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Monday Bolts: 11.6.17

Monday Bolts: 11.6.17

Recapping last night’s loss to the Trail Blazers: “Damian Lillard appears to have shelved whatever problems he had with his shooting touch the first two weeks of the NBA season. The Portland guard tied his season high with 36 points, hitting 10 of 18 shots and going 15 of 15 from the free throw line, and the Trail Blazers held off the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-99 on Sunday night. Lillard also handed out a season-high 13 assists.”

Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony’s odd ejection in Portland: “Ejected for a flagrant foul 2 in the third quarter of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 103-99 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, a restrained Carmelo Anthony said he disagreed with the call but didn’t expand much more beyond that. “I don’t have no thoughts,” Anthony told reporters following the game. “I don’t have anything to say about that play. I think the league will do what’s right.”

Brad Botkin (CBS) on the absurdity of Melo’s ejection: “Even in an NBA that has gone all kinds of soft, with teams crying about getting dunked on and defenders effectively being outlawed from breathing the same air as shooters, the flagrant-2 foul that Oklahoma City Thunder star Carmelo Anthony was whistled for Sunday night in Portland was a special kind of ridiculous. Warning: If you don’t have the stomach for graphic content, don’t worry. Nothing happens here.”

Russell Westbrook likely has a fine incoming for remarks he made about the officiating: “The original call was on Nurkic, but after the referees looked at the video — and it is the in-house referees who have the final say on flagrant fouls — they ejected Anthony for an elbow to the head of Nurkic. This set Russell Westbrook — who had been laid out earlier with a shot to the head where no foul was called — off in his postgame press conference. Westbrook might as well get out the checkbook now, he’s got a $25K fine coming from the NBA (and he knew that was coming when he vented).”

OKC is 11th in ESPN’s latest batch of power rankings: “An MVP and an All-Star teammate haven’t altered Carmelo Anthony’s style of play. His numbers this season versus last season are nearly identical. Prior to his early exit due to a flagrant foul 2 on Sunday, he had a usage percentage of 28 percent and was averaging 21.3 points while taking 18.0 shots per game. Last season, he had a usage percentage of 29 percent and averaged 22.4 points per game on 18.8 field goal attempts per game.”

Erik Horne on the Thunder’s early crunch time issues: “The Thunder is 0-3 in games defined by the NBA as “clutch,” or with the score within five points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. At this juncture last season, the Thunder was 4-1. The prevailing theme of the Thunder season thus far is “it’s early.” While OKC blew an 18-point halftime lead Friday, the “eighth out of 82” approach is more prudent than overreacting to one loss in November. But every close game has ended in an “L” for OKC. So, what’s going on with the Thunder in the clutch?”

Brett Dawson on Jerami Grant’s improved finishes at the rim: “He still isn’t getting to the line much via the drive, but Grant is driving more often and more effectively, shooting 63.6 percent on drives this season compared to 55.4 percent a year ago. He’s scoring 1.9 points per game on drives, up from 1.4 last season. Thunder coach Billy Donovan credits work that assistant coach Adrian Griffin has done with Grant.”

Conrad Burry with a rumored first-look at the Thunder’s “City” alternate uniforms: “As we’ve all witnessed in the past couple of months, Nike has progressively released each NBA team’s “Association”, “Icon” and “Statement” uniforms (what we’d have previously referred to as the home, road, and alternate jerseys). Eight teams have even unveiled their Classic Edition uniforms. But still to come some time in the next few weeks, the “City” uniform. All 30 teams will have a “City” uniform, this will complete the 4-5 uniform rotation that every team in the league will have at its disposal from here on out. Via details I have learned, and descriptions of many of the City Edition uniforms, I was able to create rough mockups of the to-be-released uniforms. This post will focus on the first eleven of these teams, there will be subsequent posts with more mockups to come.”

Around the League: James Harden dropped 56 on Utah last night…. Dwyane Wade called out the Cleveland starting five…. Gregg Popovich passed Phil Jackson on the all-time wins list…. Draymond Green and Mark Cuban are publicly feuding…. Coach Pop reacts to the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.