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Thursday Bolts: 2.15.18

Thursday Bolts: 2.15.18

Nick Gallo recaps the Thunder’s win last night in Memphis: “The Grizzlies clawed all the way back to just one-point behind on two different occasions, at 104-103 and at 115-114, the latter on a banked in fadeaway three-pointer by Tyreke Evans. The Thunder, after landing in Memphis at 2:00 a.m., had a response each time, and ended up dashing into the All-Star Break with a 121-114 victory. Forward Carmelo Anthony hit the two most important shots of the game. First, a nearly impossible pump-fake, one-dribble pull up jumper to free himself up for just enough space to separate to 106-103, then a contested catch-and-shoot three-pointer on a pass from Russell Westbrook with the shot clock winding down to make it 118-114 with just 25 seconds remaining.”

Fred Katz on Billy Donovan wanting more from Steven Adams in Memphis: “Donovan pulled Adams from the game less than a minute after the center committed his fourth foul of the evening. The Thunder, who nearly blew a 22-point lead Wednesday, held a 16-point advantage with 8:40 to go in the third quarter at the time. “In my opinion, that changed the whole game. It changed the whole game,” Donovan said. “If you go back and look at the first Memphis game, the same exact thing happened in the third quarter. We got up by 20 points. He comes off the floor. And all of a sudden, it gets chopped back down. And he’s got to do a better job.”

Erik Horne on Terrance Ferguson stepping up last night in the wake of an Alex Abrines injury: “Alex Abrines started at shooting guard for the third consecutive game, but was ruled out just 2:47 into the third quarter with a left hip contusion, according to the Thunder. Abrines was 0-of-2 from the field on Wednesday. Abrines entered the All-Star break shooting 37.1 percent from 3, but it’s the latest in a series of injuries that have kept the 24-year-old from staying on the floor consistently. So, in Abrines’s place stepped Terrance Ferguson and the rookie stepped up to score eight points in nine fourth-quarter minutes, including two 3-pointers from the corner with the Grizzlies rallying.”

Marc Stein (NY Times) discussed Paul George’s future in his email newsletter: “This is sports, man. Don’t be rational. Go all-in on PG-13 staying with the Thunder. Of course, you’d be running the risk of heartbreak — again — but save your caution for the roadways and the rest of real life. If you can’t boundlessly wish and hope when it comes to your team, whoever it is, what’s the point? The signals George has been giving off so far, by the way, are as positive as they could possibly be at this point of the season. He’s not going to commit to staying in Oklahoma City in February, but there is legit hope that the idea is growing on him. Be brave. Dream big.”

Cody Taylor (USA Today) on the historic offensive rebounding of Steven Adams: “While the big man is currently averaging a career-high 13.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, he’s also on pace to record one of the best offensive rebounding seasons in NBA history. Since the NBA began differentiating offensive and defensive rebounds in the 1973-74 season, Moses Malone and Charles Barkley are the only two players to average more than five offensive rebounds per game. Malone averaged 6.9 offensive rebounds per game during the 1981-82 season and 5.7 per game during the 1982-83 season. Barkley, on the other hand, pulled down 5.1 offensive rebounds per game during the 1988-89 season.”

Mike Destefano (Sole Collector) has a look at the upcoming release of the Nike PG2 “NCAA” colorway: “This “NCAA” colorway of Paul George’s second signature model keeps it simple with an all white upper that combines mesh with textured patent leather on the heel and toe. Black accents are used on the Swoosh branding and wing overlays on the lateral and medial side panels to break up the pure white color scheme. Another subtle pop on the upper is the 3M stripe that cuts down the center of the tongue. This pair’s standout feature is its marbled, multicolored outsole that combines red, blue, yellow, purple, and black—a look similar to the Net Collectors Society pack that dropped in 2016.”

Dan Favale (B/R) gives OKC 15-1 odds of landing LeBron James this summer: “Landing with the Thunder checks a lot of James’ hypothetical boxes. Finally team up with Carmelo Anthony? Check. Bro out with Paul George, who James recruited to Cleveland before he was traded to Oklahoma City? Assuming he re-signs with the Thunder (player option), check again. Work alongside both an unstoppable force and immovable object in Russell Westbrook, who was drafted onto Team LeBron’s All-Star roster? Check.  Join a core that has enough star power to tussle with the Warriors? Check. End up in a market where his acting and production career can flourish? Well, um, Oklahoma City is only like a three-hour flight away from Los Angeles. So, check. The problem—or rather, the most damning problem on a list of many: The Thunder have no path to clearing cap space without junking players imperative to their sales pitch.”

Mike Wells (ESPN) on Victor Oladipo, the trade, and his impact in Indiana: “The trade took Oladipo by surprise. He learned of it during a layover in Atlanta while en route to Florida for a summer workout. Numerous tweets and text messages informed him that he was heading to his third team in just four years in the NBA. “I wasn’t warned, nobody told me,” Oladipo said. “It was shock, but it happened and I had to adjust and I had to get over the fact it happened. I was excited after letting it all soak in, excited to be able to come back here and play.”

Around the League: Damian Lillard scored 44 and the Blazers topped the Warriors despite 50 from KD…. Isaiah Thomas & Rajon Rondo were ejected for clashing with one another…. The players and referee unions will meet at All-Star weekend…. Inside the wild trade deadline that reshaped the Cleveland Cavaliers…. The Rockets now lead the Western Conference after 57 games.

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