Monday Bolts: 02.24.20
The Thunder trounced the Spurs, further validating my Billy > Pop take. Brandon Rahbar with your recap.
Brandon also joined the Dream Team to podcap the game.
It was a jocular postgame:
It was just a lot of fun, and Nerlens Noel says that’s on par with the whole season:
That came on the heels of an even more impressive victory over the Nuggets on Friday night. Erik Horne (The Athletic) on that statement game. “Friday’s win was more than just another opportunity to watch the Paul/Shai Gilgeous-Alexander/Dennis Schröder lineup numbers climb even higher (for the record, that three-man lineup now has a net rating of 37.2 in the fourth quarter this season). This was one of only three nationally televised games for the Thunder this season. Much of America hasn’t had the opportunity to see what Paul, Schröder, Gilgeous-Alexander and Billy Donovan thought was possible since preseason.”
Paul had himself a game against Denver:
Michael Malone praised CP3:
And Jerami Grant spoke highly of the Thunder fans after receiving a warm reception:
Another Chris Paul nugget:
For good measure, I made Paul the theme for our Sunday Crossword puzzle.
Royce Young (ESPN) on the league’s best lineup, featuring the three-headed pointmonster of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schröder, and Paul: “I hoped it would work,” Paul said, leaning on the word “hope” pretty heavily. “We all have different personalities — you never know what different guys’ goals are and whatnot — but I was excited about it. The biggest thing was that Billy sat us all down. We met, us three and Billy, and talked about the possibilities of what it could be, and thankfully all of us are giving up a little bit here and there for the success of the team.”
Paul told media including Daily Thunder about the positive chemistry between those point guards:
Young on Lu Dort’s case to get converted from a two-way to a full NBA contract: “Already a fan favorite, Dort has stayed ready, breaking through as a surprise starter and impact player on a potential playoff team. In Sunday’s 131-103 win over the Spurs, Dort sparked multiple runs, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting plus three steals in 24 minutes. He was a game-high plus-36, the best plus/minus mark for any two-way player this season, and the best in the past 20 seasons by a Thunder rookie.”
Whether or not this should breathe more life into Andre Roberson’s recovery hopes this season (it probably shouldn’t), it’s worth noting that there isn’t the wall of separation between him and the Thunder that many presumed:
Alex Abrines tells Georgios Kyriakidis(TalkBasket) he hasn’t ruled out an NBA comeback.
ICYMI: Over the All-Star break, Paul said he envisions playing 20 seasons. He’s currently playing in season number 15.
Duncan Smith (Hoops Habit) says the Paul/Russell Westbrook trade is feeling more and more like a win-win deal.
Chuck Chaney (Thunder Digest) on the Thunder’s surprisingly successful 2019-20 campaign.
Around the league: Dwyane Wade’s retirement ceremony had a CP3 cameo … Vintage Melo performance … Kobe’s NBA memorial will air on ESPN today at noon