3 min read

Friday Bolts: 11.24.17

Friday Bolts: 11.24.17

Tim Bontemps (WaPo) on the Thunder’s signature win over the Warriors: “Gone are the days when the Thunder and Warriors would step on the court with Golden State holding a massive talent advantage. Thanks to the arrival of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in a pair of blockbuster trades this offseason, the Thunder can now credibly claim to have as much firepower as any team in the league — or, at least, any team this side of the Warriors. The proof came on the court Wednesday night. Last season, Oklahoma City got trounced the four times it played Golden State, looking as if it had no business being on the same court with the Warriors. And, from a talent perspective, it didn’t.”

Chris Haynes (ESPN) on KD and his mom saying it’s not about he and Russ: “Kevin Durant and his mother, Wanda, believe the hype surrounding Durant and Russell Westbrook has gone too far. “It’s not about me and Russ,” the small forward told ESPN after the Golden State Warriors lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-91 on Wednesday. “It’s about the Thunder and the Warriors. Myself and Russ are competing out there. That’s part of the game. It’s basketball. It’s not about us. We’re just playing the game, and trash talking is part of it. That’s all it is.”

Russ discusses how playing with an edge is his game: “I play the same way every night…. if it’s against Kevin… Who we play Friday? Detroit, Reggie Jackson. Dennis Smith on Saturday. It don’t matter who it is. I go out and compete at a high level. I go out and play at a high level. I’ve been saying that since Day 1 and that’s what I do.”

Jenni Carlson on if the Thunder turned a corner against Golden State: “But beating the Warriors by two-plus touchdowns? Didn’t see that coming. But now comes an even bigger unknown — will this be a turning point? Will OKC be able to replicate the focus it had for four quarters against Golden State? Will it have the same attention to detail against Detroit on Friday and Dallas on Saturday and Orlando on Wednesday and every future opponent on the schedule no matter how good? Or will this be a tease? It’s up to the guys in the short pants.”

Erik Horne on Paul George as the Thunder’s defensive catalyst: “As of Thursday, George is the league leader in steals with 45. The next closest player is Russell Westbrook with 35. But steals don’t paint the entire picture when it comes to defensive impact. If you pull up the NBA’s “Hustle” stats, it’s George who tops every significant statistical category for a perimeter defender. George leads the NBA in deflections per 36 minutes (5.0), total deflections (87), loose balls recovered per 36 minutes (2.2) and total loose balls recovered (38).”

Tim Cato (SB Nation) blasts Russell Westbrook’s defensive effort against the Warriors: “Westbrook was clearly putting himself in position for a quick fast break and points headed the other direction, which the Thunder had just done on a couple of prior possessions. In fact, that might have been a team emphasis coming into the game — you can’t beat the Warriors in a half-court game, so really push for transition baskets. It was bad defense, but the worst part was Westbrook getting beat without shuffling his feet, not the his-controller-just-died give-up afterward.”

Fox Sports previews tonight’s Thunder/Pistons game: “A team looking to regain its footing and a team looking to finally find some momentum meet Friday night in Oklahoma City when the Thunder host the Detroit Pistons. In a win Wednesday over defending champion Golden State, the Thunder’s big three of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony finally strung together a nearly complete game.”

Around the League: Gregg Popovich discusses Kawhi Leonard’s injury…. Nic Batum may return from injury tonight…. Kyrie Irving says it was time for the winning streak to end.