The Thunder Defense
The Thunder smothered Detroit last night, holding the Pistons to 33 percent shooting in the 27-point road victory. Despite struggling offensively in the first half, OKC’s defense was dominant from start to finish. After another impressive showing, here is how the Thunder stacks up defensively through 22 games of the 2018-19 season:
Defensive Rating: 100.5 (1st in NBA)
Opponent PPG: 103.6 (T-4th)
Opponent FG%: 44.1 percent (2nd)
Opponent 3P%: 31.8 percent (3rd)
Steals Per Game: 10.4 (1st)
Blocks Per Game: 5.8 (9th)
Turnovers Forced: 16.9 (1st)
PPG Off Turnovers: 21.5 (1st)
As Jon Hamm pointed out last night on Twitter, the Thunder’s defensive rating has been 98.9 after the 0-4 start — carrying an 11.4-point margin of victory in the process. This is all very impressive for a team operating without perhaps their best defender in Andre Roberson.
For the sake of conversation, the Thunder had a 104.7 defensive rating in the 49 games before Roberson went down last season. OKC is by no means a better defensive team without Roberson — and a soft schedule has certainly helped boost the numbers — but it’s clear this team is elite on that side of the basketball.
Peak Steven Adams
Speaking of the Thunder’s defense, Steven Adams has been a matchup nightmare for the NBA’s best big men. Check out some of their numbers when lined up opposite of Big Kiwi:
Anthony Davis: 20 pts, 8 reb, 5 TO, 7/20 FG (Nov. 5)
DeAndre Jordan: 6 pts, 9 reb, 2/4 FG (Nov. 10)
Nikola Jokic: 16 pts, 6 reb, 4 TO, 6/20 FG (Nov. 24)
Andre Drummond: 13 pts, 6 reb, 6/14 FG (Dec. 3)
Adams is averaging a career-best 14.9 points per game — with another career-best in the rebounding department at 10.2 per game. However, his ability to disrupt/frustrate opposing teams and their big men is perhaps his biggest contribution. Nothing illustrates that better than this screen grab from last night’s game:
Pretty much says it all.
I don’t know why, but NBA players performing random acts in perfect sync with one another is really pleasing to me. Patrick Patterson and Dennis Schroder pulled it off last night in Detroit:
Just splendid. Could watch it all day.
Tonight’s Tonight Show
Russell Westbrook is scheduled to appear on Tuesday’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The show will air tonight at 10:35 PM CST on NBC.
Westbrook last appeared on Fallon in September of last year while promoting his fashion book, Style Drivers. Not sure what the occasion is tonight — although I suspect he’ll show off/promote his new Westbrook 0.3 lifestyle sneaker being released through Jordan Brand.
Last year’s Westbrook/Fallon segment:
Return of Hair Jordan
The Thunder had a familiar visitor at today’s practice in New York:
With the full-body sweat suit, generic black/white sneakers, and the beard a little longer than it used to be, it looks like Nick Collison is living his best life in retirement. The hair is still in prime playing condition, though. Some things never change.
RIP Rock the Baby
Exactly like when your dad learned how to dab, Patrick Beverley has officially ruined a fun thing for the rest of us. During last night’s game against the Pelicans, Beverley dropped in a driving layup, then busted out Russell Westbrook’s “Rock The Baby” celebration…
Sigh. That guy is the worst.
All I got. Enjoy your Tuesday.