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Friday Bolts – 2.26.16

Friday Bolts – 2.26.16

Erik Horne: “The Thunder’s bench production that was lacking against Golden State in


their first meeting was evident Thursday in New Orleans. The Pelicans’ bench outscored the Thunder’s 60-20, with Durant and Westbrook accounting for the Thunder’s final 22 points. Serge Ibaka added 15 points but none after tying the game 85-85 on two free throws in the third quarter. “The defense took a step back as well, OKC giving up 35 in the first and 34 in the fourth, the backbreaking 3-point quarters. Can the defense come together before the Saturday night showdown at Chesapeake Energy Arena?”

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com: “The Mavs will have interest in Kevin Martin if he receives a buyout, sources said, but he is likely to land with a team that has a better chance of contending. A source named the Cavs, Heat, Hawks and Thunder as suitors for Martin, depending on Joe Johnson’s decision.”

This is an interesting stat.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “Because of his defensive shortcomings, Johnson isn’t exactly the 3-and-D wing the Thunder have long coveted. He could make it easier for Oklahoma City to play Kevin Durant at power forward, though, giving Billy Donovan more strategic flexibility.”

Anthony Slater: “On a night with plenty of options, this next play may be the worst of the worst. Anthony Davis sets a simple screen for Jrue Holiday early in the shot clock on the right wing. It picks off Dion Waiters and leaves Holiday with a lane to the hoop. But Serge Ibaka’s on the court, you know, that 6-foot-10 four-time shot-block king? And Kevin Durant, that All-NBA forward with incredible mobility and wingspan? Someone will surely step in front and, at the least, contest the shot, make it difficult or force a pass. Right? Wrong. Holiday cruises in as everyone on the Thunder watches, waving an arm with about as much desire and success as a Kansas safety “tackling” Semaje Perine in the rain.”

Berry Tramel: “The stages of the Thunder defense was when (when is OKC going to start playing good defense?), followed by how (how can the Thunder start playing better defense?) and eventually to why (why can’t the Thunder play good defense?). Now we’re to the final stage of grief. Acceptance. The Thunder is NOT going to start playing quality defense. March arrives Tuesday. At this point in the season, you are who you are. And the Thunder is a defense that gives up 60 points in both halves to New Orleans.”

Justin Verrier of ESPN.com: “There were plenty of those to go around against a ragged Oklahoma City Thunder defense coming off the first half of a back-to-back in Dallas. Russell Westbrook had 44 points and Kevin Durant had 32, but New Orleans got offense from all corners of its 10-man roster — including 12 points from Toney Douglas and 10 points from Dante Cunningham — to outlast the Thunder 123-119 at the Smoothie King Center. Four Pelicans players scored over 20 points — Anthony Davis (30 points), Ryan Anderson (26), Holiday (22) and Norris Cole (21) — and the team as a whole dished out 29 assists. By the fourth quarter, even Kendrick Perkins, resurrected from the bench after the loss of Omer Asik, was kicking it out to the corner for open 3-pointers.”