4 min read

Friday Bolts: 1.26.18

Friday Bolts: 1.26.18

Nick Gallo recaps last night’s 121-112 win over the Wizards: “In separating from an 88-85 lead with 8:22 to go in regulation to a 101-89 edge with 6:18 to go, the Thunder gave itself enough cushion to keep Washington at bay in what was a 39-38 shootout in the fourth quarter. Westbrook continually attacked the paint, and it created not just layups and free throws for himself, but a swinging set of passes around the perimeter that led to a Terrance Ferguson three-pointer, then a cutting dunk by Carmelo Anthony with 1:16 to go, part of a 6-0 burst to in the final two minutes to put the game away for good.”

Candance Buckner (WaPo) on the Thunder having an answer for Bradley Beal’s 41 points: “Bradley Beal scored with skill — and worked harder than any rebounder in a white jersey. He reached a very specific milestone in NBA history and played like someone worthy of being singled out by LeBron James for an all-star pick-up game. And yet on Thursday night, Beal could only mumble his emotions following a familiar result. “I’m pissed,” Beal said after the Washington Wizards fell, 121-112, to the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

Alec Nathan (B/R) on Scott Brooks saying Paul George is the best two-way player in basketball: “NBA head coaches passed over Paul George as a reserve selection for the 2018 All-Star Game, but that didn’t stop Washington Wizards boss Scott Brooks from heaping praise on the swingman for the way he’s anchored the Oklahoma City Thunder on both ends of the floor this season.  “He is one of the best in the league,” Brooks said following the Wizards’ 121-112 loss to the Thunder on Thursday, according to ESPN.com’s Royce Young. “Guarding anyone on the floor is what makes him, well, not an All-Star, but we all know he is. He’s the best two-way player in basketball.”

Erik Horne on Russ & KD being reunited at All-Star Weekend on Team LeBron: “The 2018 All-Star Game rosters are set. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are teammates again. It’ll look a lot like the 2016 Western Conference finals when Westbrook and Durant take the floor for Team LeBron in the All-Star Game on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. Durant and Westbrook played on the same team last year, but with the All-Star Game selection process moving to a captains’ pick system, Durant will team up with Westbrook to try to beat his Warriors’ teammates.”

Royce Young on Russell Westbrook thinking he was the last pick in last night’s All-Star draft: “Asked his thoughts about being selected by James, Westbrook started with a standard answer. “That’s cool, man, that’s good, man, they finally got the teams figured out,” he said. Then from his nearby locker, Carmelo Anthony yelled out, “Tell ’em how you really feel!” Westbrook smiled and laughed. “But I see I was the last pick on the list — I was just trying to figure out how …” Westbrook said, referring to a list tweeted out by James. Informed it was just in alphabetical order, an incredulous Westbrook yelled back at Anthony, “See, I told you, man! Alphabetical order, man! Of course I was first!” Westbrook walked away laughing, continuing on with Anthony, “Of course! What you talking about?”

Zach Lowe (ESPN) lists “All-Star Whining” as one thing he doesn’t like: “There is an unearned incredulousness to so much of the whining over All-Star snubs. Russell Westbrook wagged his finger at coaches for failing to squeeze Paul George onto the Western Conference team — as if only a group of morons could omit George. He even took a veiled shot at Damian Lillard’s All-Star campaigning, without naming Lillard (of course). Anyone with a powerful voice — player, coach, media member, agent — sounding off about an All-Star snub with this level of sneering righteousness should be required to disclose who they would leave off the 12-man roster. Let’s hear it, Russ: Do you cut Lillard? On what grounds? One of the Warriors? Which one? You get 12 roster spots. Not 15. Not infinity. Twelve. There are more than a dozen worthy players in each conference. George made my roster, but if you actually follow the rules and list every candidate, it’s clear he’s not a no-brainer.”

John Schuhmann (NBA.com) on Westbrook’s decreasing three-point attempts: “Since Dec. 11, Westbrook has scored 42 more points from mid-range than any other player and his 46 percent on mid-range shots ranks 11th among 28 players who have attempted at least 75 in that time frame. He also leads the league in points scored in the restricted area since Dec. 11. Westbrook’s shot chart late in close games has changed as well. Only 14 (29 percent) of his 48 clutch shots since Dec. 11 have been 3-point attempts. His game-winner against Brooklyn on Tuesday was a drive to the basket.”

Scott Rafferty (Sporting News) on Steven Adams being the best security blanket in basketball: “According to NBA.com, the Thunder average 17.3 second chance points per 100 possessions with Adams on the court compared to 10.8 second chance points per 100 possessions with him on the bench this season. The former would lead the league by a large margin, and the latter would be one of the worst marks in the league. How does he do it? Some of his success is simple to explain: Adams is a mammoth of a human being. Standing at 7-feet and weighing in at a solid 255-pounds, he is one of the more imposing centers in the league today.”

Sneaker News has a collection of upcoming colorways for the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1: “A bulk of the Jordan #FutureOfFlight preview was dominated by Russell Westbrook and his new signature shoe, the Jordan Why Not Zer0.1. Originally debuting earlier in January in two colorways, this first-ever performance signature shoe for the reigning MVP will see several colorways such as the “Cotton Shot”, which features an OKC-friendly light orange, a “Tribute” in navy, and much more. See the first-hand preview of nine colorways below .”

Around the League: The full All-Star rosters…. KD was fined $15k for criticizing an official…. The Cavs moved Jae Crowder to the bench…. The Warriors topped the Timberwolves last night…. Kyrie threatened to have surgery if the Cavs didn’t trade him last summer…. Why the Spurs aren’t trading Kawhi.