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Welcome to The Upside Down.
We’re living in an alternate basketball dimension existing in parallel to the human world.
Back in the human world, the Thunder are the worst team in the NBA this season. In The Upside Down, the Thunder are 4-4, have won two straight and three of their last four games, and are tied for the 5 seed in the West.
Back in the human world, the Knicks are the second worst team in the NBA this season. In The Upside Down, the Knicks are 5-4, beat the Bucks by 20, had won three in a row over the Jazz, Hawks and Pacers before falling to OKC on Friday night, and are tied for the 5 seed in the East.
Back in the human world, Hamidou Diallo is still an inefficient chucker with horrid shot selection. In The Upside Down, Hami is averaging 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, shooting 52.4% from the field and just had a 23-11 double double at Madison Square Garden.
Back in the human world, Poku is getting roasted on Twitter for hoisting up seven more 3s, making none and throwing passes to inanimate objects. In The Upside Down, Aleksej hit 3 of 5 shots against New York, while playing an error free game, solid defense and looking like an actual NBA player.
Back in the human world, Lu Dort is still a defensive specialist with a broke shot turned Thunder fan meme hero. In The Upside Down, Lugentz has hit at least one 3 in every single game, is shooting 41.3% on the season from long range, and is averaging 12.4 points per game on great efficiency.
Back in the human world, Darius Bazley is still considered a raw project reach at #23 overall and every Thunder fan is tweeting I TOLD YOU WE SHOULDA DRAFTED BRANDON CLARKE after every Grizzlies game. In The Upside Down, OKC’s 20 year old sophomore is averaging 12 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, .5 steals, and 1.1 blocks and appears to have taken a leap forward while Memphis’s 52 year old sophomore is averaging 12.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, .7 steals and .9 blocks and appears to have taken a step back.
Back in the human world, OKC’s two rotation centers shooting ability makes Stormtroopers look like a bunch of Doc Hollidays. In The Upside Down, OKC’s starting center hit 3-7 threes against the Knicks and his backup is hitting 42.9% of his threes on 5.3 attempts per game.
Back in the human world, Sam Presti has his social media team photoshopping Cade Cunningham in Thunder Earned Edition jerseys ready to Insta out on draft night. In The Upside Down, Sammy is two fisting cheap beers and sobbing to Sarah McLachlan while learning the names of the players projected to be picked between 8-10 in Yahoo’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft.
Back in the human world, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been given the keys to the Thundermobile and has stepped up to lead his team by remarkably staying consistent in every statistical category with the lone exception of more than doubling his assists from 3.3 to 6.8 a game. In The Upside Down, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been given the keys to the Thundermobile and has stepped up to lead his team by remarkably staying consistent in every statistical category with the lone exception of more than doubling his assists from 3.3 to 6.8 a game.
Seems as though Shai is the only Thunder player immune to the Mind Flayer’s control. In this BizarrOKC season, SGA is the one reliable constant. And he’s improving as the season goes on. Shai is coming off his two best games of the season, both road wins, including a 25-10-7 line in the win against the Knicks.
But as much fun as The Upside Down has been, the future is dark and musky in here. The Upside for the Thunder is much higher if their final position in the standings is all the way Down.
- The OKC bench is supposed to lead the tank…but this makes two straight games where they’ve led a comeback.
- At one point in the first quarter, Al Horford was 3-6 for 7 points and all other Thunder starters were 0-10 for 0 points.
- The refs added 1 point to the Thunder score after reviewing a Shai 3 that was scored as a 2. So SGA scored more points during the break than Bazley, Dort and Hill scored combined in the first half.
- This is the second game in a row Shai scored double digits in the 3rd quarter.
- Even more impressive: Hamidou Diallo hit a 3!
- Why do I still get mad about bad ref calls if I’m supposed to be rooting for Thunder losses?
- For all the criticism Hamidou Diallo gets for his shooting ability and shot selection, he needs to get some of that same energy for becoming a legit scorer + rebounder off the bench.
- Mike Muscala suffered a rib contusion and did not return to the game. He still somehow hit a couple clutch 3s to ice the game.
- It didn’t come until 2 minutes left in the game, but the streak continues: Lu Dort has hit a 3 in every game this season.
- Poku in 5 games before a concussion: 5 points on 2-21 shooting. Poku in 1 game after a concussion: 7 points on 3-5 shooting.
- Lu Dort says that Diallo put on a show being home in New York. “We are happy for him. He’s got his confidence up. He’s built for that.”
- Mark Daigneault on the rookies: “Theo is quietly getting better and better, Poku too.”
- In the post game media call, Theo Maledon was asked a question in French and he asked if was supposed to answer in French. He looked so happy that he could. And that was the last thing I understood.
- Diallo on his teammates celebrating his big game: “It’s just great. We have great teammates. Each and every one of us loves each other. And each and every one of us is happy for each other’s success.”
- Up next: the .500 tanking Thunder take on the .500 championship contending Nets on Sunday night.