Official Box Score link
Tonight felt less like watching a basketball game and more like watching an episode of Survivor.
The Thunder were missing Danilo Gallinari, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader, Justin Patton, and if you want to count him, Andre Roberson.
The Trail Blazers were missing CJ McCollum, and if you want to count them, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Rodney Hood, and Skal Labissiere.
And while they were probably minding their own business this afternoon at Bass Pro Shop, checking out the Myriad Botanical Gardens, or taking a nap at the Skirvin Hotel, Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were traded for Trevor Ariza. So the Blazers were also missing Bazemore and Tolliver, or Ariza, depending on how you look at it.
Not missing: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Damian Lillard. The three Western Conference point guards all battling for a spot in this year’s All Star Game each made another argument for why they should be in the game.
CP3 scored 30 points on 11 of 15 shooting and dished out 7 assists, including some retro Lob City doozies.
SGA scored 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting and grabbed 10 boards, including some with Go Go Gadget arms.
Dame scored 34 points on 10 of 23 shooting, including 12 incredibly generous trips to the free throw line.
The Thunder controlled the game from the tip and never seemed to be in any danger of losing this one. Unlike their past three losses, OKC was the team who dominated the 1st quarter and as a result, did not need to count on a massive late game comeback that came up a bit too little a bit too late.
OKC was the better and healthier team than Portland tonight. Shockingly, even without starters Gallinari and Ferguson and rotation player Nader, the Thunder won this episode of Survivor: Oklahoma City.
- Current West standings: 6. Rockets 7. Thunder 11. Blazers
- Houston gave OKC 2 1st round picks and 2 pick swaps to become a contender and watch OKC rebuild. And the Blazers supposedly ended the Thunder as a franchise 9 months ago.
- Name a player in the league better at finishing off the glass than Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Leave it in the comments. I’ll come down there and tell you why you’re wrong. (Unless you’re a stats junkie and can actually back it up. Eye test warriors only, please).
- The Thunder won a basketball game against last year’s Western Conference runner-ups with Hamidou Diallo and Darius Bazley in the starting lineup.
- Lu Dort’s two charges taken tonight is more than Terrance Ferguson’s in his entire NBA career. (This insane stat courtesy of Justin Jovani.)
- Lu Dort is the new Nick Collison: my article.
- The refs called a foul so late on Lu Dort that I was able to watch the entire Conor McGregor fight between the time Dort “fouled” Damian Lillard to the time the ref blew the whistle.
- If we had one of those Back to the Future sports almanacs from 2000-2050, it would tell us that Lu Dort won five Defensive Player of the Year awards.
- This is now officially The Lu Dort Recap.
- One more: Lu Dort should be getting minutes on this Thunder team. He’s already a better player than Nader and Burton, probably Bazley and possibly Diallo and Ferguson.
- Spot the All Star. Chris Paul tonight: 30 points on 15 shots. Damian Lillard tonight: 34 points on 23 shots. CP3’s team: 24-19 Dame’s team: 18-26.
- Forget voting Chris Paul and SGA to the NBA All Star Game. Let’s start the Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder to the NFL Pro Bowl campaigns. There’s not a more efficient quarterback and wide receiver tandem in the league.
- Bazley has had his ups and downs as a rookie, but he’s stood out in two areas consistently: rebounding and blocking shots. The rookie had 13 rebounds tonight and came up 1 short of a double double.
- Dennis Schroder had 0 points with just a few minutes remaining in the third quarter and started the game 0 for 4. He ended with 15 points on 5 of 11 shooting.
- Obligatory “we played the Blazers so I gotta mention Carmelo Anthony” note: the former OK3 member scored 9 points on 13 shots.
- Anyone else irrationally irritated that the ref called a travel on Hamidou Diallo, who was just doing the classy thing by letting the clock run out, with .4 seconds left in the game?
- Up next: at Houston on MLK Day. Thunder vs Russ Part III.