Erik Horne recaps last night’s brutal loss in Orlando: “Russell Westbrook was hunched over at the knees as his teammates walked by. Instead of walking out with them, he sat on the sidelines of the Amway Center a little longer. Before a 13-0 Magic fourth-quarter run that blasted the Thunder’s reserves out of the Amway Center in a 121-108 Thunder loss Wednesday, Westbrook knew the Thunder lost the game well before that. Westbrook finished with a team-best 37 points and 11 rebounds, but 20 of those points came in a desperation fourth quarter in which the Thunder dug itself a hole well before its ninth road loss of the season was complete.”
Dan Devine (Yahoo) on Russell Westbrook sitting dejected on the bench after the loss: “After the loss, Westbrook stopped on his way off the court and sat down on the bench, seemingly overcome with disappointment and frustration at the Thunder having lost their third straight game, and their fifth in six tries, to fall to 8-12 on the season.”
Antonio Daniels tore into the team on last night’s Thunder Live: “There has to be some energy and passion that comes from someone in timeouts, after games, whether it’s you going in the locker room and coaches are throwing stuff because frustration brings these sort of things. This is your job, this is your livelihood, and as an athlete when you are going through times like this you are representing your community, you are representing your city, you are representing your organization and it’s embarrassing.”
Fred Katz on OKC again leaning on poor decision making: “Once again, the Thunder lost big to a team they should have beaten. Once again, they got away from ball movement as the game developed. Once again, they have their previously ingrained basketball habits to thank for it. It’s something the now 8-12 Thunder have tried to improve on over the first quarter of the season. They haven’t — because decision making is a skill, not a choice.”
Tim Bontemps (WaPo) on it being too early to panic for the Thunder: “The thought here is that the time to panic hasn’t yet arrived. Sure, it would’ve been better for the Thunder to get off to a better start this season, and getting drilled by two bad teams – the Dallas Mavericks and the Magic – the past two games is disconcerting. But even after those games, the Thunder currently have the eighth-best net rating in the NBA – a rating better than all but the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference, and a better one than hot teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers in the East.”
Some positive news — Aliko Carter (Forbes) on Carmelo Anthony’s foundation finding footing in OKC: “I always wanted somebody to come back to my community, give back to my community when I was younger but that wasn’t the case,” Anthony said per NewsOK. “So now I’m in a situation that I’m successful, I’m blessed, that I can give back to these communities and touch these communities everywhere that I go.” Anthony is currently set to bring his annual “Very Melo Christmas” event to OKC. Last year, the event in New York City brought dozens of underprivileged children from around the city to take in a move with the jovial forward.”
Around the League: The Grizzlies do not intend to have a fire sale…. Kristaps Porzingis sprained his ankle in last night’s win over Miami…. Anthony Davis was ejected for the first time in his career…. How the Spurs will find success when finally reintegrating Kawhi Leonard.