5 min read

Wednesday Bolts: 3.7.18

Wednesday Bolts: 3.7.18

Nick Gallo recaps last night’s loss to Houston: “Carmelo Anthony was draining trailing three-pointers. Russell Westbrook knocked down his elbow jumper at a high clip. After a while, Paul George and Steven Adams got into the mix in their own ways. None of that offensive firepower could offset three crucial aspects of the Thunder’s 122-112 loss to the Houston Rockets: turnovers, fouls and Houston’s unreal firepower from behind the three-point line. The first issue for Oklahoma City started right away, with three straight turnovers to start the game and five in the first four minutes of the game. It was a mixture for the Thunder as to why the giveaways racked up – some of it was playing with a slowed pace, attacking in isolation too much and some careless passing. By the time the night was through, the Thunder had 20 turnovers that led to 21 Rockets points.”

Royce Young on Carmelo Anthony passing Jerry West on the NBA’s all-time scoring list: “With a left wing 3 in the first quarter Tuesday against the Houston Rockets, Carmelo Anthony moved into the top 20 on the all-time NBA scoring list, passing Jerry West. “It’s an honor, I don’t want to sit here and say that it’s not an honor,” Anthony said. “It’s a blessing to be on that list, top 20. I don’t even know what else to say about that.” Anthony said he was unaware of passing “The Logo” on the all-time list, saying he was informed at his locker after the game. Anthony scored 23 points in the Thunder’s 122-112 loss to the Rockets, giving him 25,210 for his career. Next up on the list: Reggie Miller at 25,279.”

Bill Haisten (Tulsa World) on Houston making it look easy against the underachieving Thunder: “Through 66 games, this underachieving Thunder squad is 37-29 and seventh in the West. Through 66 games last season, that overachieving Thunder squad was 37-29. Instead of hammering away at OKC’s flaws, Houston deserves the maximum amount of credit. James Harden and the Rockets leave Oklahoma City with a 16-game win streak. They haven’t lost in 2018. Their most recent defeat occurred on Dec. 28 at New Orleans. At 50-13, the Rockets have a slight lead over Golden State in the Western Conference pennant race.”

Jenni Carlson (Oklahoman) on the Houston defense: “The Thunder didn’t score any points in the paint for the first 18 minutes, 41 seconds of the game. Not until Westbrook put his head down and bulled his way to the basket with 5:19 left in the second quarter did OKC notch a basket in the paint. Worse, Adams managed only one shot before halftime. That pick-and-roll between Adams and Westbrook that is smoother than butter? It was rarely available because when Westbrook would go looking for his big man, there were Rocket hands and arms and legs in the way. It limited Adams’ shots and upped Westbrook’s turnovers.”

Jason Concepcion (Ringer) on Russ vs Harden being an argument over the soul of basketball: “Russell Westbrook is a soloist. With Russ, the line dividing altruism from ego is in the eye of the beholder. He’s leading the league in assists. Yet if any player could make passing seem selfish … well, that would be Rajon Rondo. Then it would be Russ. It’s almost like he views assists as the price he pays to avoid being criticized for taking bad shots. It’s fitting that he stayed in Oklahoma when Kevin Durant fled for the coast. Everyone, at one time or another, has felt abandoned, felt as if all the world is against them. Sports can harness those feelings of aggrievement and loneliness and disrespect in a way that can be cathartic. That’s what Russell Westbrook does. Last year, my colleague Sean Fennessey wrote of Russell: “He is you, stuck in a traffic jam, ready to drive your monster truck over the masses into the great open road.”

Eric Skelton (Complex) on Russell Westbrook discussing playing with KD & Harden: “It’s a blessing,” Westbrook said, looking back on their years as teammates. “It’s something that doesn’t happen that often. It’s a blessing to be able to play with those guys. But at the same time, know and understand each individual journey and what it took for them to get to the level they’re at now.” Asked if the trio had any idea of what they were all capable of when they were teammates, Westbrook shook his head and repeatedly answered, “No.”

Grant Hughes (B/R) on OKC having the most to lose in the West’s playoff race: “Suppose the worst comes to pass and Oklahoma City falls short of the postseason. In that scenario, Paul George could easily look at the Los Angeles Lakers—a team he’s been overtly ogling for years and one that paid tampering fines for ogling him back—and view them as the objectively better option. Think that’s far-fetched? L.A. is 17-11 since Jan. 1 despite trading away rotation players (Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.) and paring salary. In that same span, Oklahoma City is 17-12. That’s a two-month stretch in which a team that is actively rebuilding for the future has performed just as well as one hell-bent on surviving in the present. You might be shouting that George, a rental from the time he arrived, is leaving anyway, and that OKC’s fate this year won’t change that. But think about it in the simplest terms possible: Is it harder for George to leave if the Thunder miss the playoffs? Or is it easier?”

ESPN Insiders have Steven Adams tied with Lonzo Ball as the 17th-best player that’s 25 or younger: “Give credit to Adams and the player development staff in Oklahoma City. If you scouted Adams at the University of Pittsburgh, the last place you think you would see the center would be on this list. Like Capela, Adams was deemed more of a project when he entered the NBA in 2013. Four years later, he has developed into OKC’s interior cornerstone and the top offensive rebounder in the NBA.”

Nick Collison joined the NBA Soundsystem Podcast to discuss music, OKC and more with Brent Barry: “Oklahoma City Thunder veteran forward Nick Collison joins Brent Barry to discuss his favorite music, his role mentoring young players in Oklahoma City, this year’s playoff aspirations, and more.”

Around the League: Mark Cuban denied sexual assault allegations…. The Pelicans won their nignth straight…. The Blazers have won eight straight…. The NBA forced the Bulls to stop tanking…. Ranking this year’s rookie class on an all-time scale…. The NBA is exploring ways for prospects to skip the NCAA.