Micah Adams of ESPN.com: “Of the 61 shots Oklahoma City attempted with Westbrook on the
floor, 50 of them were either his shots or shots off one of his passes. When it comes to the Thunder offense, he did everything — just as he has all season. Let’s start with the playmaking. Simple on/off splits will tell you the Thunder are shooting 47 percent with Westbrook on the floor and 43 percent with him off the court. By removing Westbrook’s own attempts from the equation, we see that his teammates’ shooting percentage jumps from 43 percent to better than 49 percent with him on the floor. Much of that can be attributed to the quantity and quality of looks. Watch even one half of a Thunder game — let alone 31 games’ worth — and your eyes will tell you his teammates get much better looks with Westbrook on the floor commanding five opposing sets of eyes.”
Erik Horne: “Westbrook was right and wrong. While the game was one of 82, every time he’s stepped on the court this season it’s meant more. Now we arrive at the biggest day on the NBA’s regular-season calendar. But on a day filled with five carefully selected marquee matchups, all eyes will be on Westbrook against the Wolves. He’s become the story of the season.”
This Rockets rookie took underhand free throws… ahem Andre Roberson.
Domantas Sabonis is actually a very good rim protector, despite not blocking many shots.
Brett Dawson: “That means tweaking the rotation, finding a committee of subs who can each take on a piece of replacing Oladipo’s offensive and defensive productivity. Abrines, who’s averaging 12.9 minutes this season, has played an average of 18.4 in the past four games, averaging 10 points per game, well above his season-long average of 4.8 And with one of its offensive facilitators missing, the Thunder has found new ways to generate offense — particularly with Russell Westbrook off the court — while Oladipo recovers. One has been to feed Enes Kanter in the post and let him deal out of double teams.”
Victor Oladipo appears to be nearing a return to play. Cameron Payne is doing some non-contact stuff.
Marc Stein has OKC eighth: “Maybe you feel as though you’ve already gorged yourself on too much Russell Westbrook this holiday season. Perhaps your wish to Santa was more variety in the Thunder comment section of these rankings from the Committee. We’re truly sorry. We’d like to oblige. But how do we break the habit when he goes to Boston and savages the Celtics for 45, 11 and 11? Or when he follows that up by hitting poor Minnesota with just the third 30-point, 15-assist game in Christmas Day history? Only Oscar Robertson (22) and Wilt Chamberlain (seven) have more career triple-doubles featuring 40-plus points than Westbrook’s six. Only Robertson and Tiny Archibald, meanwhile, had previously managed 30-and-15 games on Christmas.”
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com looks at the playoff picture: “This turned into a big pile of “ugh.” The Thunder are a lock, Utah too. Portland is in a lot of trouble. The offense has cooled, the defense is a complete mess and they’re starting to point fingers. It’s bad. It’s really bad.
That said, Portland is 3-12 against teams over .500, which is a high number of games vs. better competition. Meanwhile, the Blazers are 10-7 against teams below .500. As the schedule balances out, they can probably right themselves. The Kings, unbelievably, might be in the best position. 2016 is weird, man.”