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Thursday Bolts – 1.12.17

Thursday Bolts – 1.12.17

Erik Horne: “Despite his second-half shooting woes, Westbrook had two key steals on Conley

in the fourth. On the first, Alex Abrines hounded up against his defensive assignment near the sideline, cutting off his path to the basket. It was enough pressure for Westbrook to pounce on the Grizzlies’ only option. Westbrook anticipated the ball was going to his longtime rival. He cut in front of the telegraphed pass then streaked to the rim for a powerful dunk, his only field goal after halftime.”

Nate Scott of FoxSports.com: “And yet in the last week, I’ve started leaning toward James Harden as the league MVP. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s impossible. Westbrook is doing something none of us ever thought would happen again, and he still might not be the NBA’s best player this season. It’s flabbergasting. But look at what Harden is putting together: He’s third in the league in scoring with 28.5 points per game, and leading the league in assists with a flabbergasting 11.8 per game. You don’t average nearly 12 assists per game and score nearly 30. It just doesn’t happen. The entire Rockets offense is running through him right now.”

My story from last night.

Chad Ford of ESPN Insider on who the No. 1 pick is: “For the first time since the 2013 NBA draft, the field for the No. 1 pick is wide open. I’ve spoken with numerous NBA scouts and executives and have heard seven different prospects mentioned as the top guy on a particular team’s board. Sometimes that lack of consensus is an indicator that we have a weak draft, with no clear franchise players at the top. This year, that lack of consensus reflects a feeling that the class is filled with elite prospects who could be All-Stars down the road. We are now halfway through the college basketball season, and I think it’s worth taking a look at who our top five picks would be if the draft were held today. There’s no clear-cut answer for me, but I think Washington freshman guard Markelle Fultz has the slight lead — on team draft boards and on mine as well.”

Watch Tom Haberstroh’s piece on Westbrook’s triple-doubles.

Brett Dawson: “Westbrook didn’t have his best game on Wednesday. He was 6 for 19 from the floor and 0 for 7 from 3-point range. He had six turnovers, the same number he had in Memphis last month. Still, it was a dramatic improvement from that performance, when he finished with 21 points, five rebounds and no assists before a third-quarter ejection for a pair of technical fouls for arguing with officials. Westbrook’s six turnovers Wednesday came in 37 minutes. In Memphis, he played 23. And Westbrook’s Wednesday performance earned him his 18th triple-double this season, the first in his regular-season career against the Grizzlies.”