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Monday Bolts: 1.7.19

Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps last night’s blowout loss to the Wizards: “Where big advantages in turnovers and second chance points typically stand, the Thunder faced major deficits. For the game, a 116-98 loss to the Washington Wizards, the Thunder gave up 16 offensive rebounds that led to 22 points and lost the turnover battle 15-9. That all coalesced into taking 13 fewer field goal attempts than Washington, a dynamic that has been extremely rare this season for the Thunder.  “Every team that plays has a formula for how that team has to win,” Donovan explained. “For us, because we have not been a great three-point shooting team and because we’ve been up and down at the free throw line, part of our recipe has gotta be that we have to take more shots. Part of the way you do that is by offensive rebounding and generating turnovers.”

Candace Buckner (WaPo) on the Wizards’ first ever win in OKC: “No Wizards player had ever experienced this feeling. Every visit to the heartland had produced the same result — a loss. All those years when Scott Brooks was coach of the Thunder — and in the past three years after he moved several feet down to stand in front of the Wizards’ bench — defeat had always followed Washington off this court. Until Sunday. “It’s great. I told the team that before we walked out tonight I’ve never won here,” Beal said. “Even when Brooks was here, I’ve never won here. So it’s just something I wanted everybody to keep on their mind.” The Wizards had never muzzled the fury of Russell Westbrook quite like this. Though there have been times when he had gone full Westbrook and needed 35 shots to score 35 points (Nov. 30, 2016) or scored under 20 points against Washington (it has happened three times inside this arena), Westbrook had always done enough to help or lead the Thunder to its traditional win over Washington. Until Sunday.”

Berry Tramel (Oklahoman) on the brutal Thunder loss: “The Wizards routed the Thunder 116-98, following perhaps its best win of the season (111-109 at Portland on Friday night) with easily its worst loss. Washington, missing three starters and mired in a discouraging season, had lost eight straight road games, none of them by less than six points. “Eighty-two games, you think you’re going to play good every night, you’ve got another thing coming,” said Westbrook, who for the first time in awhile was neither fabulous nor awful. That’s a Pollyannish way of looking at things and maybe the right way to look at things, because the NBA season is a grind. On the other hand, home losses to bad teams is no way to keep up with the Warriors and Nuggets.”

Westbrook’s full post-game comments:

Fred Katz (Athletic) on Otto Porter’s big night against the Thunder: “The Wizards outscored the Thunder by 22 points in the 24 minutes Porter played Sunday. Meanwhile, the oft-bashful shooter has picked up some moxie. Porter took 14 shots in 21 minutes Friday in Miami before hoisting 17 in 24 minutes Sunday. And maybe, just maybe, it continues. Maybe the Wizards have a new guy to run their second unit.”

Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) on Steven Adams no longer being the Thunder’s best kept secret: “Adams is in the middle of the highest-scoring season of his career. He entered the Thunder’s matchup with the Trail Blazers on Friday averaging 15.6 points to go with 4.9 offensive rebounds per game, third-highest in the league. Asked if he thought Adams knew how good he was, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook said: “I think he knows, but I don’t think he really cares. I know that he just wants to win, and that’s all that matters to him. … I make it my job, my priority to make sure he gets the ball and gets more shots because when he plays well we win.” Westbrook’s hunch meshed with Adams’ response to what it would mean to him if he did make the All-Star team. His answer to that topic when it came up two weeks ago was predictably unique. He shook his head and shrugged several times before finally saying, “I don’t care, mate.”

The Thunder are seventh in ESPN’s latest power rankings: “Much has been made of Russell Westbrook’s extended shooting slump (37.8 percent shooting, 26.0 percent from 3-point territory in his past 12 games), but the Thunder won eight of those games with an average net rating of plus-5.6 in that stretch. The Thunder win with their defense first, and Westbrook’s ability to drive the offense is largely robust in the face of his lack of scoring efficiency.”

Around the League: Tom Thibodeau is out as head coach in Minnesota…. Top candidates to replace Thibs…. Chandler Parsons and the Grizzlies are headed for a breakup…. The Cavs waived Patrick McCaw after one week with the team…. Cleveland will sign Cam Payne…. Enes Kanter won’t travel to London with the Knicks out of fear for his safety…. Recapping last night’s NBA action…. Can the Warriors win and keep KD happy?…. A conversation with Anthony Davis.