Thursday Bolts: 12.20.18
Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps last night’s win over Sacramento: “To the Sacramento Kings, Russell Westbrook and Paul George’s relentless attacks into the paint must have seemed like a blur. For the Thunder’s two perennial All-Stars on the other hand, the 132-113 win over the Kings moved in slow motion. On the road against a tough squad the Thunder had lost twice to this season, Head Coach Billy Donovan received a last-minute jolt: he wouldn’t have point guards Dennis Schröder or Raymond Felton due to a letter-of-the-law suspension for leaving the bench while trying to play peacemakers during the pushing and shoving that occurred on Monday against Chicago. Nevertheless, the Thunder was sensational across the board against the Kings, taking care of all of the things that are required of road teams in the NBA.”
Marcel Mutoni (SLAM) on Russell Westbrook’s “I’m too fast!” comment toward De’Aaron Fox: “The OKC Thunder organization was evidently aware of De’Aaron Fox boasting that he’s the fastest player in the NBA prior to Wednesday night’s game, and Russell Westbrook fired back after blowing past the second-year guard for a layup: “I’m too fast,” the former MVP yelled. Westbrook finished with a triple-double of 19 points, 17 assists and 11 assists in a 132-113 win against the visiting Sacramento Kings.”
Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) with observations from the 132-113 victory: “Paul George led the Thunder in scoring, with 43 points. He logged 40-plus points for the second time this season, taking 27 shots in both games. He came within four points of his season-high, which he set at Brooklyn two weeks ago… Only three times in Thunder history has an OKC player logged 20-plus points and 20-plus rebounds in a single game. Serge Ibaka did it in 2015. Enes Kanter did it in 2016. And on Wednesday night, Steven Adams recorded 20 points and 23 rebounds for the first 20-20 game of his career.”
Steven Adams highlights: Kiwi dominance versus the Kings.
Brad Botkin (CBS Sports) asks: Has Paul George become the Thunder’s best player?: “The part about George, perhaps, surpassing Westbrook as OKC’s best player is no small thing. We have seen what a team with Westbrook as the best player looks like — and it’s an inconsistent one, a second-round team at best. We’ve also seen what a team with Westbrook as the second-best player looks like, as was the case all those years with Kevin Durant, and it’s a perennial title contender. It’s a different situation with George and Westbrook than it was with Durant in that there was no question Durant was the better player, even if Westbrook didn’t always approach it that way. George and Westbrook is going to be 1A and 1B no matter what order reasonable minds put them in. Still, there is something to a team looking to someone other than Westbrook to be the guy to win a game for them. A true go-to guy.”
ESPN on the one-game suspensions for Dennis Schroder & Raymond Felton: “Oklahoma City Thunder guards Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder were suspended for one game apiece without pay Wednesday for leaving the bench area during an altercation and participating in a melee that spilled over into the stands. Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez was fined $25,000, and Thunder forward Jerami Grant was fined $20,000, both for escalating the quarrel in Oklahoma City’s 121-96 home victory Monday night. Bulls guard Kris Dunn was fined $15,000 for instigating the incident by shoving Thunder star Russell Westbrook. Felton and Schroder will sit out the Thunder’s game Wednesday night at the Sacramento Kings. The suspensions will cost Schroder $182,353 and Felton $29,194.”
Dan Favale (B/R) with every team’s least tradable contract: “Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook doesn’t play like someone who cares about triple-doubling over the league into his mid-30s. He doesn’t even play like someone who cares about tomorrow. His default setting is reckless abandon. Something needs to give for this contract to avoid aging into one of the league’s 10 worst by Year 4 or 5. He cannot fling himself into traffic and leverage explosion forever.”
Bill Simmons (Ringer) picks the top 55 most valuable trade assets in the NBA: Adams at 42, George at 27, Westbrook at 19. “I added NBA Michelin Stars to this Trade Value list, along with a slew of other tidbits so you could see everything: numbers, salaries, age, peak year, ceiling, you name it. Only six players received a Michelin rating of 3 stars. (Not including Zion Williamson, the first 3-star college kid since Patrick Ewing.) We’ll get to them. Let’s rip through our Honorable Mention guys and lay out December’s list — again, a list only — of our Top 55 Trade Value guys.”
Around the League: Houston broke the NBA record for threes in a single game…. Anthony Davis is flattered by LeBron — but focused on the Pelicans…. Steph says the Dubs need to get their edge back…. Aron Baynes is out indefinitely in Boston…. Luka Doncic is not your average rookie…. Recapping last night’s NBA action.