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Monday Rewind: March 11-17

Monday Rewind: March 11-17

Thunder Complete Season Sweep, Beat Jazz 98-89 in Utah

  • What a long week, huh? I was shocked to remember the whole Jazz Fan incident happened a week ago. Feels like we’ve been talking about it for much longer than that. The whole thing was really unfortunate.
  • The Thunder got a big win over the Jazz and completed the season sweep. Russell Westbrook (23 pts) and Dennis Schroder (24 pts) were the scoring catalysts in this one.
  • But, as mentioned above, the win wasn’t the story. Westbrook’s tirade to a fan was.
  • The following is NSFW:
  • I cannot put myself in Westbrook’s shoes, but I wish he would have handled this better. The “you and your wife” part is just cringe-worthy.
  • The general consensus is Russ would never harm someone. But still… You don’t have to threaten people.
  • That being said, maybe this was needed? Maybe Russell’s response was what it took to have a very important conversation in the NBA. I fully support NBA players speaking up about mental health within the league. If we are going to encourage them to continue to speak up, we cannot continue to tell them to “look the other way” when they endure night after night of racism, bigotry, and plain ugliness from fans.
  • And hey, go boo, and be playful with players. Lord knows Russ eggs it on at times. (See @ Portland) But don’t be ugly. We all know the line.
  • Multiple players came out supporting Russell and/or condemning hateful language from fans. People such as Patrick Patterson, Raymond Felton, Rudy Gobert, Thabo Sefolosha, Donovan Mitchell. Kyrie Irving, etc.
  • Russell’s only statement about the situation:
  • The Jazz ended up handling it perfectly. They banned the fan from their arena for life:

Thunder Come Alive After Halftime, Beat Nets 108-96

  • The second half was the story of this game.
  • Billy Donovan must have spent spent the offseason YouTubing halftime speeches because I can’t count the number of times this team has come out of halftime with a fire.
  • The box score in this one is a lot more indicative of what a Championship-contending Thunder team might look like.
  • Terrance Ferguson scored just two points in this one. The Thunder might just be a Ferg/Schroder resurgence away from being contenders.
  • I really like Deonte Burton, and if Patrick Patterson isn’t in the plans, I’d start giving Burton those fill-in minutes when you need them.
  • Jerami Grant has reached a level of consistency that gives me hope. I started the season giving him the name ‘Peake Freak because of his lankiness, dunks, ability to make some crazy blocks. But really, it might be his ability to hit big 3’s that has been the craziest part of his game.
  • You HAVE to have those guys in the Playoffs. Superstars don’t win you championships on their own. It’s the role player guys who can step up and make those big time shots.
  • Jerami can do that. I think Schroder is capable of doing that. Is Ferguson going to be able to?
  • You knew Russell Westbrook would respond after the Jazz game. 26th triple-double of the season. Oh, and this little shimmy:

Thunder Fall Apart, Pacers Win 108-106 in Indiana

  • Well that game sucked. Big win over the Jazz. Solid win over Brooklyn. The Thunder were well on their way to three in a row, and got Sabonis’d out of the freakin’ gym after leading by as many as 19.
  • Don’t get me wrong, I loved Victor Oladipo, but I was most sad to see Sabonis go in the trade for Paul George. Grant’s emergence has made losing Domas much easier to stomach, but the young man is goooood. 26 points for Sabonis.
  • Russ busted out some wild sneakers for the folks in Indiana:
  • My favorite highlight of the night? Wesley Mathews nope’d HARD on guarding Westbrook in transition:
  • So, I tweeted a clip of Steven Adams with his hair down. Some of the replies were unreal, folks. Adams and those luscious locks bring out the thirst of the entire Thunder fan population.
  • Yeah, so the Thunder played fairly well in this one… And then suddenly stopped. Shots wouldn’t fall. Too many turnovers. It was all OKC and then handed over to the Pacers. Indiana wins by 2 despite a big night from Russell and Paul.
  • On the bright side? The Thunder defense looked REALLY good at times. And George brought out that MVPG-like play: 36 points, 6 rebounds, 6-of-11 3PT.

Warriors Blow Out Thunder, Win 110-88 in OKC

  • I’m not going to spend much time on this. The entire thing felt really dumb.
  • Westbrook was awful. 2-of-16 shooting on the night. Four turnovers. He also picked up his 16th technical of the season to earn a one-game suspension that he’ll serve tonight against Miami.
  • Quick whistle in my opinion, but maybe, just maybe, give it a rest and see if it effects the calls? Russ has reached double-digit techs in seven of the last eight seasons.
  • I firmly stand with PG when he says the Thunder don’t get a fair whistle, though. Westbrook in particular seems to get officiated rather poorly more often than not. But let’s just try to be nice to the officials for a season or so and see how it shakes out.
  • The Warriors blew the doors off the Thunder without Kevin Durant and it wasn’t much fun to watch. Not much else to say about this one.
  • Oh, and Russ had no interest in discussing his 16th technical after the game:

Everything Else

  • So, the Thunder finally caved and got a sponsor for the jerseys. It’s reportedly a top 10 jersey deal in the league, and anything helps with that luxury tax bill. But let’s be honest — no one is thrilled about the big yellow Love’s ad.
  • The Thunder fan base was quick to blame the new patches for the blowout loss to the Warriors on Saturday. The organization needs to be careful here. No one likes a curse.
  • In response to the Westbrook/fan situation in Utah, Jazz fans started collecting money for charity as a sign of good faith. So far, they’ve raised nearly $16,000 of their $25,000 goal, all of which will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign. Pretty cool and good on them.
  • The Jazz also banned a second fan for life because of some footage that surfaced from last season’s Thunder/Jazz playoff series. In it, a fan continually insults Westbrook, calling him “boy”, much to the enjoyment of he and his heckler friends. The Jazz organization found him and now he’s gone, too.

This Week

  • Prediction: 2-1
    • Win vs Miami: No Russ, no problem. PG puts on his MVP shoes and gets it done in D-Wade’s final trip to Oklahoma City.
    • Win vs Toronto: Russ will be back and the Thunder get the Raptors at home. If you’re going to beat them, this is the most likely time to do it.
    • Loss @ Toronto: The Raptors are 28-7 at home and it’s also really cold in Canada. I don’t like the odds.