Brett Dawson on another blown Thunder lead last night in New Orleans: “In what’s become a familiar script, the Thunder dazzled early and looked frazzled when it mattered most, blowing another big early lead in a 114-107 loss to the Pelicans. It was the sixth time this season that Oklahoma City (7-9) has lost a game in which it led by double digits.”
Kurt Helin (NBC) on DeMarcus Cousins getting ejected: “Midway through the third quarter in New Orleans, Cousins blocked a putback attempt by Russell Westbrook, then grabbed the rebound. Westbrook tried to reach in across Cousins’ body for the steal, and Cousins cleared out space with his elbow — right to Westbrook’s head. Cousins walked around saying “no, no, no” afterward, and he likely thinks the officials had it out for him here because he was just getting a guy off him, but we go back to the original point — elbow a guy in the head, get tossed. The league is cracking down on blows above the neck. Westbrook did not leave the game.”
Marcel Mutoni (SLAM) on Tony Allen’s assertion that Westbrook flopped on the Cousins ejection: “I definitely think he flopped. He took advantage of Cousins’ history. He was going to get the best of that call…You saw him get right back up and miss the free throw. He missed it, so you know what that means. The ball don’t lie.”
Russell Westbrook discusses blowing another lead. Via Fred Katz.
Anthony Slater says Kevin Durant should be on the court tomorrow night in OKC: “Steve Kerr said Kevin Durant should be “fine” for Wednesday at OKC. Sitting as a precaution tonight.”
Erik Horne on three ways the Thunder can prepare for the Warriors: “There’s time for improvement but the offense has been as inconsistent as the defense has been a reliable fallback. But on Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Thunder will receive its biggest test of the early season. How will the Thunder respond? OKC’s main players have changed from four uncompetitive Thunder-Warriors games last season, but has the approach? The Thunder can worry later about its chances in a seven-game series with Golden State. Here’s what needs to happen to be successful on Wednesday.”
Dieter Kurtenbach (Mercury News) on how the Warriors can end the OKC “rivalry” on Wednesday: “Perhaps a game against the Warriors — a contest that the Thunder players and staff no doubt circled on their calendar when the schedule came out — will serve as a springboard for this Oklahoma City team and the start of a new chapter in the Thunder-Warriors series that could, eventually develop into a rivalry. But it probably doesn’t. And if the Warriors do what they’ve done to the Thunder the last four times the teams have played in the regular season and blow out OKC, it’ll be officially time to put the notion of these two teams being “rivals” for anything other than manufactured soap opera purposes to bed.”
Marc J. Spears (Undefeated) on Sam Presti & Billy Donovan turning to jazz: “Presti is a longtime jazz fan while Donovan says he is not familiar with the genre of music. Both, however, have huge respect for superstar brothers Branford and Wynton Marsalis, who have combined to win 12 Grammy awards. Presti said that “nonbasketball learning” is important to the Thunder organization. Presti and Donovan sat with Branford Marsalis hours before he performed with his quartet at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Mitchell Hall Theatre on Sept. 8. Donovan also had a long conversation with Wynton Marsalis this summer. The reason? To pick the jazz legends’ minds about teamwork and philosophy in a jazz band as it relates to basketball.”
Around the League: The Clippers lost their ninth in a row last night in New York…. Doug McDermott got the cover of the NY Daily News…. Bradley Beal became the youngest player in NBA history to make 700 three-pointers…. SI’s top 60 NBA prospects in the 2018 Draft…. Kyrie Irving scored 47 in the Celtics’ 16th straight win…. Stan Van Gundy ripped President Trump for tweeting about sports.