We’ve had a wee bit of Daily Thunder content this week centered on saying hello/goodbye to Russell Westbrook as a member of the Houston Rockets. As more unfolds, it will be indexed on our Westbrook Week page.
Steven Adams left the game with a knee contusion. I’m guessing we get our first non-Roberson DNP on Wednesday.
Hot take: the Thunder’s scrappiness was to be expected to open the season. What they’ve actually revealed in these close losses isn’t that they’re better than everyone expected (a common but weird way to frame 1-3), but just how bad the Warriors’ and Rockets’ defenses are going to be this season. Those teams are in a wee bit of trouble.
Erik Horne (The Athletic) on Russ’s jovial interactions with ex-teammates and coaches during game stoppages: “Maybe if the Rockets hadn’t won, Westbrook’s mood would have been different. But even in postgame when he rehashed his now-viral basketball philosophy (“Inside those lines, there’s no friends. Spalding, that’s my friend, and my teammates, that’s it.”), you couldn’t erase the images of Westbrook talking during game stoppages to Thunder assistant coaches Mike Wilks and Maurice Cheeks. …Or Westbrook standing shoulder to shoulder with Andre Roberson to start the second half, sharing a laugh with his former backcourt mate. …Oh, look. There was Westbrook during a timeout toward the end of the third quarter by the Thunder bench talking to Chris Paul. This was not Russ against the World. This was Westbrook competing and loving simultaneously.”
Royce Young (ESPN) forecasts the January return of Russell Westbrook to Chesapeake arena: “It will be an emotionally visceral night for everyone in the building. And then the game will start, Westbrook will beef with someone on the Thunder, snarl and cuss after a tough and-1, and everyone will say to themselves, “Oh, I get it now. … This is why everyone else didn’t like him.”
Connor Ayubi (The Franchise) breaks down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s scoring prowess through the first few games of the season: “When his jumper is keeping the defense honest, all he needs is to get one step past his man. After that his length and finesse, combined with his fundamental ball-fakes and signature scoop shot, are more than enough to get him a good look at the basket. “
Something to think about: