Wednesday Bolts: 1.9.19
Nick Gallo (okcthunder.com) recaps last night’s loss to the Timberwolves: “Russell Westbrook had the ball in the corner, on the same side of the floor where he had previously hit a monster go ahead three-pointer to cap a 14-4 surge to give the Thunder a fourth quarter lead. The Thunder point guard gave it another go. The ball rose and clipped the rim, but Steven Adams hustled for it and flipped it back out to Westbrook at the top of the key. Westbrook’s next three was altered and fell short, but Paul George was lingering under the rim for a potential game-tying reverse tip-in. The ball popped onto the backboard but the rim denied it, along with the Thunder’s dramatic comeback hopes. “We got some looks. Missed them. Move on to the next,” said Westbrook.
Royce Young (ESPN) on the scary injury for Nerlens Noel: “Thunder center Nerlens Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher midway through the third quarter Tuesday night after his head hit the floor on a hard fall. Noel was taken to OU Medical Center and will be held there overnight to be evaluated. The team did not have any further details on his condition, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said after Tuesday’s 119-117 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. An update on Noel’s status is likely to come Wednesday.”
ESPN on Andrew Wiggins and an alleged crude remark about Dennis Schroder after the game: “Hours after he called Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder “gay,” Minnesota forward Andrew Wiggins sought to clarify his remark, saying early Wednesday morning that he wouldn’t use “any term to disrespect” the LGBT community. Wiggins made the remark about Schroder to reporters after the Wolves’ 119-117 win Tuesday over the Thunder. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Uh, he was just gay. He was acting crazy for no reason,” Wiggins said. “I look right through him. He’s not someone I look at as a problem. Not at all.” During the game, Schroder was not happy with Minnesota players after the Thunder’s Nerlens Noel suffered a head injury while trying to defend a dunk attempt by Wiggins.”
Wiggins clarified on Twitter:
Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) on Nick Collison joining the Thunder in a post-basketball position: “Mr. Thunder himself returned to Chesapeake Energy Arena for Tuesday’s game. Retired former Thunder player Nick Collison has joined the team in a post-basketball transition position that general manager Sam Presticreated for him. Collison will work on a part-time basis with Presti and the team, while also becoming involved in community outreach. “I really feel fortunate,” said Donovan, who left Florida for OKC in 2015, “especially coming from (coaching) college, to have a veteran like that who’s just a great person, really helpful to me, great in the locker room, great team guy. So the more he’s around I think the better it is for all of us, just because of what he represents and what he’s about.”
Jordan Brenner (Athletic) on what OKC needs to do to challenge the Warriors: “The Prescription: Go get a shooter.It’s no secret that the Thunder are the worst three-point shooting team in the league (32 percent), and it’s scary to think how good they could be with even league-average shooting, given that they already have the league’s best defense (101.7 points per 100 possessions) and the fourth-best net rating (+5.6). Says a Western Conference scout, “They have two elite-level players who can carry a team, along with a steady paint/rebounding presence.” But only Paul George and Jerami Grant are shooting above 35 percent from deep while hitting at least one trey per game. Patrick Patterson, a supposed stretch 4, is knocking down just 30.3 percent of his long balls, and Russell Westbrook is buried at 23.8 percent. Andre Roberson will provide a lift in a lot of areas when he returns, but shooting isn’t one of them. Sam Presti has to find help.”
Grant Hughes (B/R) with a trade idea to get Terrance Ross in OKC: “Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: Terrence Ross / Orlando Magic Receive: Alex Abrines, Patrick Patterson, 2020 second-round pick. — Oklahoma City is dead last in three-point percentage and 24th in attempt frequency. No defense is good enough to compensate for shooting that bad, especially in a playoff atmosphere in which opponents have the time and far greater incentive to exploit weaknesses. Ross is a career 37.3 percent shooter from deep, and he’s averaging career highs in scoring (13.1 points per game) and made threes per contest (2.1). Though Abrines’ 36.8 percent career conversion rate might make it seem like Ross wouldn’t represent an upgrade, it’s long been clear that head coach Billy Donovan doesn’t trust Abrines to play meaningful minutes. When you’re trying to beat the Warriors, every minute is meaningful.”
Zach Harper (Athletic) hypothetically asks — would you trade Paul George for Kevin Durant?: “The Thunder love Paul George. He’s having a top-5 MVP-finish type of season, he committed to the team without getting swayed by the bigger market, and he gives Russell Westbrook the perfect type of complementary star. On the flip side of that, it’s tough to think of Russ not going back to the Finals. Just the one appearance in 2012 would be disappointing for his career. Signing and trading George for KD then provides an interesting challenge. Can Durant with his championship knowledge come back to the Thunder, galvanize them enough to overcome the Warriors with PG, and then get OKC on top of the mountain? Would Thunder fans embrace that type of redemption situation, or would the Warriors still look to be too tough to overcome? Therefore, the Thunder would be back where they were in 2016, only with a more daunting task, and the awkwardness of Durant back in the city that loathes him.”
Around the League: Boogie will make his return on January 18…. Blake Griffin doesn’t need to be relevant…. James Harden is the outlier of the NBA…. The NBA is looking into the circumstances surrounding the Patrick McCaw signing…. Do the Lakers have a number two option?…. Recapping last night’s NBA action.