunder players, this trip to Homeland with one family is always one of the most sought-after community appearances. It’s an intimate, one-on-one, on in this case five-on-one, chance for them to connect with the citizens of Oklahoma City who desperately cheer them on night after night. For NBA players whose lives are sectioned off into homestands and road trips, a trip to Homeland can be the perfect way to stay grounded.”

Berry Tramel on the absurdity of Mary Fallin and “Floyd Mayweather Day” in Oklahoma: “Floyd Mayweather likes to say that “Only God can judge me.” Maybe that’s so. But only Gov. Mary Fallin can declare “Floyd Mayweather Day” in Oklahoma. And so she did. Wednesday indeed was Floyd Mayweather Day in our state. The boxing champion, recently retired with an undefeated career, attended the Thunder-Laker game and was widely cheered when introduced over the public-address system. He attended a post-game reception and dinner party at Broadway 10, sponsored by XR Tickets and Air Comfort Solutions, with a portion of the proceeds going to 6th Man Sports, a subordinate organization within the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). And the governor gave him a proclamation fit for a hero. But Mayweather is no hero. He is a repeated domestic abuser.”

Around the League: Full All-Star starters and captains…. Kemba Walker is being made available for trade…. James Harden returned to action last night….  Enes Kanter wants to retire a Knick…. Arron Afflalo was suspended two games for throwing a punch…. Why the NBA suddenly has no chill.