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Thursday Bolts – 1.26.17

Thursday Bolts – 1.26.17

Jon Hamm of Bleacher Report: “As if Westbrook weren’t making enough history with his

triple-double stampede, he is also smashing records in another category known as usage rate. This stat measures the number of plays that end with a player shooting the ball, turning it over or getting to the free-throw line. Westbrook’s regular-season usage rate is 41.4 percent, by far the highest in NBA history. That number skyrockets to a historic 60.9 percent in clutch time. A whopping 93.9 percent of his made field goals are unassisted. When games get down to the wire, not even the Jaws of Life could separate Westbrook from the ball.”

Erik Horne on Dirk: “That pass might take a while, as the 38-year-old played just 19 games this season before Wednesday. He might even get rested Thursday night on the second night of a back-to-back in Oklahoma City. It could be one of Nowitzki’s final appearances in OKC. He’s in the last guaranteed year of his contract, and he hasn’t decided if he’ll return in 2017-18. The Mavericks have a $25 million team option for 2017-18. In December, Nowitzki said he wants to play 20 years, but hasn’t ruled out retirement after this season.”

Jimmy isn’t happy.

From Kevin Arnovitz’s piece on the Kings: “One league insider says Ranadive told him some months back that he aspires to assemble a big three in Sacramento, with Russell Westbrook joining Cousins and Rudy Gay. Multiple sources say that Gay, who tore his left Achilles tendon on Jan. 18, has remained with the team rather than being dealt away because Ranadive believes deeply that the small forward would not leave Sacramento; this despite Gay’s stated decision — before his current injury — to opt out of his contract next summer and his desire to be elsewhere as soon as possible, a sentiment expressed to the organization repeatedly.”

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com on MVP: “Right now I’m giving Harden the nod. For taking his game to a new level, for becoming even just-not-terrible on defense. For being the kind of playmaker most guys of his scoring stature never dream of. For leading the Rockets’ renaissance and doing it without another star on his team. For his efficiency. which is better than Westbrook’s. Harden has to get the nod for now. But all of these players are worthy. This year is not “we have to give it to someone.” It’s “we want to give it to all these guys but only one can win.” I’ll give it to Harden, but cannot wait to see how the rest of this race plays out.”

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider on designated contracts: “On average, between four and five players per season have met the performance criteria to be a designated veteran — including a handful of stars who have qualified all three years. This summer should produce a similar total: Curry and Cousins have already qualified by making the past two All-NBA teams, as has Westbrook. Harden is an overwhelming favorite to make this year’s All-NBA team and join them; Harden and Westbrook are allowed to sign a second extension despite extending their contracts last summer because of a special clause that applies only to them. John Wall is the most likely candidate to join them on the All-NBA team and become eligible for an extension, bringing the possible total to five players.”

Shaun Powell of NBA.com on All-Star Weekend: “If I’m Kevin Durant, I tell Russell Westbrook to spare me any pleasantries. Westbrook had that chance at least on two occasions this season and behaved like a spoiled and petty teenager. KD gave Russ some of the best years of his career. KD defended Russ when Mark Cuban said Russ wasn’t a franchise player. KD praised Russ when he won the MVP trophy. This is all on Russ, not KD, who should get the message and keep his distance.”