5 min read

Wednesday Bolts: 2.13.19

AP on Michael Jordan’s comments about Russell Westbrook and James Harden: “Michael Jordan said James Harden’s streak of 30 straight 30-point games and Russell Westbrook’s 10 straight triple-doubles are both impressive and tough to accomplish. But the Charlotte Hornets’ owner said Tuesday — flashing a big grin — that there is one accomplishment tougher than both of those feats: “Which is harder from the player’s standpoint? Six championships, by all means.” Jordan, who won six titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, praised both players for what they’re doing, noting that both streaks are hard to accomplish. Jordan said the milestones show “the talent that we have within the league. It shows progression in the league,” Jordan said during an interview at the Hornets’ facility while discussing the upcoming All-Star Weekend. “I am very proud of how both guys have done because they are making a mark for the league, and I think it really helps grow the league.”

Maddie Lee (Oklahoman) on the Thunder signing Richard Solomon to a 10-day contract: “The Thunder plans to promote OKC Blue forward Richard Solomon, signing him to a 10-day contract with the Thunder, according to a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Solomon is averaging 13.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals and one block per game in the G League this season. When the Thunder waived Alex Abrines Saturday, its roster dropped down to 12 players, plus two two-way contracts (Deonte Burton and Donte Grantham). The signing of Solomon would return OKC’s roster to the 13-player minimum. Solomon joined the Thunder for training camp this season but did not appear in any preseason games.”

A bit more on Solomon + highlights:

Erik Horne (Oklahoman) takes a look at some post-All-Star break roster options for the Thunder: “Burton wasn’t expected to be a part of the Thunder’s rotation, but a combination of roster attrition (Andre Roberson’s rehab setbacks, Alex Abrines being waived), an impressive summer league and development in the G League this season has Burton, a two-way player who earned midseason Western Conference All-NBA G League Team honors, on the cusp of a roster spot. In his first two-month stint with the Thunder, Burton was inconsistent defensively and finishing at the rim. In 37 minutes between two wins against Houston and Portland, however, Burton has shown the growth he’s undergone in a few months. He held up defensively against Houston in key third- and fourth-quarter minutes, then scored against contact and from 3-point range against Portland (18 points, 3-of-5 3-pointers). “He’s been great,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “The thing I love about Deonte is, he’s really coachable, he’s a great worker, he wants to learn, and he wants to get better.” The 25-year-old has impressed at the right time. With the trade deadline passed, the Thunder has two open roster spots it can fill. Here are some of OKC’s options.”

Dan Devine (Ringer) on the excellence of Paul George: “Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that this is the way things are unfolding for Paul George. After all, if someone asked you to design a perfect player for the NBA as it exists in 2019, you might sketch something that looks an awful lot like him: 6-foot-9 with a 6-foot-11-¼ wingspan, able to handle any defensive assignment on a given possession; strong enough to muscle through contact, but still lithe enough to slalom around ball screens on the perimeter; a pristine quick-trigger jumper and a tight handle; playmaking vision and touch; a deep bag of finishes in the paint; and—even after one of the more ghastly leg injuries in recent memory—enough burst to dust dudes and enough bounce to bang on shot-blockers. We’ve known for nearly a decade that George had everything he’d need to become a star, and he’s made good on that promise, earning six All-Star berths and four All-NBA nods in his eight healthy seasons. But what he’s doing now in Oklahoma City … it’s different. And it’s leaving lasting scorch marks on opponents.”

The Jump (ESPN) discusses Paul George and the race for MVP:

Zach Harper (Athletic) has the Thunder fifth in his latest power rankings: “Paul George is on an insane tear of basketball right now. The other Oklahoma City Thunder star has played absurd basketball the past 11 games. I mean … he’s been spectacular all season long, but it’s on another level the last 11 games (10-1 in those games). During this stretch, George is averaging 35.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.5 steals while putting up a true shooting of 67.4 percent. Those numbers almost don’t make sense. Those are rookie mode numbers for NBA 2K MyPlayer. This will get people saying that George should be in the MVP conversation, and yeah, of course he should. He realistically has been in there the majority of this season. His defense has been top notch and his offense is crushing opponents. I still don’t think what he’s done has surpassed Giannis Antetokounmpo or James Harden have done. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate it, especially when the focus on him lately needs to get more intense with what he’s accomplishing. It just means to pump the brakes on what’s happening lately versus what’s been happening for a lot longer.”

ESPN has the Thunder fourth in their power rankings: “The Thunder have won 10 of their past 11 games, including a huge comeback victory at the Rockets on Saturday. Russell Westbrook has stepped into history by notching nine triple-doubles in a row and counting, a span during which teammate Paul George has bolstered his MVP claims by averaging 34.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 4.2 APG and 2.6 SPG.”

Antonio Daniels went on The Herd and preached the gospel of Russell Westbrook:

Russ (4) & PG (10) are both in the Forbes list of 2019’s highest-paid NBA athletes: “Russell Westbrook: Total Earnings: $53.7 million / Salary: $35.7 million / Endorsements: $18 million / Not too long ago, averaging a triple-double for a full season in today’s NBA was thought to be a pipe dream. The feat hadn’t been done since the 1961-62 season. Yet Westbrook is on the verge of doing it for the third straight year. Last month, Nike debuted his second signature sneaker, Why Not Zer0.2. His third lifestyle shoe, Westbrook 0.3, hit stores in the fall. Westbrook kicked off the richest playing contract in NBA history this season. The deal is worth $207 million over five years.”

Around the League: Isaiah Thomas could make his Nuggets debut tonight…. Anthony Davis is having a whole bunch of fun in New Orleans…. Joel Embiid tore into the refs after a loss to the Celtics…. LeBron thinks the Lakers need to decompress…. Recapping last night’s NBA action…. Chris Bosh is officially retiring next month.