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Friday Bolts: 12.1.17

Friday Bolts: 12.1.17

Yahoo Sports previews tonight’s game against the Timberwolves: “The Oklahoma City Thunder (8-12) play host to the Minnesota Timberwolves (13-9) on Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, with the Thunder chasing the Timberwolves and others in hopes of climbing back up the ladder in the Western Conference. Despite an emotional win over the Golden State Warriors last week, Oklahoma City continues to search for continuity among its stars, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder are coming off a 121-108 loss at Orlando on Wednesday in which they squandered a second-half lead. It was the Thunder’s seventh straight road loss and fifth defeat in the past six games overall.”

Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony’s comments about the Thunder trying to right the ship: “Nobody is moping around, nobody is frustrated. I think guys are angry. I think guys are pissed,” Anthony said. “That just comes from your competitive nature, wanting to win games — understanding what we have over here, the talent level that we have over here and not being able to put it together right now. So that’s where the anger comes in at.”

Ben Alamar (ESPN) on why the OKC offense is struggling: “Even more surprising, despite having multiple offensive threats to spread defenses out and theoretically create better shots, the Thunder have a quantitative Shot Quality (qSQ) of 51.5 percent — essentially unchanged from last season. Since qSQ accounts for shot location, shot type and defensive pressure, this means the presence of Anthony and George has not created better scoring opportunities for the Thunder so far this season.”

Rohan Nadkarni (SI) on the Thunder’s ticking clock: “Two more months. That’s roughly the amount of time the Thunder have to figure out if their bold experiment—bringing in Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to play alongside Russell Westbrook—is going to work. By the time February rolls around and the trade deadline is imminent, Sam Presti should not hesitate to blow this team up if it’s still struggling.”

Tom Ziller (SB Nation) on why OKC should bring Carmelo Anthony off the bench: “Anthony has actually been a better long-range shooter than Patterson this season, and Melo has been shooting frequently from beyond the arc. He’s not being shy. The issue is less what Melo is currently doing behind the arc than what he is doing inside of it. Anthony has the ball on a lot of possessions. Most of those are inside the three-point line. Since the starting lineup has just one other shooter anyone should be worried about — George — and because Westbrook is an unreliable, perhaps unwilling cutter, the Thunder are too easy to defend in those possessions. You can double off anyone but George and usually survive!”

Brett Dawson on if the Thunder should try a starting lineup change: “Twenty games in, coach Billy Donovan has used the same starting lineup — Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson — in every game that all five have been healthy. But the Thunder is 8-12, and so it’s fair to wonder if the team needs a shakeup. And if so, is a starting lineup shift the sort of kick-start it should consider? Asked that question on Thursday, Anthony’s stance again was clear. “No, no,” Anthony said. “Hell no. No, no, not at all.”

Chirag Agrawal (Nylon Calculus) on why Russell Westbrook is not the problem: “I’m skeptical Westbrook just suddenly became a worse shooter this offseason. Perhaps he just needs time to adjust to his new teammates. In the first season of the Miami Heat Big 3, LeBron’s true shooting percentage went from 55.5 percent in the first 19 games to 60.6 percent for the remainder of the season. Similarly, Dwyane Wade’s true shooting percentage went from 54.7 percent in the first 19 games to 59.0 percent for the remainder of the season. We’ll likely see something similar with Westbrook, so let’s not write off the former MVP in the first quarter of the regular season.”

Jimmy Do (okcthunder.com) on Alex Abrines and Josh Huestis spreading holiday cheer in the community: “Squinting at the mini hoop, 94-year-old Carl Held inched his walker close enough for a one-handed throwdown detonating raucous howls and cheers. It was the first converted basket of the day after a series of unsuccessful shot attempts uncorked by challengers before him in the shooting game. Congratulations were in order as Alex Abrines and Josh Huestis rewarded Held with a bag full of Thunder goodies—an early Christmas present for the OKC resident born on Christmas Eve. The teammates joined residents for a Thunder-themed holiday party at the Lionwood Senior Living Center on Thursday.”

Around The League: The Cavs have won 10 in a row…. Kristaps Porzingis is day-to-day with an ankle injury…. Nikola Jokic is also dealing with an ankle sprain…. Steph Curry turned to Kobe for advice on playing with an injured finger…. Games tired teams will probably lose in December.