Thursday Bolts – 1.19.17
Shea Serrano of The Ringer: “When the Thunder are on offense, it looks like this: they’re
swinging the ball around the 3-point line a bit, things are flowing, and then it ends up in Roberson’s hands and it’s like one of those time-travel movies they show on the Disney Channel where some kids travel back to see dinosaurs or whatever and someone hands a caveman a PlayStation Vita and the caveman is like, “What the f— is this?” and he just stares at it and flips it over and shakes it and whatnot. That’s Roberson when he gets the ball. It’s wild to watch. Draymond, who was ““guarding”” Roberson during the game, sagged off of him 10, 15, 20 feet every time. There was one play where Roberson caught the ball on the left wing and Draymond legit just walked to the bench and sat down while Roberson prayed for all of the electricity in America to shut off so he could just set the ball on the floor and walk away without anyone seeing him. I don’t like it. It’s a little embarrassing. I hope Roberson starts shooting soon.”
Brett Dawson: “Russell Westbrook took an inbound pass and cradled it. With the ball tucked, the Thunder guard turned to direct traffic, and he took a step toward his offensive end of the floor. Then he took another. And another. And another. He took five of them before the call came. Traveling. In the heat of a competitive game with the Warriors Wednesday at Oracle Arena, Westbrook had casually carried the ball to the free-throw line without once dribbling it. Westbrook pointed to his head as if to tell his teammates he’d spaced out. The play had gotten away from him. The game was in the midst of doing the same.”
News story on the Westbrook-Pachulia incident.
I wrote about what it looked and felt like this time around Kevin Durant.
Ben Golliver of SI.com makes All-Star picks: “Both players fare well across the major advanced stats—ranking in the top 10 in Win Shares, top 5 in PER and top 15 in RPM—while leading their respective teams to unexpected heights. A retooled Rockets team is the league’s biggest surprise, while the Kevin Durant-less Thunder have held on to a winning record thanks in large part to Westbrook’s ability to maintain a respectable level of efficiency despite a record-setting 41.8 usage rate. In Houston, Harden has spiked his team’s offensive rating by 9.5 points when he takes the court; In Oklahoma City, Westbrook has pumped up the Thunder’s rating by 8.8 points while also improving its defensive rating by 8.1 points.”
Kevin Durant’s agent had some interesting tweets last night.
Ethan Strauss of ESPN.com: “Things got cinematically testy at the end of the second quarter. Draymond Green stole the ball from Westbrook, which led to a Stephen Curry layup and some yelling from Westbrook in the direction of Golden State’s players. On the ensuing possession, Pachulia wrenched the ball from Westbrook with some contact that bumped the All-Star point guard to the ground. Pachulia glared downward as Westbrook was on his stomach, grabbing his face. Teammates did not exactly rush to their superstar’s aid, which might have something to do with Westbrook’s storming to the bench as the play was reviewed. It was eventually ruled a flagrant 1. What looked like the beginning of some drama was actually the beginning of the end for OKC. The Warriors were too good after starting the second half, not ceding a turnover in the third quarter. Durant claimed 13 points in the quarter and was greeted with enormous applause as he went to the bench.”
Durant on his exchange with Westbrook: “That’s all it was. You talk a little trash. (There’s) no tension. Nothing went on out there. Both teams played hard. He did what he’s supposed to do. I went out there and did what I was supposed to do. It’s nothing serious, man, nothing that we’re going to take off the court, you know what I’m saying? It ain’t gonna seep into the real world. It’s just basketball talk.”
Sam Amick of USA Today: “Less than three months since donning a Warriors jersey for the first time, Durant has already managed to get above the Westbrook v. Durant fray. Considering the drama that unfolded in their first meeting, when Westbrook mocked Durant with his “Photographer” outfit and had plenty to say about his old pal’s new team, it seemed the awkwardness would remain for quite some time. But Durant, whose new team is now a league-best 36-6, is moving on now – whether Westbrook wants to or not.”
Michael Lee of The Vertical: “No, Durant and Westbrook aren’t on the best of terms, but they have not granted others admission into their internal drama. They are settling into life without each other, expanding their games and finding comfort in what they are becoming. Durant is a more efficient scorer who no longer has to worry about removing bad shots from his diet because he gets so many good looks in Golden State’s free-flowing offense. Westbrook is one of the two frontrunners for the league’s MVP award, blitzing the stat sheet by turning the sublime into the routine, all while averaging an unconscionable triple-double.”