Erik Horne: “While on the second night of a back-to-back, the Thunder dug another third
quarter hole. Trailing 55-47 at halftime, the Thunder missed its first five 3-pointers of the third quarter, and finished below 30 percent from 3 for the 21st time this season. Anthony Morrow mimicked his shooting stroke as Westbrook went to the line in the period, but the sharpshooter went scoreless on all four shots in the third. With the Thunder already without Enes Kanter (fractured forearm) indefinitely and Alex Abrines missing his second consecutive game with back spasms, the Thunder shot blanks around its star point guard.”
Westbrook is still at a 57 percent chance to average a triple-double this season. Even with the last two games giving his overall numbers a hit.
Ben Golliver of SI.com: “The MVP horserace is right on track so far: Harden has pushed in front of Westbrook in the battle of insane individual producers, with Houston’s superior team success serving as a key tiebreaker for many analysts. Harden was, deservedly, the overwhelming selection in SI’s straw poll: he’s made 50-point triple-doubles a thing that need to be tracked, he’s posting stats not seen since Oscar Robertson, he’s guided the league’s biggest surprise team and its most futuristic offense, and he has the Rockets on a 57-win pace (well ahead of the Thunder’s 48-win clip). His case will surely be aided by memories of his 2015 MVP runner-up showing and his easy-to-digest bounceback story after Houston’s rotten 2015–16 season.”
Nick Friedell of ESPN.com: “Despite all the speculation regarding his future, Butler, whose name continues to pop up in trade speculation, put on a show Wednesday in a game that brought the Bulls back to a 25-25 mark on the season. Not only was his offensive output impressive, Butler limited Thunder star Russell Westbrook to just 10-for-23 shooting from the field, staying in front one of the league’s most exciting players throughout the night. The Bulls’ performance in the second half was so complete, they outscored the Thunder 73-53 in the final 24 minutes, that Chesapeake Energy Arena fell almost silent as the fourth quarter ended. It was a quite an achievement for the Bulls given how loud the building usually is and how much the group has struggled recently.”
Brett Dawson: “Early in the second quarter on Wednesday, Jerami Grant picked off a Rajon Rondo pass and found nothing but empty hardwood in front of him. The Thunder forward improvised in the air double-clutch dunked. Grant appeared to nearly wait too long to dunk, but he finished the play, another in a string of high-flying slams this season. But Grant’s personal highlight reel wasn’t enough to land him in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend. TNT on Thursday will announce the participants in this year’s All-Star Saturday Night, but Grant said on Wednesday he won’t be headed to the Slam Dunk Contest.”