7 min read

Monday Rewind: March 4-10

Monday Rewind: March 4-10

Happy National Napping Day! Daylight Savings time is kicking my butt and I’m cranky. I’m going to try really hard not to talk about officiating until the end of the Rewind. Let’s get to it.

Defensive Woes Continue, Timberwolves Defeat Thunder 131-120

  • Didn’t figure the Thunder had much of a chance in this one. Paul George was back, but rusty. The Thunder were on the road against a team that plays out-of-their-minds against OKC every time.
  • Not a T’Wolves fan. Never was, but when Nerlens Noel was laying unconscious earlier in the season and Minnesota players were seen giggling/smiling, that was it for me.
  • No one was knocked out in this one. But we did get a Big Kiwi Bloody Nose early on:
  • And this is why Steven Adams is great. He’s not the first gritty basketball player to stuff some tissue up his nose and keep playing. He may be the first person to stick something the size of a grown man’s sock up his nose, though.
  • Steve-O allowed the giant Kleenex to fill up with blood before officials politely made him leave the game and go get that nose cleaned up.
  • Russell Westbrook’s animated reactions are undefeated:
  • And we were treated to an All-Time Thunder flop by Dennis Schroder:
  • To be fair to the Schrodie, that was about the only way to stop Derrick Rose at the time. It honestly felt like he scored 20-straight points for Minnesota. (He ended up with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting.)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns ends the night with 41 points and 14 rebounds. Woof.

Thunder Sweep Season Series, Beat Trail Blazers 129-121 in Overtime

  • What a game. Playoff-atmosphere. A fantastic performance by Damian Lillard (51 points). Russell Westbrook truck-sticked Jusuf Nurkic. Christmas in March
  • You know I’ve been all about the Why Not Zer0.2‘s. This colorway is top three:
  • Russell loves to say he plays every game the same way. And in a way, he does always give 100 percent. But there are certain guys in the NBA Russ decided to bump it up to 110 percent when he’s facing them. Dame Lillard is one of those guys.
  • Vince McMahon has it figured out: to have an entertaining product, you’ve got to have bad guys, villains, heels, etc. Rus walked down the ramp and into the Moda Center, aiming to be the biggest bad guy in the room. It worked. Portland booed him all night.
  • Adding flames to the fire, Russ side-checked Nurkic out of his shoes. And since Jusuf is a very large, strong man whose twitter handle is literally “bosnianbeast27” one could only assume he would never flop or exaggerate contact. Thus, Westbrook must have super strength.
  • I’ll actually commend the officiating here. They went back to see Nurkic going for the trip on Westbrook. A technical was assessed to Nurkic and a Flagrant 1 to Russ. Good work, refs.
  • This isn’t the first time Jusuf has tried this with OKC. And Westbrook keeps track of these things:
  • What a crazy sequence here. Paul George drive to the rim and elbows Nurkic in the face (L2M deemed this an incorrect no call). But Terrance Ferguson is there to clean up the miss and put the Thunder up by two.
  • The next possession? Chaos.
  • To recap: The officials missed offensive basket interference, a foul is called on OKC. Nurkic headbutts Paul George. PG and Nurk get double-technicals and Jusuf is ejected from the game.
  • Because Nurkic was the Blazer fouled on the possession, Billy Donovan got to choose who shot free throws for Portland. Cold Blooded Billy D chose Skal Labissiere, who played approximately 2 seconds of the entire game. He missed both free-throws. Game over right?
  • Nope. A foul on the block out by OKC gave the Blazers two more FTs. They sink both. Overtime.
  • Portland without Nurkic didn’t have much left in the tank in OT. OKC went on to win this, but at the expense of their legs for a game they’d play in less than 24 hours against the Clippers.

Thunder Foul Out, Clippers Win 118-110 in Los Angeles

  • Let’s get to the good bad stuff.
  • I thought the following was cool. Russell is obviously upset about the fouls and not wanting any part of Schroder’s encouragement. The Schrodie isn’t giving up. I like Dennis not backing down, and don’t blame Russ at all for his frustration.
  • At one point Beverley was hounding Paul George, who goes to pass the ball. Beverley ties it up and a jump-ball is called. Okay? Cool. Except when PG and Beverley lined up for the jump, the officials tell Beverley that it’s actually 7’1″ Ivica Zubac who should be jumping against PG.
  • It’s just a jump-ball, but how do you get that wrong? Even Beverley himself knew it should have been him.
  • I never heard an explanation for this one, so if any of you have one, I’m all ears.
  • Nerlens Noel is a freak of nature.
  • Abdel Nader had a poster in this one as well:
  • This game though, more than any I can remember, came down to officiating. I largely agree you should never blame a loss on the officials. But… I’m blaming this loss on the officials.
  • Here are Paul George (MVP Candidate) and Russell Westbrook’s (Former MVP) sixth fouls:
  • A bit of a flop by Beverley, but really looked like a no-call to me and definitely not a foul on PG. Westbrook’s is more of a 50/50 call, but man…. that’s how you foul a guy out?
  • Steven Adams would also foul out. Nerlens Noel ended up with five fouls himself. Jerami Grant was called for four.
  • According to ESPN, this was only the second time in the past decade that three starters on the same team have fouled out of an NBA game.
  • It felt oddly personal, huh? The Thunder complain way too much as a team, but it sometimes feels warranted. It could just be a vicious cycle at this point though. Team complains, refs make a point, team complains, refs make a point, etc.
  • In the past two games combined, OKC has shot 58 free throws while opponents have combined to shoot 93. That’s uh… not close.
  • I think Westbrook is extremely difficult to officiate. He is so fast and a lot of the contact can be hard to pinpoint. That being said, a lot of it goes uncalled. Would it make a difference? Who knows. He’s shooting a career-worst 65.3 percent from the FT line.
  • “Stop it pat lol” is the best way to handle Patrick Beverley being a Twitter troll.
  • PG after the game: “It’s just bad officiating,” George said. “I’m sorry, just bad officiating. We don’t get a fair whistle. We haven’t gotten a fair whistle all year.”
  • And to make sure the inevitable $25,000 fine was worth it: “Somebody’s got to look into this. It’s getting out of hand, where we somehow just walk teams to the line. And there’s nobody that gets more contact. If I don’t speak for myself, I speak for Russ. There’s nobody that gets more contact than Russ going to the basket. And it’s just crazy. I don’t understand it. It’s a piece of (expletive) being on that floor.”

Everything Else:

  • Big Kiwi returned to the farm for the Oklahoma Beef Council:
  • The Thunder and Deonte Burton agreed to a multiyear deal for the rookie to join the main roster full time. Good for Deonte. I like his energy and confidence. I’m really looking forward to his future in OKC, whatever it may be.
  • Deonte’s G-League highlight is been absolutely insane. Check it out:

Weekly Forecast:

  • Let’s get wild. The Thunder are going to turn it around this week and go…. 4-0.
  • Win @ Jazz (60% confidence level) |  The Jazz have recently beat the Nuggets and Bucks. I’m shaky on this one, but think OKC will want to make a statement after the Clippers loss.
  • Win vs. Nets (70% confidence level) | PG dropped 25 points in the fourth quarter against them in December.
  • Win @ Pacers (80% confidence level) | OKC hasn’t played Indiana this season, which means I haven’t got to watch my sweet, sweet Sabonis. I miss that guy.
  • Win vs. Warriors (49.5% confidence level) | Things are shaky in Warrior-land. Kevin Durant left last night’s game with an ankle injury. And Steve Kerr is tired of Draymond Green’s… crap. Let’s get ’em.