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Monday Bolts: 12.4.17

Monday Bolts: 12.4.17

Nick Gallo recaps last night’s win over the Spurs: “It was an ugly, disjointed and mucked up game on Sunday night, the exact recipe that the skeleton crew San Antonio Spurs were looking for. The Thunder had to grind it out and work for everything to push through a lack of rhythm and flow in this one, and ultimately, that effort was rewarded with a 90-87 victory. “We were generating good shots and missed a lot of shots, and our defense throughout the second half stayed true. Those guys didn’t buckle one bit,” Head Coach Billy Donovan said.”

Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony sacrificing for the better of his teammates: “Anthony has had to take the adjustment to heart the most, with it bearing out obviously over the last two games. Against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, and then against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Anthony has attempted a total of 17 shots, scoring 18 points. It’s the first time in his 15-year NBA career that Anthony has scored in single digits in consecutive games. He has been clearly intentional with making extra passes, resisting the outside-the-paint, off-the-dribble jumper, to be more selective for catch-and-shoot opportunities.”

Brett Dawson on how Raymond Felton stabilized the Thunder last night: “San Antonio had rallied from 14 down in the first half into a fourth-quarter lead, and Oklahoma City was on unstable footing. Raymond Felton helped it get settled. The Thunder’s backup point guard scored four of his eight points in the fourth quarter on a pair of tough buckets. His tough driving basket with 10:04 to play — he got to the rim and finished a contested layup over Spurs center Joffrey Lauvergne — put the Thunder in front 78-77 after San Antonio had rallied into the lead. Felton’s floater with 5:50 to play put OKC up 82-79.”

Fred Katz on Paul George’s criticism of the officials: “It’s hard, especially when the game is being called a certain way, and it’s just cheap fouls,” he said. “On the other end, I try to attack. [If] they gonna call it this way, I’m gonna see if I can pick up some of these cheap fouls that they’re giving and, no call. So, you kinda expect that. When everybody’s out for San Antonio, you really think they’re gonna put them in foul trouble? So, it is what it is.”

Video of Paul George’s officiating comments. Via Brett Dawson:

The Thunder sit at number 14 in ESPN’s latest NBA Power Rankings: “OKC finally won some close games, squeaking by Minnesota and San Antonio after beginning the season 0-9 in games decided by eight points or fewer. Both wins were far from convincing in terms of Russell Westbrook’s new sidekicks, however. Carmelo Anthony was held to single-digit scoring in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, while Paul George went 2-for-17 in Sunday night’s win over San Antonio (which was playing without both Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge).”

Andrew Sharp (SI) on Russell Westbrook’s 2017-18 market correction: “So let’s see how Westbrook responds. OKC still has the length, athleticism, and scoring, to compete with anyone in a playoff series. Westbrook can still outplay any guard in the league. But this year and beyond, that MVP award guarantees that he’ll be more scrutinized than ever if he struggles. People will make fun of his game, laugh at his stat-padding, wonder if he’s become the most overrated player in the NBA, and as long he’s considered one of the best players in the league, all of it will be fair. It’s like a market correction. Westbrook deserved his MVP, but until he evolves, he deserves the criticism, too.”

Adam Fromal (B/R) says Carmelo Anthony has the worst small forward contract in the NBA: “Not only is he failing to hit the looks the kick-out feeds of Paul George and Russell Westbrook grant him, but he’s not willing to play the necessary style. A higher percentage of his offense (25.3 percent) should not be coming in isolation than these off-ball situations given the construction of this Thunder roster. According to the regression we’re using for these rankings, Anthony’s salary would need to be quite a bit lower in order to match his value output. How much lower? Well, he’d actually have to be paying the Thunder $16,167,729 for the privilege of wearing their uniform rather than accepting any money from them.”

Around the League: The Lakers are enforcing a “Lavar Ball Rule”…. Anthony Davis will miss tonight’s game versus Golden State due to a pelvis injury…. Derrick Rose has been in contact with the Cavs after leaving the team…. Austin Rivers was fined $25,000 after verbally abusing a fan…. The Suns completed the laziest defensive possession of all time on Saturday.