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Wednesday Bolts: 1.10.18

Wednesday Bolts: 1.10.18

Nick Gallo recaps last night’s loss to Portland: “The problems all started early on for the Thunder, as two quick offensive put backs to start the game for Jusuf Nurkic and a 30-point second quarter that included a 7-0 burst heading into halftime gave the Blazers confidence. Difficult, contested shots that didn’t drop in the first quarter for the Blazers suddenly fell, as CJ McCollum seemed to hit from everywhere on the floor, and Nurkic knocked down jumpers too, showing his outside touch.”

Royce Young on the OKC defense slipping as the offense begins to click: “The Thunder spent the first 30 or so games of the season as a shockingly mediocre offensive team, clinging to life in the Western Conference almost entirely on the back of an elite defense. But as they’ve finally clicked and grown into the explosive offensive team they were expected to be, they’ve slipped significantly on the other side of the floor.“

Fred Katz on the Thunder’s current mini-slump: “So, the Thunder have lost two straight — even following a streak when they won 14 of 19, when they figured it out, “whatever that means,” as Carmelo Anthony likes to say. Now, they’re on a losing streak that should not exist. Progression is not linear.”

Matt Ellentuck (SB Nation) on why Thunder fans should/should not be concerned: “It isn’t all gloom for OKC, which remains an elite defensive team as long as Roberson is in the lineup. But they need him back soon, because falling back into the No. 7 seed and playing the Rockets in the first round is a very real threat.”

Erik Horne with Carmelo Anthony’s thoughts on the player/official relationship: “Now, the triggers are too quick. You look at somebody wrong, you get a technical foul. Say one wrong thing, you get a technical foul. So, I think that’s the difference from when I first came in: the dialogue and the communication, the relationships that the players and the officials (had) when I first came in to now is a lot different.”

Fox Sports previews tonight’s Thunder/Timberwolves match-up: “With an improving defense and one of the league’s top offenses, the Minnesota Timberwolves are seeing the fruits of a busy offseason ripen. The Oklahoma City Thunder overhaul is still showing signs of being green.”

ESPN’s NBA Insiders answer five questions about the Wolves and Thunder: “The Thunder have been built to compete with the Warriors. The roster is full of length, athleticism, versatility and size. They’re star-heavy, with role players who can adapt and guard multiple positions. The Thunder proved their potential with an emphatic win over the Warriors in November, and in a series, there is at least a way you could talk yourself into a Thunder upset.“

Around the League: 2018 trade deadline coverage…. The Celtics and Sixers square-off today in London.