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Monday Bolts – 1.30.17

Monday Bolts – 1.30.17

Brett Dawson on yesterday’s game: “The Thunder will be without Enes Kanter for some time, and the backup center — who fractured his forearm punching a chair in last Thursday’s win against Dallas — had emerged in January as the team’s second-best scoring option in January. Against the Cavs, Oklahoma City looked like a team still figuring out what it will look like while Kanter sits, for perhaps as long as two months. And though Kanter’s absence didn’t account for all of the Thunder’s woes on Sunday — OKC missed 20 of its 26 3-point attempts, including all 12 in the first half — his absence means one less place to find buckets when the offense flounders.”

Erik Horne: “The Thunder went 0-of-5 from 3 in the second quarter. OKC didn’t hit its first 3-pointer until 9:32 into the third quarter, Russell Westbrook breaking an 0-of-12 Thunder slump from distance. “They had a couple more free-throw makes than we did and they made four 3s to our zero,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “That’s 12 extra points, plus including the free-throw line. That was really the difference at the half.” We knew the Thunder wasn’t a proficient 3-point shooting team, second-to-last in the league in 3-point percentage, entering Sunday. It’s why eyes have to be on getting more perimeter help as the trade deadline nears, as well as converting a high rate of opportunities in the paint when they arise. The latter was an issue for the Thunder throughout against the Cavs.”

Royce’s piece on yesterday’s game.

Dawson on Lauvergne’s increased playing time: “He knew this was coming, and Joffrey Lauvergne was ready. With Enes Kanter sidelined by a broken bone in his right forearm, Lauvergne is the Thunder’s primary backup center. In Sunday’s 107-91 loss to the Cavaliers, he got his first shot at what figures to be a string of opportunities to play more, and he was prepared. Lauvergne scored 13 points, tied for the second-most he’s posted this season. He did it in 21 minutes, his sixth-highest total of the season and his second 20-plus minute outing in the past 16 games.”

A great piece by David Glasier of The News-Herald on Billy Donovan: “Mackey also had great things to say about the everyman star on that Providence team, Billy Donovan. Donovan was Mackey’s kind of player, under-sized at 6-foot but possessed of great heart and unstoppable competitive drive. As a senior, Donovan averaged 20.5 points per game and lead the Friars to the Final Four, where Syracuse ended the dream season. He spent a couple of years in private business after graduating from Providence before he got into college coaching in 1989 as an assistant to Pitino at Kentucky. Donovan made his head-coaching debut at Marshall in 1994, then got the top job at Florida in 1996. Nineteen years and two national championships later, he made the move to the NBA in April 2015 when he signed on with an Oklahoma City team anchored by superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.”

According to Forbes, the Thunder are “intrigued” by Carmelo Anthony.

Fred Katz: “Oklahoma City was up seven early in Cleveland. It could have been more. Heck, against the defending champs, maybe it should have been more. “I think we missed some chippies around the basket,” Russell Westbrook said. “Definitely could’ve helped us out a little bit.” The missed layups to start the game bled to the middle, and the Cavaliers swallowed up the 22-15 deficit before leaving Quicken Loans Arena with a 107-91 victory. “I thought we had a couple of really good opportunities in some critical situations, that we needed to convert on some plays and we didn’t,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought we could have opened up and extended a little bit of a larger lead in that first quarter.”