2 min read

Wednesday Bolts – 12.28.16

Wednesday Bolts – 12.28.16

Sam Amick of USA Today: “Losing Kevin Durant in free agency last summer came with an


obvious ripple effect for the Thunder: they would struggle to score without him. So when shooting guard Victor Oladipo went down with a right wrist injury on Dec. 11, and the Thunder responded to the loss of Russell Westbrook’s new sidekick with lackluster losses at Portland and Utah, it was fair to wonder if Oklahoma City was about to go off the rails. Cue the Westbrook-to-the-rescue music – again. Since those back-to-back losses, and entering Tuesday’s matchup against Miami, Westbrook had averaged 38 points (48.4% shooting overall, 40% from three-point range), 12.4 assists and 10 rebounds per game as the Thunder went 4-1. With the Thunder (19-12) sitting at fifth in the West, the timetable for Oladipo’s return has not been set.”

Brett Dawson: “In two games with Jerami Grant in the starting lineup, Oklahoma City lost to Portland and Utah by an average of 19.5 points. In the five subsequent games, the Thunder started Morrow and went 4-1. That starting lineup shift isn’t the sole reason for the surge. And Morrow hasn’t been at his sharpshooting best since moving into the starting lineup. He’s shooting 34.8 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from 3-point range in that span. But a shooting slump isn’t enough to keep defenses from pressing up and closing out on Morrow, a career 42 percent 3-point shooter, and that stretches defenses out, giving Russell Westbrook more room to operate.”

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel: “Russell Westbrook as emerged as the NBA’s ultimate must-see player. It’s not about the ease of the triple-doubles. It’s about the relentless effort.”

ESPN Stats: “Over the last 20 seasons, Russell Westbrook has recorded 20 triple-doubles through three quarters, including tonight against the Heat. That’s more such triple-doubles than the next three players combined (Jason Kidd – 7, James Harden – 6, LeBron James – 5).”

ESPN has a triple-double tracker now.

Kurt Helin of PBT: “After the Thunder easily handled the Heat Tuesday night, we understandably focused on Russell Westbrook — another triple-double, another dominating performance, it’s impossible to find the right words for how well he is playing right now. We weren’t the only ones paying attention to Westbrook, so were the Heat defenders, which allowed Steven Adams to roll to the rim free and clear, and he just powered down dunk after dunk on Miami. You can see it in the video above. Adams finished with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, with five of those buckets being at the rim.”

Erik Horne: “It was a case of cause and effect. The cause was Miami letting Adams run free to the rim and the effect was a brutally effective pick-and-roll game that the big man capitalized on. As Adams slips his screen and starts his curling run down the lane, the Miami help defender comes way too late. By the time Adams gets a few steps inside the free throw line, Westbrook has already thrown the lob.”