4 min read

Monday Bolts: 10.23.17

Monday Bolts: 10.23.17

Royce Young recaps last night’s wild game in Oklahoma City: “It was the perfect finish, the ideal answer to the first crunch time test for the new look Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell Westbrook remained the clutch-time king, hitting three 3-pointers and scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the final five minutes. But in the biggest spot, after Karl-Anthony Towns put the Minnesota Timberwolves up two with 8.9 seconds remaining, Westbrook did what many within the team claimed he’d do, but many outside were skeptical of — he found the open man. He drove right at Carmelo Anthony’s defender, and dropped a pass off to an open Anthony, who splashed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left. Then, Andrew Wiggins went and messed it all up.”

Erik Horne on the final play of Timberwolves/Thunder: “On the final play of the Thunder’s 115-113 loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau appeared to be calling a timeout before Andrew Wiggins streaked down the court for a 30-foot buzzer-beater. The Timberwolves had no timeouts remaining. On the same play, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns slid over to screen Paul George and appeared to commit an offensive foul that freed up Wiggins for the game-winner and simultaneously toppled George with a blow to the knee in the process.”

Matt Petersen (NBA.com) rates the Wiggins buzzer-beater on the Horry Scale: “The Horry Scale breaks down a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety night in November?) and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.”

Andre Roberson is still a poor free throw shooter: “Andre Roberson is not a good free throw shooter, a career 48.9 percent from the stripe. But even for him, this is ugly. Heck, for DeAndre Jordan would think this was ugly. Against the Timberwolves Sunday night, Roberson airballed two free throws. In a row.”

Berry Tramel on why Roberson’s air balls cost the Thunder: “On the opening possession of third quarter, Roberson was fouled on a shot under the basket. He went to the foul line and air-balled the first shot. Then Roberson air-balled the second shot. A few minutes later, Roberson missed a layup, though this one was somewhat contested, unlike the tap-in he missed in the first quarter. With 7:09 left in the third quarter, Billy Donovan pulled Roberson, and he didn’t return until 29.4 seconds remained in the game. And that matters, because the Thunder needs Roberson. His defense is one of the reasons the Thunder has the potential to be elite. He and Paul George on the perimeter together are a nightmare for opposing offenses.”

OKC is 7th in ESPN’s latest batch of power rankings: “In OKC’s first close game of the season on Sunday, with the game on the line, Russell Westbrook passed to Carmelo Anthony, who drained a go-ahead 3-pointer (the Thunder lost seconds later on a buzzer-beater by Andrew Wiggins). Last season, Westbrook took 11 of the team’s 14 go-ahead field goal attempts in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. Three games into the season, Westbrook’s teammates have already made as many go-ahead shots in the final 10 seconds as they did all of last season (one).”

Norman Chad (WaPo) on why no team with Carmelo Anthony can be super: “Supposedly, the Thunder has put together the latest super team, with Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook, except, by definition, no team that includes Melo can be a super team. It’s pretty simple: While there is no “i” in team, there is a lot of “me” in Melo.”

Howard Beck (SI) on Russell Westbrook as the toughest NBA interview: “Among prominent players, it’s Russell Westbrook—by a mile. But I think that’s obvious, even to the casual fan. You can see it in every press conference or post-practice scrum. He just oozes contempt for the media, or at least for the interview process. His answers are often clipped and condescending, frequently defensive, and occasionally hostile. I feel bad for the Oklahoma reporters who cover him every day. And honestly, I don’t get it. Though his playing style has drawn some criticism, he’s enjoyed mostly positive coverage during his career. He’s not a particularly controversial figure, he’s never been in trouble off the court and he hasn’t been subjected to nearly the scrutiny and criticism endured by, say, LeBron James. Or Kevin Durant. Or Kobe Bryant. Or Draymond Green. Or Shaquille O’Neal. Or dozens of other superstars, past and present, who nevertheless handled interviews with much more grace and comity.”

Dakota Crawford (Indy Star) on some of the Pacers still wearing Nike PG1’s: “He, quite literally, still has his stamp on this new-look team. He gifted his Pacers teammates with a pair last season, and the shoes stuck for some. It might seem uncomfortable that players on this roster wear PG1s after George’s public, nasty breakup with Indiana. Pacers President Kevin Pritchard said it was a “gut punch” when George requested a trade.”

Around the League: The Suns fired head coach (and former Thunder PG) Earl Watson…. KD & Steph were both ejected over the weekend…. The Clippers have lost Milos Teodosic indefinitely…. Kyrie Irving was fined $25k for inappropriate language toward a fan…. Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking over the NBA.