4 min read

Thursday Bolts: 11.15.18

Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps last night’s 128-103 win over the Knicks: “For the second straight game the Thunder made a charge right out of the gates, but tonight it was a different color blur that flashed across the Chesapeake Energy Arena floor. As Head Coach Billy Donovan’s club turned defensive stops into free-flowing offensive opportunities, there were five turquoise jerseys moving in sync to the rhythm of Donovan’s direction. In the crisp new turquoise City uniforms, designed to honor the Native American community in Oklahoma, the Thunder burst out with runs of 18-9 and 17-4 in the first quarter thanks to disruptive defense, taking a commanding 18-point lead that never dipped below 10 the rest of the way. The pathway to the rim was carved by a relentless commitment to stay with what was working on offense – namely in the pick and roll. Dennis Schröder got downhill for floaters, but also found Steven Adams after the Kiwi big man set screens and quickly slipped into the paint to receive passes or draw defenders. Schröder, who finished with 12 of the Thunder’s 32 assists, easily made the right reads to get teammates involved as the Thunder’s offense hummed with 53.7 percent shooting, including a 16-of-33 mark from the three-point line and 64 points in the paint.”

Matthew Miranda (Posting & Toasting) with a Knicks-view recap of last night: “Close your eyes. What do you see? If it’s someone from the Oklahoma City Thunder getting a loose ball or offensive rebound, you likely endured tonight’s 128-103 Knicks’ drubbing. You may not have figured the Knicks had any real chance for a victory on the road against OKC, even without Russell Westbrook active. If so, stop what you’re doing and go get a Mega Millions tickets. Ask out that hottie you’ve been working up the courage to step to. Eat that half-off day-old gas station sushi. You are on a roll, friend. The Thunder blitzed the Knicks right outta the gate.”

Erik Horne (Oklahoman) on a good night for Steven Adams against New York: “Steven Adams wasn’t trying to be mean. He was speaking with the confidence of a player who knows his opponent and the Thunder’s capabilities. The Thunder was at the free throw line on its way to a season-high for points in the first quarter against the Knicks. During the stoppage, Adams walked straight toward Knicks coach David Fizdale and offered a suggestion about Enes Kanter. “Sub him out,” Adams repeated with a stone-serious face. “He can’t play defense. He can’t defend pick-and-roll.” The confidence of Adams’ statement permeated through the Thunder’s 128-103 rout of the Knicks, OKC’s ninth win in 10 games. The physical battles between Adams and Kanter weren’t hateful. During the National Anthem, the two former teammates smiled at each other from across the court. After the game, Adams said he was trying to get Kanter out of the game because he’s such a “bloody good player.” Adams isn’t bad himself. He posted 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 31 minutes. Kanter was efficient (19 points, 8-of-11 FGs), but the Knicks were outscored by eight points with Kanter on the floor.”

Brett Dawson (Athletic) on the Thunder having fun again: “The Thunder got along last season, even as they struggled to an 8-12 start and a first-round exit in the playoffs. But it rarely looked as happy on the court as this edition has during its current hot streak. “I think great teams are teams that — they got to enjoy playing together,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. Players are passing on good shots for better ones. They’re celebrating successes and mocking missteps, as evidenced by the grief headed rookie Hamidou Diallo’s way for blowing a breakaway dunk attempt. Diallo went for a windmill, but the ball didn’t go with him. “That was his introduction to ‘Shaqtin’ a Fool’ right there,” George said…. The schedule will toughen for the Thunder when November gives way to December, and again in the new year. But for now, the wins are piling up, and the Thunder are soaking it in. Asked if his team is having as good a time as it seems, guard Terrance Ferguson gave a little grin. “Does it look like it?” he said. “Hell yeah, we’re having fun.”

Thunder/Knicks highlights:

Scott Polacek (B/R) on the brilliance of Paul George and Steven Adams: “The Western Conference is loaded with contenders with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Portland Trail Blazers, the Denver Nuggets, the San Antonio Spurs, and more, and Oklahoma City will surely need Westbrook as an individual game-changer who can take over in the closing moments of tightly contested playoff battles. However, the inside-outside combination of George and Adams is enough to propel the Thunder into the playoffs, meaning there is no need for Westbrook to rush back. It is far more important that the 2016-17 MVP is healthy and ready to go come April than November and December, and the two other foundational pieces in place allow OKC the luxury of taking its time with Westbrook’s recovery.”

Zach Harper (Athletic) has the Thunder seventh in his power rankings: “With Adams on the court, the Thunder have a difference of 18.9 points per 100 possessions than when their center is out of the game. They dominate with him and get dominated without him. The key to it all comes on the offensive end of the floor. His screens, offensive rebounding, general scoring touch, and hard rolls to the basket help create a difference of 20.4 points per 100 possessions on offense with Adams on the floor. They simply can’t score without him. The only thing missing from Adams right now? Nick Collison to shake his hand before the games start.”

Around the League: LeBron passed Wilt for fifth on the all-time scoring list…. Rajon Rondo broke his hand…. A buzzer-beater sealed Dwayne Casey’s triumphant return to Toronto…. Jimmy Butler lost his Philly debut…. Steph Curry will be out longer than expected…. Do the Warriors need Kevin Durant?