4 min read

Monday Bolts: 10.29.18

Monday Bolts: 10.29.18

Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) on last night’s Thunder win over the Suns: “The signature sequence in the Thunder’s 117-110 victory came in the third quarter, when on back-to-back possessions Russell Westbrook turned two of his squad’s defensive stops into fast break layups. That sounds pretty usual, right? Well instead of Westbrook attacking 94 feet, slaloming like a Porsche through defenders, the Thunder point guard’s buckets came off passes from Dennis Schröder and Paul George in the flow of a transition attack. Playing off the ball, Westbrook (23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 9 rebounds, 7 assists), was able to catch while on the move without a set defender in front of him and then attack. That Westbrook off-ball Thunder curveball was a focal point for Head Coach Billy Donovan heading into the season. Fans saw it on display on Sunday.”

Brett Dawson (Athletic) with takeaways from the Thunder’s first win of the season: “Steven Adams was a late scratch after experiencing left calf tightness prior to the game. The Thunder didn’t announce he wouldn’t start until just before tipoff and didn’t rule him out of the game until the second half. With Adams out, Noel stepped in and played his best NBA game in two years. He finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds, his first double-double since March of last season with the Mavericks and his first game with 20 or more points since February 2016, when he played for the 76ers. Noel had four steals — one of them set up that Patterson dunk — and a blocked shot, and he helped contain Suns rookie DeAndre Ayton, who scored 16 points on 8-of-17 shooting and didn’t get to the free-throw line. “I was really, really, really impressed with (Noel’s) defensive activity,” Donovan said.”

Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) on Patrick Patterson’s impact against the Suns: “Patterson finished the night with 17 points, shooting 2-of-5 from beyond the arc, in the Thunder’s 117-110 win over the Suns on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Thunder coach Billy Donovan had been adamant that Patterson’s shooting slump in the first three games of the season wouldn’t continue. On Saturday, Patterson proved that his improved shooting at the end of the Thunder’s 101-95 loss to Boston Thursday hadn’t been a fluke. Against Phoenix, Patterson’s standout performance started with a 3-point shot, the Thunder’s first make from beyond the arc on the night. The Thunder had missed four 3-pointers already in the first quarter, including one by Patterson. “The thing that pleased me the most tonight with him,” Donovan said, “was his first 3 was a miss, and it got thrown right back out to him, he shot it right again.”

Highlights from the win over Phoenix:

Royce Young (ESPN) on the health of Steven Adams: “Steven Adams missed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 117-110 win on Sunday over the Phoenix Suns after he experienced tightness in his left calf during pregame warm-ups. Adams left the floor to get checked and treated and was scratched from the lineup. Nerlens Noel started in place of Adams. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he found out Adams would be unable to go around a half-hour before tipoff. Noel filled in with 20 points and 15 rebounds in 26 minutes in the Thunder’s win, their first of the season.”

The Thunder lands at no. 20 in ESPN’s latest power rankings: “The Thunder notched their first win of the season on Sunday against the Suns, though they still rank last in the NBA in offensive rating. Second Spectrum tracking shows OKC has been top 10 in both overall shot quality (factoring in shot type, location and nearest defender) and shot probability (shot quality with a consideration for who is taking the shot), so there’s reason to believe this team won’t be the league’s worst offense for long.”

Adam Wells (B/R) on the unwritten rules of the NBA: “Per NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes, one of the biggest unwritten rules in basketball is not wearing the signature shoe of an opponent. “If you’re playing against someone who has their own signature shoes, you can’t wear them,” Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal told Hughes. Hughes noted several NBA players like wearing Paul George’s Nike sneakers during the season, but they are crossing a line if they wear them in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I didn’t know that was a rule,” Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr. said. “I kind of have my own swag, anyway. I wouldn’t want to do that.”

A look at this week’s slate of games:

Around the League: Kevin Love may be out for a month or more…. Tyronn Lue was fired by the Cavs…. Rick Pitino is hoping for an NBA comeback…. Recapping last night’s action around the league…. The 2019 NBA Draft’s biggest questions…. Is Steph Curry back to his pre-Durant style of play?…. Damian Lillard’s impact in Portland.