5 min read

Friday Bolts: 11.2.18

Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) with a recap of last night’s comeback win in Charlotte: “One play later, Westbrook sliced left into the lane and delivered a devastating Shamgod inside-out dribble to shrug off a host of converging Hornets defenders. Westbrook’s layup gave the Thunder a 6-point lead with 35.1 seconds to go, and the Thunder rolled on to a 111-107 win to start this east coast back to back. None of those late game heroics could have been possible without the marksmanship of Alex Abrines, particularly in a crucial third quarter stretch. Down by 19 points, the Thunder was nearing desperation mode. In a bright move, Head Coach Billy Donovan opted to go small and put Jerami Grant at the center spot, leaving Abrines with more space to operate on the wing. The result was 6-of-7 shooting in the third, including three made three-pointers and three driving layups for the Spaniard, who scored 15 of his career-high 25 points in the quarter. “It was really fun. I was seeing the rim really big and I was knocking those down, but it was all thanks to Russ and PG and they were finding the open man,” said Abrines.”

More from last night’s win:

Rob Goldberg (B/R) on Paul George playing through a nerve issue in his foot: “Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George revealed after Thursday’s win over the Charlotte Hornets that he has been limited by a foot injury all season. He told reporters he is dealing with peroneal nerve palsy that he suffered in the preseason, via Erik Horne of the Oklahoman. George referred to it as a “dead foot,” although he noted that it’s not something major. The 28-year-old also explained that the broken leg he suffered in 2014 gave him more perspective on injuries. “I’ve had one of the worst injuries possible, so nothing else is going to sideline me,” he added.”

Erik Horne (Oklahoman) on three-point defense continuing to boost the Thunder: “You can’t completely take away a team’s willingness to shoot the 3-pointer. But just as important is contesting the shot and running a team off the line. The Hornets entered Thursday’s game averaging 34.5 3-point attempts per game, sixth in the NBA. By halftime, they were halfway there but were consistently met by Thunder resistance. The Hornets hit just 3-of-18 3-pointers in the first half. One was a desperation heave by 7-footer Juan Hernagomez at the end of the shot clock. “The biggest thing in that is you try to take away rhythm and you try to be disciplined,” Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. “Just running through the air, running past a guy doesn’t necessarily help. You’ve got to be able to get out there and disrupt some rhythm.” Entering Thursday, the Thunder was No. 1 in the NBA in opponents’ 3-point attempts per game (25.5) and ranks 13th in opponents’ 3-point percentage (35.3).”

R-Rated PG13 quote from last night:

OKCThunder.com breaks down the Thunder’s new “City” alternate uniforms: “Inspired by the Turtle Shell, the circle symbolizes the Earth and recognizes the tribes that line the outside. The shapes inside represent communities coming together. The four legs of the turtle are symbolic of the four corners of the medicine wheel, with the tail pointing north…. The sash points east towards the rising sun. Also, representative of the Oklahoma River, the teeth interlock and act as bridges, blurring the lines where the two colors unite. Navy blends with turquoise; dark to light, night to day, where both become one.”

Demetrius Bell (Forbes) with his take on the 2018-19 City uniforms: “Overall, the uniform is well-designed and the ideas are solidly executed on this uniform and it’s easily the best uniform that the Thunder have worn in their history in Oklahoma City. The Thunder also score points here for proving that you can indeed respectfully use Native American culture for your sports identity. Instead of using their culture in an effort to present an ugly caricature, the Thunder were able to come up with a look that properly pays tribute to the people who they are trying to honor and recognize with this uniform. It also helps that the designer of the uniform himself is a Native American. It’s definitely a plus when your uniform not only properly pays tribute to a particular culture but is also drawn up and designed by a member of that culture. Plenty of teams across sports should take a note from what the Thunder have done here, as this is the proper way to come up with a uniform based in Native American culture that looks great and is also respectful as well.”

Brett Dawson (Athletic) on Nerlens Noel’s relationship with a young leukemia patient: “The hospital room had a couch for visitors, and 19-year-old Nerlens Noel had flopped down on it. The furniture wasn’t built for his 6-foot-11 frame, so Noel’s knees sat unnaturally high, the scar from his recent ligament surgery impossible to miss. Kelly Melton, the friend Noel had come to visit at the University of Kentucky Hospital, could relate. He tugged down the collar on his own shirt, making visible the scar on his chest. “See mine?” Kelly told Noel. That scar had been left behind by the insertion of a catheter, part of the chemotherapy treatment for Kelly’s leukemia. The night Noel saw it, Kelly had war paint spread across his face. He’d been playing with Legos. He was six years old. “It was real sweet to see them sit there,” said Harrison Melton, Kelly’s father. “Two kids comparing their battle wounds.”

Zach Rosen (Wizards.com) previews tonight Thunder/Wizards match-up: “Dwight Howard will make his long-anticipated debut in a Wizards uniform on Friday. Washington has missed another presence down low, among league-worst in rebounding and paint defense statistics. Howard will provide rebounding, interior defense, 14 seasons of experience, lob-catching, and a strong pick-and-roll game with John Wall, Bradley Beal, and others. Coach Scott Brooks said he was unsure of how many minutes Howard would play, but sounded optimistic about his usage. ”I’m just looking forward to doing what I can to help this team win,” Howard said after practice Thursday. Keef Morris is also out of concussion protocol and expected to return after leaving Sunday’s game against the Clippers and missing Tuesday’s game in Memphis. The Wizards missed Morris in those two games, especially the way he’s been shooting the ball. His ability to guard multiple positions, score from inside and out, and do the little things was missed over the past few games. Brooks will finally have his entire team back and healthy.”

Around the League: Adam Silver on the rule changes impacting the NBA’s scoring increase…. Anthony Davis wants Boogie back in NOLA…. Boogie injury update…. Grading the NBA’s new City uniforms…. JR Smith wants out of Cleveland…. Recapping last night’s NBA action.