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Friday Bolts: 3.23.18

Royce Young on Russell Westbrook and his relationship with the three-pointer: “I need to stop taking as many as I’m taking, to tell you the truth,” Westbrook said in 2014. “I’m going to take those down as the season goes along. “It’s not always a great shot for myself or my team. So I’ve got to do a better job of taking those out. My advantage is attacking, regardless of who’s in front of me. That’s my advantage. And I’ve got to use my advantage to help my team and help myself.” After he said that, he went 0-of-5 from 3 the next game. It was classic Westbrook, with self-awareness and self-belief at war with each other. Like Tiger with his driver, or Fergie with the national anthem. It’s the battle Westbrook has waged with himself for much of his career.”

Leonard Kreicas (Hot Hot Hoops) on why Steven Adams will be the X-factor tonight vs Miami: “The Miami Heat visit the Oklahoma City Thunder with Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony…and Steven Adams? Minus Hassan Whiteside, the 7’0”, 255 lb Adams could present quite a challenge at the rim for Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, as the Heat try to fend off his famous All-Star teammates on the formidable Oklahoma City team. For men on the Thunder who played at least 50 games, Adams leads OKC in blocks at 1.1 per game, FG% at 63.4%, points per shot at 1.49, and is second in each of the following stats: rebounds at 8.9, double-doubles with 24, +/- at 4.5, PER at 21.1.”

Brett Dawson with a snapshot of the Western Conference standings: “Playing for the third consecutive night, New Orleans outscored the Lakers 31-17 in the fourth quarter to sweep a rare back to back to back. Thanks to holding the tiebreaker, the Pels hurdled the Thunder for the No. 4 spot with the win. ”

Erik Horne on Billy Donovan’s starter-less lineups: “Traditionally, at least for teams with the scoring options the Thunder possesses, an individual shot creator always stays on the floor. The minutes are staggered between offensive talents with all of them convening again in the fourth quarter. Donovan says he goes with all-bench units in short stints for the sake of the starters, and the decision is collaborative. “I think the biggest thing is trying to — with Carmelo, Russell, and Paul — making sure they’re in their rhythm, their routine and how they feel comfortable, and then working off of them and communicating with them,” Donovan said.”

Ben Nadeau (Basketball Insiders) had an interview with Terrance Ferguson: “I’ve learned a lot more from when I first started,” Ferguson told Basketball Insiders. “I got great teammates — I got Nick Collison, I got Russ, PG, Melo, so just picking their brains. I got Corey now, so just the work ethic they put in, just picking their brains each and every day about what I can do better, watching game film, it’s a lot of things.”

Erik Horne with an update on Andre Roberson from Billy Donovan: “He’s got a long, long way to go. Really nothing has changed. He’s still in the brace. Like I said, when we’re here in practice, he’s here and he’s around. It’s good to see his face. He’s upbeat, he’s around, he goes through his treatment, his rehabilitation, those kinds of things. He’s getting better and progressing at the rate he should progress, but I think for him it’s going to be a long road to recovery. But he’ll work really hard to get himself back to where he was.”

Jimmy Do (okcthunder.com) on the Thunder’s annual trip to the zoo: “Adams howled in delight after Russell Westbrook unsheathed his phone to take a photo of the back of the shirt to show the Big Kiwi what it said. ADAMS. AMBASSADOR. From inside the demonstration area of the elephant exhibit, Carmelo Anthony helped feed 20-year-old Chandra by flicking peanuts into her mouth like a pop-a-shot savant. At the Noble Aquatic Center, the sea lions barked as Raymond Felton scooped out fish from a bucket to throw at eagerly awaiting mouths. Anthony quipped the sea lions were barking like Rottweilers drawing laughs all around. Displaying his animal knowledge, Anthony mentioned that to tell if the sea lions’ teeth were healthy, they needed to be black or dark brown. In a day filled with oohs and ahhs, Adams, Anthony, Felton and Westbrook joined 14,805 visitors for a wildlife adventure at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Thursday afternoon. During the trip to the 120-acre complex, the Thunder teammates helped trained sea lions and interacted with the elephants.”

STUFF (New Zealand) on the relationship between Steven Adams and Lorde: “There’s nothing like meeting up with a fellow Kiwi when far from home, and for two Kiwi legends – singer Lorde and basketballer Steven Adams – it’s no exception. Adams showed up at Lorde’s Oklahoma concert last night with Oklahoma City team mate Andre Roberson. The two “baby Kiwis”, as Lorde called them, took selfies together, with Lorde’s band and Roberson.”

AJ Mason (USA Today) on Kevin Durant’s new snake-themed KD10’s: “We’re not sure whether it’s cool or lame of Durant to embrace the whole snake monicker. After spending a lot of his time discussing things related to the Thunder and his love for the franchise—including his being hurt that the team gave away “his” number—Durant has also gotten quite annoyed with members of the media who harp on his past with the franchise. So here’s the real question: if Durant truly wants to leave the Oklahoma City chapter in the past, why would he go out of his way to remind everyone that he used to play in Oklahoma City?”

Around the League: The Hornets beat the Grizzlies by 61 points last night…. A protest outside the arena delayed Hawks @ Kings…. The Suns are already looking for a new head coach…. Sources say the Spurs met with Kawhi to ask him to return…. Another Antetokounmpo may soon be in the NBA…. 10 things Zach Lowe likes/doesn’t like…. Nike’s new t-shirts with re-imagined team logos.