3 min read

Thursday Bolts: 11.16.17

Thursday Bolts: 11.16.17

Recapping the Thunder’s 92-79 win over the Chicago Bulls last night: “Russell Westbrook had 21 points and seven assists and the Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls 92-79 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory. Oklahoma City had high hopes coming into the season after trading for All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, but the Thunder had lost four straight before getting things turned around to even their record at 7-7.”

Darnell Mayberry’s (The Athletic) notebook from Thunder/Bulls: “Russell Westbrook had his way, toying with the Bulls for breakaway dunks that brought the fans out of their seats. The Bulls had absolutely no resistance against Russ when he decided to turn it on. “He does that to a lot of people,” Hoiberg said. “He’s so explosive. That’s the reason he was the MVP last season.”

Fred Katz on the win over Chicago and the road ahead for the Thunder: “This is how this game was supposed to go, though. The Thunder pinned the Bulls the first time around — and it’s not like Chicago has shown prowess since.  Still, it’s a necessary victory heading into a tougher part of OKC’s schedule, which begins Friday, when the team plays at the always consistent San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder follow with one at the playoff hopeful New Orleans Pelicans before coming back home for matches against the defending-champion Golden State Warriors and 10-3 Detroit Piston”

Rick Bucher (B/R) spoke with Kevin Durant about his time with OKC: “Me and my family didn’t just erase those eight years in OKC. D.C. and OKC is where we grew up—my mom, my brother, me. I am OKC. I’m still OKC. That blue is going to be in my blood forever. That place raised me. I have people there who would take a bullet for me and vice versa.”

Adam Caparell (Complex) had a Q&A with Carmelo Anthony: “It’s just a greater level of appreciation here from an athletes’ standpoint, from a basketball standpoint. The fans are very appreciative of me coming here, of Paul coming here, and wanting to be a part of the Oklahoma City community. So from that standpoint, things are definitely going in the right direction. They’ve been every supportive of myself. On court is going to take care of itself.”

Brad Botkin (CBS) on how Russell Westbrook can become a better floor general: “To suggest OKC’s newly-formed triumvirate should be striving for such offensive equality is to imply that they are, in fact, equal offensive players, which isn’t the case. You can argue about who the No. 2 option should be, though that will likely alternate from night to night, but the constant is that everything runs through Westbrook. He’s the best player on a team with two other guys with a lifetime of enjoying that designation. He decides where the ball goes. So far, he’s just not consistently making the right decisions, but when you look at the tape they’re easy fixes. And it all starts with his going back to prioritizing his own scoring out of the pick-and-roll.”

A film study look at the Thunder’s off-ball movement: “We’ve seen too many seasons of players completely disengaging from the play when an ISO starts, but I’ve actually started noticing an improvement this season. Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines and Paul George all move off-ball when someone is ISO’ing. It’s smart basketball and really puts the defense on its heels.”

Andrew Joseph (For The Win) on one fan’s ultra-realistic Westbrook tattoo: “New Zealand-based tattoo artist Steve Butcher can turn photos into life-like permanent pieces of art, and it’s truly incredible. While Butcher has attracted NBA fan clientele from across the world, his latest tattoo wasn’t the typical Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant portrait. This time, he took on Russell Westbrook and the results were unbelievable.”

Around the League: Chris Paul is set to return tonight…. Robert Covington has agreed to a contract extension with the 76ers…. Joel Embiid put 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 blocks on the Lakers last night…. KAT dropped 26 & 16 in a Minnesota win over the Spurs…. An inside look at the NBA Replay Center.