3 min read

Friday Bolts: 11.9.18

Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps last night’s win over the Rockets: “With Russell Westbrook sidelined with a sprained ankle, the Rockets rested since Monday and the Thunder coming off a game just 24 hours beforehand in Cleveland, the excuses could have easily piled up for the Thunder. Instead, Donovan’s club were the aggressors, just lining up and accepting every match up and using swarming extra efforts on the perimeter to harass Harden and Chris Paul, then help-side rotations to blow up scoring chances around the rim. George was the ringleader, making a season-high six steals to go with his 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. “We can really just switch everything,” noted George. “It’s no lack of size, no lack of quick feet, quick hands. It allows us to kind of dictate what we want the other team to do on offense.”

Brett Dawson (Athletic) on Paul George finding himself on both ends of the court: “Paul George stood near midcourt, an arm draped around Russell Westbrook’s back, and engaged his injured teammate in conversation. Westbrook — sidelined for a second-straight game and sporting a resplendent multicolored sweater — was animated as ever, shaking his head as he spoke with his standard manic energy. Beside him, George gave a relaxed nod. The Thunder were in the process of rolling the Rockets on Thursday, and George had been similarly comfortable all night. The cool comfort of his conversation with Westbrook seemed indicative of his evening — and in many ways, his season.”

Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) on Carmelo Anthony’s forgettable return to OKC: “Anthony, who still speaks fondly of the OKC community, was greeted with mostly cheers and a few scattered boos. He then proceeded to struggle on offense, the part of his game that had been especially effective over the previous six games. Anthony scored just two points on 11 shots against the Thunder on Thursday, logging fewer than 7 points for the first time all season in Houston’s 98-80 loss to OKC. He entered Thursday averaging 17.8 points in the Rockets’ past six games.”

Lauren Thiesen (Deadspin) with a more harsh take on Melo’s night: “The Thunder fans cheered when Carmelo Anthony first entered the game, but they definitely would have booed him tonight if he was still wearing an OKC uniform. Here is Melo’s statline: 20 minutes played at -22, two points on 1-for-11 shooting (including six misses from three), five boards, zero assists, zero steals or blocks, and a turnover. Sure, Chris Paul had an ugly night too, but Melo specifically was mind-numbingly wretched.”

Jenni Carlson (Oklahoman) on the Thunder officially winning the Schroder/Melo deal: “Four months ago, the Thunder decided to unload Carmelo. He didn’t want to come off the bench, and worse, he had a huge contract with an even bigger luxury tax penalty. Getting Anthony off the books was paramount. Mission accomplished. But lo and behold, the Thunder got a splendid player in return. On the night Carmelo came back to Oklahoma City for the first time, it was Schroder who played superbly. He started again for the injured Russell Westbrook, scoring 14 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing five assists. Thunder 98, Rockets 80.”

Matt Eppers (USA Today) on if the Thunder have it figured out: “Prior to Westbrook’s injury and the past two defensive outings, a resurgent offense had been fueling Oklahoma City’s turnaround. The Thunder lost their first four games while shooting 39.1 percent from the field and scoring 101.8 points per game (league average is 110.9). During the seven-game win streak, they’re shooting 48 percent as a team and averaging 115 points a night. Westbrook is listed as day-to-day with the ankle injury. He missed the preseason and the first two games of the regular season after a summer knee procedure. With the offense finding its rhythm and the defense showing signs of life, the Thunder can be more cautious bringing Westbrook back than they may have initially thought.”

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