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Thursday Bolts – 11.17.16

Thursday Bolts – 11.17.16

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com: “Well, not quite. The Thunder are not the post-LeBron Cavaliers


— a shattered cast of aging veterans that had no collective NBA future without their centerpiece. Some of that is the result of careful planning. Sam Presti, the Thunder’s longtime GM, restocked the cupboard with young players in almost every deal — including the mega-trades involving James Harden and Serge Ibaka. (We’ve dissected the Harden trade and its tax implications enough; the Ibaka deal looks more like a heist every day, and this is coming from someone who at least tried to defend the Magic’s gambit). The Thunder always got younger, a fascinating resolution to a complex cost-benefit problem. Staying young would leave them better positioned to weather a doomsday event, and guaranteed they’d be the freshest, bounciest team every playoff series. They would never look old. They would make other teams look old.”

Jenni Carlson: “Yes, Roberson had his struggles offensively. Missed some wide-open shots. Passed up some others. Clunked some chippies. But if you ever want to know the value of Roberson to the Thunder, if you’re ever thinking about questioning why he is on the court, remember this night. Entering the game, Harden’s per-game averages read like something out of a video game. His numbers: 30.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 12.6 assists. That is a combination of averages never before seen in the NBA. Ever.”

My story from last night.

C.L. Brown of ESPN.com compares Malik Monk to Russ: “In a word, Monk can be described as explosive. And who currently in the NBA embodies that better than Westbrook? In a way, it’s an unfair comparison as Westbrook has positioned himself on the shortlist of the league’s best players. But Monk has a similar attacking disposition. He’s relentless like that. It can sometimes get him into trouble, as his aggressive nature can lead to poor shot selection and decision-making.”

Erik Horne on MJ and Russ: “As Jordan’s ownership stake with the Charlotte Hornets has grown, the 53-year-old has become more of a peripheral figure in marketing. It’s still Jordan’s silhouette on sneakers, but Westbrook has taken steps forward as the face of the brand. Westbrook stars in Jordan commercials that have become his canvases. He walks lizards on leashes. He goes bowling on concrete. He dances while rapper Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want” is pulsing in the background. It’s originality once reserved for Jordan, whose brand exploded in the late 1980s and early 1990s via dramatic, polished commercials. Yet, Jordan’s first commercial for the Air Jordan I was simple, only him.”

Brett Dawson: “Eric Gordon scrunched his nose like he’d caught a whiff of something nasty. The Rockets guard had driven into the teeth of the Thunder defense late in the fourth quarter Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena and seen his shot turned away — out of bounds, to Oklahoma City — by Steven Adams. Earlier in the same possession, Gordon’s teammate, Ryan Anderson, had misfired on a 3-pointer, the Rockets’ 11th straight long-range miss. It had all looked so easy earlier. But in the nick of time Wednesday, the Thunder defense had arrived.”

Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com has Sabonis eighth in rookie rankings: “Domantas Sabonis falls down in the rankings after two subpar games shooting the basketball. Against the Magic, Sabonis was 1-of-6 and then finished 1-of-5 against the Pistons on Monday. Sabonis’ rebounding numbers have also dropped since his 10-rebound effort on Nov. 7. The Thunder rookie still has good averages though, shooting 43.7 percent and 46.9 percent from three. Sabonis is also averaging 7.1 points, which is seventh among all rookies.”