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Tuesday Bolts: 2.20.18

Tuesday Bolts: 2.20.18

Zac Wissink (B/R) on Steven Adams accepting a prom proposal… three years too late: “Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams is really testing the theory that some occurrences are better late than never. Back in January 2015, a Twitter user shot her shot and asked Adams if he would attend her law school prom so long as her request received 1,000 retweets. @Itsloyo eventually received the necessary interactions, and the 24-year-old player responded…on February 19, 2018.”

Fred Katz on Team LeBron’s game-winning play originally being called for Russell Westbrook: “Team LeBron had a goal with half-a-minute to go: find the reigning MVP. It trailed 145-144 in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game before captain LeBron James rolled in a go-ahead layup with 34 seconds to go, giving his squad a lead it would not relinquish. But of all the high-profile names around him, James knew the guy he wanted to find.  “We wanted to get it to Russ,” he said, speaking of Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook. “Russ being so dynamic in his ability to break down defenses, we wanted to get it to him.”

ESPN polled 48 NBA players and revealed little confidence in Paul George returning to OKC: “OKC’s opening-night lineup will include: Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony: 45 percent // Westbrook, Anthony and Paul George: 24 percent //Westbrook: 22 percent // Westbrook and George: 9 percent // “George will be in L.A. in two years anyway.” — Eastern Conference forward”

Adam Fromal (B/R) has Russell Westbrook third on his list of top individual 2017-18 seasons: “Russell Westbrook’s scoring figures have dipped dramatically, especially because he’s struggling to connect on his three-pointers (29.6 percent) and free-throw attempts (72.6 percent). His defensive efforts have been inconsistent, and he frequently can be found watching the action at a standstill, conserving his energy for the next rebound or offensive opportunity.  Yet it’s only against the backdrop of last season’s MVP efforts that his year looks remotely disappointing. Westbrook is just 0.6 rebounds per game shy of a second consecutive campaign averaging a triple-double. He’s the NBA’s eighth-highest scorer and leads the league in assists per contest. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s net rating improves by 11.3 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor (the highest mark on the roster), and his Nos. 8 and 2 ranks in RPM and RPM Wins, respectively, indicate this isn’t just because he plays with high-quality teammates such as Paul George and Steven Adams.”

ESPN has OKC 13th in its latest batch of power rankings: “Coming out of the break, the Thunder are now one of four teams (Golden State, Houston, Toronto) that rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency … yet OKC still hasn’t found a cruising altitude. Here’s an encouraging signal: After ranking 18th in shot quality on New Year’s Day, the Thunder have compiled the sixth-best rating since, as they’ve refined their offense.”

Mikelle Street (Men’s Journal) looks at how Westbrook is creating new Jordan Brand classics: “We’ve done signature shoes before with Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, but I think we’ve taken that to another level with Russell,” said Jordan Brand president Larry Miller. And while he admitted that the retro product (the original Air Jordans we have come to know and love) are certainly what drive the business, it is the hope that Westbrook’s contributions will become the new classics. While Westbrook’s Why Not Zer0.1 launched its first iteration earlier this year, expect at least 12 versions over the coming with a variety of releases. All will feature the same smooth vamp design, and the styles riff on not only Westbrook’s own creative inspirations but what he has in his closet, his history and how he personalized his own shoes.”

Trace Cowen (Complex) takes a look inside Westbrook’s Honor the Gift pop-up shop over All-Star Weekend: “The Inner City of Los Angeles is the hard and underserved community that I grew up in,” Westbrook said when announcing Honor the Gift’s Inner City pop-up, which opened Feb. 17 during NBA All-Star Weekend at 0321C’s Back Alley location. “No matter the circumstances, I found a certain strength, determination, leadership, and sense of self-worth from that very same place. The Inner City is home to some of the most talented and resilient kids that don’t usually get the opportunity to capitalize on those strengths. This collection is inspired by the struggle of those kids like myself growing up in the Inner City and the mindset that it embodies.”

Around the League: Mark Cuban said losing is the Mavs’ best option this season…. Tiago Splitter has retired from the NBA…. JJ Redick is sorry for a perceived racial slur…. All-Star Game ratings were down…. Fergie apologized for her rendition of the National Anthem.