4 min read

Thursday Bolts: 12.28.17

Thursday Bolts: 12.28.17

Nick Gallo recaps last night’s win over the Raptors: “After giving up 63 first half points, the Thunder held Toronto to just 44 combined in the third and fourth quarters, and racked up its sixth-straight win, 124-107. The momentum is clearly on the Thunder’s side, and tonight the confidence and swagger felt like a boulder rolling downhill, even against a Raptors team that came into the night vying for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. “(It’s) a lot of fun. The biggest thing is on the court, we’re expecting to win and that just changes everything: the whole outlook, stepping into a game to preparation to getting each other ready,” forward Paul George said. “We’re just stepping on that floor and we’re expecting to win right now.”

Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony saying this is the Russell Westbrook the Thunder needs: “I think the fact that Russ is just playing — not trying to defer to anybody, to any one of us — just playing his game and letting us play off him … I think he’s much more effective by doing that rather than deferring to myself or Paul,” Anthony said. “We know what we bring to the game. We understand it. We accept it. And by that, he’s able to just play his game, relax and do what he does best. We need that. We need that Russ out there. Not the one who defers to us. Let us figure it out.”

Paolo Ugetti (Ringer) on Westbrook’s vintage performance versus Toronto: “Sure, offensive synergy is nice, and yes, ball movement is efficient. But sometimes, you just want to kick back and indulge in some one-man hero ball. It’s like that guilty-pleasure chocolate bar or TV show you try to avoid and just can’t, but hey, it’s the holidays, you can treat yourself to some patented Russell Westbrook basketball. Against the Raptors Wednesday night, Russ did all of the things that make him, well, Russ.”

Paul George discusses the win on NBA TV:

Alysha Tsuji (USA Today) on the chippiness during Thunder/Raptors: “The Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas tried to pick up the basketball to inbound it after a foul was called on the Thunder during their game in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. That sounds like a pretty normal thing that happens many times in games. However, this time, Westbrook was holding the ball and he didn’t like that the big man was trying to take it out of his hands, so the OKC star flailed, popped up on his feet and got in the 7-footer’s face.  Then, Steven Adams tried to defend him as a bunch of other players tried to prevent anything else from happening.”

Channel 6 (Tulsa) on the small fire in the rafters last night at Chesapeake Energy Arena: “During the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Toronto Raptors game at Chesapeake Energy Arena on December 27, a photo strobe light overloaded on the catwalk over Section 206. The mechanism was powered down and the small electrical fire was taken care of quickly. With 4:12 remaining in the 3rd quarter, play was stopped. Following a delay of approximately 3 minutes and 47 seconds, play resumed on the court. The arena was not evacuated.”

Kristian Winfield & Whitney Medworth (SB Nation) with the inspirations behind each “City” alternate uniform: “OKC’s City Edition jersey is a tribute to the Thunder’s playing style: fast, bold, and dynamic. The orange and blue stripes around the jersey are to to represent the coming of a storm. OKC is in Tornado Alley after all.”

David Brandon (16WAR) on the Thunder puzzle falling into place: “Roberson’s an above-average passer, and though his offensive strengths are limited, the Thunder are starting to try to use him more effectively. It’s a known truism that players who touch the ball more on offense also tend to be more engaged defensively, and though Roberson takes the most pride in his defensive game, it can only help if his offensive touches are more impactful. It also makes the Thunder offense less predictable, and having more guys involved in the play can mean better-quality looks. If the Thunder can figure out a way to keep Andre involved and minimize his weaknesses, they’re in a good position moving forward.”

Zach Buckley (B/R) on every team’s trade season shopping list: “Oklahoma City Thunder: Multi-Skilled Spacers. More specifically, OKC has to find marksmen with the ability to do more than convert clean looks. Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson are both relatively regular splashers, but they don’t do enough else to warrant major minutes. Andre Roberson, Jerami Grant and Terrance Ferguson offer more diverse portfolios, but their floor time comes at the expense of spacing. Offense shouldn’t be this hard for this iteration of the Thunder, and a change in the way they approach that end could make a world of difference. But they’ll need to find snipers at some point and have those players contribute in multiple areas.”

Ryan Nagelhout (DIME) on Russell Westbrook’s upcoming Jordan sneaker: “Russell Westbrook signed two major contracts this offseason, a 10-year extension with Jordan Brand and a long-term extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both of those deals give him some stability, but the massive Nike deal meant Westbrook was going to get the chance to come up with some new shoes and potentially clothing. The first real fruits of that deal appear to have surfaced by way of a new Jordan Brand shoe using some of Westbrook’s signature style. Sole Collector noted that Japanese shoe site US11 had an early look at the newest Jordan Fly Next model.”

Around the League: The rising power of women in NBA front offices…. Isaiah Thomas is scrimmaging for Cleveland…. Vince Carter turned back to clock to beat the Cavs last night…. The checklist Joel Embiid must complete to be active…. All the Nike “City” alternate uniforms around the NBA.