3 min read

Thursday Bolts: 01.16.20

Thursday Bolts: 01.16.20

The Thunder came up short in what would have been their most impressive comeback on the season (which is saying something) against the Raptors last night. Brandon Rahbar recaps the action for you.

Joe Mussatto (The Oklahoman) has five takeaways from the loss.

It’s astonishing how comfortable Paul George seems to be living up to his “Loose-Lipped Paul” moniker, as evidence by his latest interview with Ramona Shelburne (ESPN): “It started innocently enough, with George calling Leonard — whom he’d known since their high school days in Southern California — a few days after the Raptors won the championship. “It was congratulating him on winning,” George says. “That’s how it started … then it took on a life of its own.” Once the two Southern California boys began talking, “it just trickled from there,” George says.”

I know the cheating/loyalty trope is a tired a prism from which to view player movement, but it’s hilarious to me how the euphemistic language players use to talk about it could be lifted from an adulterer’s diary.

Toronto head coach Nick Nurse told Mussatto that he remembers his time as a USBL coach in Northern Oklahoma fondly: “I loved it. I loved my time in Enid. Mark Price Arena was fun.” Nurse was an assistant under Bryan Gates, who’s now an assistant coach with the Timberwolves. “That was a neat little setup we had,” Nurse said. “A lot of Oklahoma State guys, a lot of Oklahoma guys, and that little arena was rocking.” Nurse is in his second season as the Raptors head coach. Last season, he led Toronto to its first NBA title. “Believe it or not,” Nurse said of his time in Enid, “sometimes I recall some plays we were running from way back then.”

Erik Horne (The Athletic) on basketball and family for Danilo Gallinari: “We shoulder each other, foul each other,” Federico (Danilo’s brother) said. “No blood, no fouls. It’s good for me because in the NBA you get hit, in college you get hit.” These are the Gallinari brothers. Despite their age difference and different paths to their basketball futures, their bond has remained as strong as the days when Danilo was changing Federico’s diapers.”

Adam Zagoria (Forbes) notes that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a prominent part of Canadian basketball’s recent upswing: “Wiggins certainly was impressed by Gilgeous-Alexander after Sunday’s performance. “He’s tough. He’s very tough,” Wiggins said. “He’s a big guard that can put it on the floor and create for others, and he’s a bucket. He can make a bucket when he needs to.” The last year has seen tremendous achievements for Canadian basketball — and Canadian sports in general. In June, the Raptors won the first NBA title for a team outside the United States. One week later, a record six Canadians were selected in the NBA Draft.”

Matt John (Basketball Insiders) looks at a handful of Thunder players in a piece on trade targets within the Northwest Division.

Add Luke Adams (HoopsRumors) to the number of those convinced that the Thunder will trade Justin Patton this season for tax purposes: “He’s not a difference-maker for the Thunder and wouldn’t be more than a project for any team acquiring him. However, with the Thunder approximately $922K over the tax line – per Early Bird Rights – the idea of moving Patton might appeal to the team. Trading away the 22-year-old at the deadline and then replacing him with a player on a prorated minimum-salary within the next couple weeks would allow Oklahoma City to get out of the tax for the 2019/20 season.”

Speaking of Patton, the center looked awfully overqualified for the G League when dropping 45/13/9/6 the other night:

Ahead of his return to the court, Victor Oladipo talked to Shams Charania (Stadium) about, among other things, questioning his career trajectory during his disappointing stay in OKC. Here’s the Thunder-related bit:

Joel Ingles was Zach Lowe’s (ESNP) latest podcast guest, and he gives props to both Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City crowd for their amazing Game 5 comeback victory in the 2018 playoffs.

Owen Phillips (FiveThirtyEight) looks at the downward trend of reddit interest in the NBA at large, and charts the Thunder’s subreddit as having the second-worst decline among specific team forums.

Is it too soon to draft Kendrick Perkins’ son?

Gregg Popovich told media including David Wilson (Miami Herald) that he was “maybe” at fault for telling breakout forward Bam Adebayo he wasn’t ready to make athe Team USA roster featuring Mason Plumlee and Derrik White this summer.

According to Jeff Zillgitt (USA TODAY), both players and owners in the WNBA are bullish on their newly agreed upon CBA.