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Tuesday Bolts – 3.21.17

Tuesday Bolts – 3.21.17

Ethan Strauss of ESPN.com: “The collectively aware synchronicity kept thwarting Westbrook’s

at times bullheaded approach. This dynamic played out again, with Westbrook grinding to a halt against a wall of switching and pounding the rock into the floor as his energy — and that of his teammates — waned. When Westbrook finally took to the bench before the fourth quarter, he ended his evening on 4 of 16 shooting for 15 points. That isn’t an entirely atypical Westbrook performance in this matchup. Since Steve Kerr became the Warriors coach, Russell Westbrook is shooting 35.1 percent in 11 games against Golden State, his worst percentage against a single opponent during that time period.”

ESPN Stats: “This is the first time that the Thunder franchise has lost four games by at least 10 points to the same opponent in a single season since 2006-07, when they were still the Seattle SuperSonics and lost to the Spurs by 19, 20, 31 and 41 points. The Warriors have beaten both the Clippers and the Thunder by 10 points in each of their four meetings with those foes this season. The Warriors’ run of regular-season success against the Thunder dates to Steve Kerr’s start as Golden State’s head coach. They are 10-1 against the Thunder in the regular season under Kerr. The only team against which the Warriors have a better record (11-1) during that time is the Clippers.”

My story on last night.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com: “NBA commissioner Adam Silver has called the practice of teams resting marquee players “an extremely significant issue for our league” in a memo sent to team owners Monday and obtained ‎by ESPN. In the memo, Silver informed teams that the issue will be a prime topic of discussion at the next NBA board of governors meeting April 6 in New York and warned of ‎”significant penalties” for teams that don’t abide by the league’s standing rules for providing ‎”notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest.”

Steve Kerr says OKC is first class.

Berry Tramel: “Thunder-Warriors has become not a basketball rivalry, but a crusade. The Warriors to defend the honor of Durant, their comrade for 15 minutes. The Thunder to defend of honor of Westbrook, identified by the Durant camps as the fall guy for his defection. The Warriors are handling the crusade much better than is the Thunder. Maybe that’s because the Warriors have more great players. But whatever the reason, the Thunder is struggling to even play a semblance of solid basketball.”

Rohan Nadkarni of SI.com: “But apparently the people in OKC are better than I am, because they’ve achieved a base level of niceness toward Durant that seems appropriate for the situation. Fans should in no way be expected to act the same (even if it’s the right thing to do), and conflating the fan reaction with the organizational reaction is a misread of the situation. Would it be great if everyone acted like a rational human and Durant was treated like someone who switched between a sales job at Gap and a manager job at Banana Republic? Sure! But that would ignore the history of sports. Nothing about this industry is rational.”

Jenni Carlson: “There are a lot of reasons the Thunder wants to beat the Warriors. KD’s departure. Off-court words. On-court skirmishes. Then before Monday’s game, we learned that the Warriors thought the Thunder should’ve done more to welcome back Durant and quell fan animosity when Golden State came to OKC for the first time this season. But the need to beat the Warriors is more important. The Thunder and Warriors could meet in the second round of the playoffs, so OKC needed to know they could win. Needed to see they were up to the task. Instead, the Thunder was no match for the Warriors.”