Brett Dawson on the Thunder’s fourth straight loss last night in Denver: “Nikola Jokic put back a Denver miss with 52 seconds to play to put his team up by eight, a play that summarized the way the game had turned since a strong Thunder fourth quarter. The Nuggets were a step quicker to the ball and dramatically better around the rim. They outscored the Thunder 28-10 in the paint in the second half. OKC had a 21-8 first-half edge in second-chance points. Denver outscored the Thunder 11-5 on second chances in the second half.”
The team held a closed-door meeting immediately after the game: “The Oklahoma City Thunder held a closed-door meeting late Thursday night after their fourth consecutive loss, a 102-94 defeat to the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder, a preseason favorite to challenge the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors thanks to their offseason acquisitions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, fell to 4-7 overall and completed an 0-3 road trip. “It was just good to get everything out on the table,” George told reporters, according to the Oklahoman. “Especially where we’re at right now, it’s no good if we’re bottling it up, because then we could carry it over to the next game and the next game. Just leave everything out in the open.”
Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony passing Allen Iverson on the all-time scoring list: “With a 3-pointer in the second quarter on Thursday in Denver against the franchise that drafted him, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony moved to 24th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, passing former teammate Allen Iverson. Anthony finished with 28 points on the night in a 102-94 loss to the Nuggets, the team that selected him with the third overall pick in the 2003 draft. With 24,385 career points in the regular season, Anthony is now behind Ray Allen for the next spot on the list.”
Steven Adams suffered a calf contusion against the Nuggets: He came up hobbling in the fourth quarter, and finished the game in the locker room. Status uncertain for tonight versus the Clippers.
Ben Golliver (SI) on the welcome party being over for Paul George: “Put aside Chris Paul and Isaiah Thomas, both of whom are sidelined with injuries, and George has endured the rockiest start to 2017-18 of any prominent star traded this calendar year. Unlike Kyrie Irving, he hasn’t enjoyed a profile boost as the face of a franchise. Unlike Jimmy Butler, his individual sacrifices haven’t led to immediate team success. And unlike DeMarcus Cousins, he hasn’t even been in position to post crazy numbers. Acclaim? Nope. Winning? Not yet. Stats? Not really. Remember, George is a 27-year-old scoring forward with a signature shoe, a sports drink commercial, and a first date with unrestricted free agency in just eight months. Under normal circumstances, he should be peaking on all fronts.”
George got deep on Instagram after the loss to the Nuggets: “If you are caught unprepared by a sudden rainstorm, you should not run foolishly down the road or hide under the eves of houses. You are going to get soaked either way. Accept that from the beginning and go your way. This way you will not be distressed by a little rain. Apply this lesson to everything.”
Brett Dawson on Alex Abrines struggling to find his fit: “Though they have been few, Abrines said, he’s had days this season where he feels virtually no pain, and he said his knee soreness isn’t the lone factor in his rocky start. In the Thunder’s first 10 games, Abrines averaged 3.8 points in 16.7 minutes, shooting 8 of 26 from 3-point range. That’s 30.8 percent, well off his rookie mark of 38.1 percent last season.”
Yahoo Sports previews tonight’s Thunder/Clippers showdown: “The Thunder were supposed to challenge the Golden State Warriors for supremacy in the Western Conference with the additions of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. The Los Angeles Clippers figured to be a team undergoing some growing pains as they adjusted to life after Chris Paul, with Blake Griffin as the main offensive focus. The expectation is becoming reality for the Clippers (5-5). Los Angeles has lost five out of six games following a four-game winning streak to start the season. Meanwhile, the Thunder are struggling to find an offensive rhythm, looking disjointed at times as they adjust to life with two new offensive stars on their roster. Oklahoma City (4-7) dropped its fourth consecutive game Thursday night, falling 102-94 to the Denver Nuggets.”
Around the League: Chicago will host the 2020 All-Star Game…. De’Aaron Fox hit game-winner against the 76ers…. The Beard dropped a 35-11-13 triple-double and beat the Cavaliers…. The Warriors are on pace for the best offensive season in history…. Ben Simmons called the NCAA “dirty business”.