Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps last night’s win over the Bucks: “The war was at the rim all night. Paul George delivered the final salvo, an outrageous one-handed driving dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo, providing a fitting finishing punch to the battle of the deep paint between the Thunder and Milwaukee Bucks. George’s dunk came with the game pressure on at the highest levels after the Bucks pulled to within four, then after an Eric Bledsoe three cut the Thunder lead to 110-107, George posted up on the left wing. As the shot clock drained down towards nothing, George rose up over Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon and reminded the Bucks of his team’s mastery of the perimeter tonight too.”
Royce Young (ESPN) on Paul George continuing his MVP campaign against Milwaukee: “In a showdown of MVP candidates, George outplayed Antetokounmpo, finishing with 36 points on 12-of-21 shooting — including 8-of-12 from 3 — plus 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals. But it was another dominant fourth quarter from George — something he is making a habit of — that stood out (12 points on 4-of-6 shooting). George has erupted this season, his self-proclaimed best ever, flashing a rare two-way ability only possessed by a handful of players. He’s the primary disrupter of the league’s most rowdy and rangy defense, one that was on full display in swarming the Bucks from start to finish, particularly Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo finished with 27 points on 8-of-22 shooting to go with 18 rebounds and four assists, but the Thunder frustrated him with multiple bodies and swiping, handsy help defense. Antetokounmpo had his shot blocked seven times, the most ever in a single game in his career — and the most that any one player has had his shot blocked this season in a game.”
Erik Horne (Oklahoman) on Jerami Grant’s defense being a key in the 118-112 victory: “Before leaving the Thunder locker room, Jerami Grant made a playful curtsy in front of couple of team staffers. For the defensive work Grant did Sunday against Milwaukee, he deserved to take a bow. Grant’s late free throws put the Thunder ahead by two possessions, but the following play summarized his night. As Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo drove to the basket late, his attempt at the rim rolled out. Grant’s wingspan was just enough to throw him off. In case you’d forgotten how disruptive Grant was in the Thunder’s 118-112 win against the Bucks, Thunder coach Billy Donovan was there with a reminder after OKC’s fifth consecutive win. “You know Jerami’s very long, too?” Donovan said of Grant, who finished with 16 points and a game-high five blocks. “I know Giannis has great length, but Jerami’s very long, too. He did a great job of staying in between him and the basket.”
Brett Dawson (Athletic) on Paul George setting a two-way tone for the streaking Thunder: “He leads the NBA in loose balls recovered per game (2.3) and tied for second in deflections (3.7). George is tied for ninth in the league in 3-point shots contested, and among the top 10 players in that category, only Antetokounmpo averages more rebounds than George’s 8.1 per game. He also ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 27.1 points per game and third in 3-pointers made at 3.6 a night. In short, George is everywhere and doing a little of everything for a team that’s won five straight. Given the games he’s played (48 of the Thunder’s 49) and the minutes he logs (36 per game, sixth in the league) there might be no player in the NBA carrying a bigger two-way workload than George.”
Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN) on Kevin Durant returning to OKC for Nick Collison’s jersey retirement on March 20: “That group was so special, that whole group from 2010 until I left there, it was special,” Durant told ESPN. “It’s about time for us to let go of all that extra stuff, and just come together — especially around this time, because it’s Nick.” The Thunder are aware of Durant’s plans to attend the ceremony and are glad to accommodate him, sources said. Scores of ex-Sonics and Thunder teammates from Collison’s 15-year career are expected to be in Oklahoma City for the event. Durant has long credited Collison’s leadership in easing his transition into the NBA when Durant arrived as the No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft. He spent a season with Collison in Seattle before the franchise relocated, and eight more together in OKC.”
The Thunder are sixth in ESPN’s latest NBA power rankings: “OKC has allowed at least 100 points in 20 straight games and allowed an average of 122.5 points in its past 11. The Thunder are 6-5 in those games and in the five losses have allowed opponents an average of 133.8 points on a 58.7 effective field goal percentage. Luckily, Paul George is making up for it with 31.4 points per game during the Thunder’s five-game win streak.”
Current Western Conference Standings:
Around the League: Anthony Davis officially wants out of New Orleans…. CP3 returned to the Rockets lineup…. The Warriors have won 10 in a row and ‘can still be better’…. 2019 trade deadline tracker…. Recapping last night’s NBA action…. LeBron is getting closer to returning from injury…. Dark-horse trade candidates for the NBA’s biggest buyers…. Domas Sabonis is making his way up the NBA ranks.