3 min read

Monday Bolts – 1.15.17

Monday Bolts – 1.15.17

Erik Horne: “Last season through 41 games, Westbrook had 10 rebounds via missed free

throws. He has 55 through 41 games this season. Of those 55, 89.1 percent have been uncontested. Without those additional 45 rebounds, Westbrook would be averaging 9.6 rebounds a game. Often during opponents’ free throws, Adams, Kanter or even Joffrey Lauvergne will occupy the first two lane spaces closest to the rim, boxing out their man while Westbrook slides in between them unmolested for the defensive rebound.”

John Schuhmann of NBA.com ranks OKC ninth: “The team playing the most road-heavy January schedule got its first two January road wins and outscored their four opponents, 94-28, on fast break points . Enes Kanter saw a bump in his minutes, averaged 22.3 points and 11.0 rebounds in the four games, and the defense didn’t suffer. In fact, it allowed less than 95 points per 100 possessions in his 120 minutes and while the Thunder’s starting lineup was a minus-28 in 47 minutes, the same group with Kanter in Domantas Sabonis’ place was a plus-17 in 26. It’s still just a plus-15 for the season, but the Thunder are 11-2 when Kanter has played at least 24 minutes.”

Brett Dawson: “He’s a defensive anchor and scoring threat in the post. He’s a premiere pick-and-roll partner for Russell Westbrook. There’s no replacing all that Steven Adams does for the Thunder. But if the Oklahoma City center is forced out of a game — as he was Sunday night against Sacramento, evaluated for a concussion after hitting his head on the court in the third quarter — it helps at least to have the offense covered.”

Inside baseball here, but I found this answer interesting from Mary Cabot on reporting: “Every year it gets increasingly difficult for the local beat writers to break stories and do their jobs, because some agents have agreements with the national reporters to provide scoops. In some cases, the agents get good information from the reporters in return, and this has been well-documented. Not all national reporters operate this way, of course, but some do. Here’s an example of how this works: I once received a tip from a former Browns assistant coach that the Browns were about to sign a free-agent quarterback. Instead of just reporting it, I wanted to double-check. I called the player’s agent and he said, “I’ll get back to you in a minute.’’ He hung up, and called a national reporter, who broke the story on Twitter within seconds of the agent hanging up with me.”

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd oooooooooooooooooone.

Kevin Harlan: “We’re getting to see a lot of Russell Westbrook, which is never a bad thing. The guy is at the very top of the conversation with (James) Harden for MVP. He’s just had a spectacular year. Every time you turn on the TV you see him performing one outstanding play after another. He’s trying to play the role of two guys after being in that one-two punch for so long. Now it’s just on him. I think he welcomes the challenge, that’s in his nature, that’s certainly in his DNA. When you lose a star like that (Kevin Durant), there’s going to be some restructuring, guys are going to be in different roles. They have welcomed new players in there like (Victor) Oladipo. There’s just a lot going on. I think they have the right coach for it too in Billy D. I think Billy is accustomed to change with his college experience and dealing with big-name players.”

Marc Stein has OKC tenth: “T‎he Thunder had won 12 consecutive road games in which Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double before Friday’s loss at Minnesota. But when Westbrook did it again Sunday night in Sacramento, OKC moved to 16-4 overall in his triple-double games this season, compared to 9-13 when he doesn’t get all the way there. So please tell me, when it comes to the Thunder, how we can be talking about triple-doubles too much? The bigger question, to us, is how much OKC’s 2-5 record in games decided by a margin of one or two points will come ‎back to haunt them in terms of playoff position. Only Minnesota (0-5) and Denver (1-5) are worse in that situation.”