Nick Gallo recaps last night’s loss to Portland: “The Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd rose as Carmelo Anthony emerged from the scrum under the Thunder’s defensive basket. The NBA’s 19th leading scorer All-Time pushed it up the floor and lined up a three-pointer. He was just 3-of-12 at the time, but with just 3 seconds left on the clock, all 18,203 saw Anthony’s jumper arcing directly towards the heart of the basket. It hit back iron, and the Thunder fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 108-105. “I got a good look at that shot. Missed it,” Anthony said. “Can’t ask for a better look than that.”
Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony’s rough week: “I had two previous to that shot, two open looks, shots that I would take at any moment, on any night,” Anthony said. “To get those three looks that I got, two back-to-back, then one to send the game to overtime, can’t ask for any better looks than that. When you look back at it, I think when you look at it as a whole, you see the Boston game, then tonight missing three 3s down the stretch, as an individual that’s made those shots before, it’s tough to look at, and you always question yourself of what happened or didn’t happen, but you can’t beat yourself up about it.”
Fred Katz with Billy Donovan’s defense of playing Melo over Jerami Grant late: “He called Anthony “a great communicator on defense” following Sunday’s loss, despite the veteran’s career-long act as a non-defender. Donovan reaffirmed his faith in the process. “To discredit what he’s done for our team the entire year, the sacrifices he’s made, the way he’s worked, I just got a lot of confidence and belief in him. And I know he’ll be better from this,” Donovan said. “But just to sit there and say, ‘OK, he’s not getting it done,’ and just to yank him out and sit him, you’d be asking me, ‘Why was he sitting?’ That would be the next question. So, I believe in Carmelo. I think Carmelo has been an unbelievable team guy. He’s giving great effort all the time. He didn’t play a great game. And I think as a coach, you want to have some level of consistency coming down the stretch.”
Tim Cato (SB Nation) on Melo having still not found himself in OKC: “We thought Anthony might embrace the pick-and-roll, popping for jumpers and crashing for layups as a screen setter when teams overload against Westbrook. But he only averages about one shooting possession like that per game, and he hits just 38 percent in those situations. (The Thunder’s mediocre spacing may be somewhat to blame for this.) Anthony’s effectiveness with his back to the basket has faded, too — his post-ups only average 0.83 points per possession. It increasingly seems like his skills are eroding too fast for him to adjust properly. This certainly isn’t said lightly, or with any glee, but the 33-year-old finally looks every bit his age.”
AJ Mason (USA Today) on Evan Turner offering to pay for any fine Terrance Ferguson may receive after last night’s dust-up: “He’s probably 10 years younger than me,” Turner said in reference to Ferguson. “I told him I’d pay his fine, things just happen. It’s basketball, there’s nothing much more to it, clearly. I respect those guys over there, they compete, it’s just a hard-fought game, there’s really nothing more to really drag on from this, it’s a frat.”
Jeremias Engelmann (ESPN) with updated playoff projections and potential match-ups: “Had the Thunder won Sunday against Portland, they’d have a much better chance at home-court advantage in the first round. As it stands now, they snag it in only about 25 percent of our simulations, similar to the Jazz’s chances. The Thunder’s next game — Thursday at San Antonio — is an important one. The Jazz got lucky since they played the injury-plagued Warriors on Sunday, recording an unlikely win that significantly boosted their odds of finishing higher.”
Mallory Chin (HypeBeast) on Jordan Brand releasing a colorway of the Why Not Zer0.1 to celebrate the anniversary of Westbrook’s triple-double record: “The Why Not Zer0.1 “Triple-Double” sports an Oklahoma City Thunder-themed palette of blue, orange and black, while the heel gets a special paint splatter treatment, similar to the recent Air Jordan 1 “Royal” that debuted recently. To finish off the special edition shoe, the date “04/09/17” is printed on the shoe’s outsole. The Why Not Zer0.1 “Triple-Double” is set to be released on April 9, exactly one year to the date that Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s record in a win over the Denver Nuggets, with a retail price of $125 USD.”
Around the League: Steph Curry is likely out through the first round of the playoffs with an MCL injury…. The 76ers clinched a playoff spot/further validated The Process…. LeBron became the third player to score 2,000 points in 10 different seasons…. Oladipo and the Pacers locked up a playoff berth…. Kyrie Irving is out 3-6 weeks after knee procedure…. Tony Parker said his quad injury was “a hundred times worse” than Kawhi Leonard’s.