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Friday Bolts: Break's Over

Friday Bolts: Break's Over

After an eventful All-Star Break, that saw three Thunder players participate in the festivities (Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams in the Rising Stars game; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the All-Star Game), the Oklahoma City Thunder got back into action for the second half of the season in Utah.  With a chance to hit .500, OKC dropped a heartbreaker in overtime, as SGA's game-winning shot rattled in and out.  The Thunder had several chances to win--OKC led by 2 until Lauri Markkanen was fouled by Lu Dort shooting a three-pointer (and Markkanen made all three to give Utah the winning margin); SGA missed a free-throw in the possession before that would've given OKC a 3-point lead; and Isaiah Joe had a chance to win the game in regulation, but his shot was blocked at the rim.

OKC has to turn right around and play tonight in Phoenix against the new-look Suns on national TV (ESPN).  But the big news is that Kevin Durant will not be playing.

Durant scrimmages with Suns, ruled out Friday
Kevin Durant participated in 5-on-5 scrimmaging with the Phoenix Suns on Thursday as he inches closer to a return after suffering a right MCL injury on Jan. 8 with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets.

Notwithstanding the loss, OKC has been a team gaining more and more attention.  John Hollinger (The Athletic) urges fans to keep an eye on the Thunder.

But before we start back up, I want to point out the other story to keep your eye on over the season’s final two months – the rising “Os” in each conference. They don’t matter yet, but by this time next year, Orlando and Oklahoma City are likely to be significant forces.
Week that Was: Orlando, OKC warrant watching, ‘D33P Rating’ and scouting notes
They were supposed to be all in on the tank, but the Thunder and Magic have made huge strides this season. Also, Julius Randle and more.

Back to All-Star Weekend, the Thunder were a big part of the weekend.  In fact, Rylan Stiles says OKC's players "stole the show."

OKC Thunder stole the show during NBA Rising Stars event
On Friday Night, the OKC Thunder stole the show. In Salt Lake City, Utah, the NBA world is gathered for NBA All-Star Weekend, and the first night of events…

During the Rising Stars game, Josh Giddey was mic'd up.  How did this boy play  ball talking so much?

Josh Giddey mic’d up during Jordan Rising Stars | NBA.com
Josh Giddey mic’d up during Jordan Rising Stars

The best part of the weekend, though, might have been SGA's jacket that was dripping the most swag seen in Utah since, idk, probably never.