Yeah, he’s not really a very good shooter but man does Josh know how to throw down a hammer.
Side note: Should Huestis be playing more and eating up Terrance Ferguson’s minutes? Huestis has averaged 10 minutes a game over the four-game win streak but boasts an impressive net rating of +39.6. Ferguson, on the other hand, has a net rating of -19.
Against the Spurs last Saturday night, Steven Adams suffered a sprained ankle and missed much of the second half. Adams bounced back and started against the Kings two days later, but then took an awkward fall and left with a hip contusion. That injury has kept him out since then and he’s questionable for tonight’s game against the Clippers.
The injury bug gave the Thunder an even bigger scare Tuesday against the Hawks, when Paul George went down with a groin injury. George left the game and did not return but is expected to play tonight.
With the Thunder in a battle to make the playoffs, injuries to key players are extremely costly, so while OKC has managed to survive without Adams the last two games, they need a fully healthy squad, especially as the difficulty ramps up.
As I mentioned, the Thunder’s final stretch is no walk in the park. Having taken care of business this last week against the the fading Spurs, and doormats like the Kings and Hawks, OKC plays 11 straight games against teams that are firmly in the playoff hunt, including the top four teams in the league. The Thunder also has the most difficult closing stretch in the NBA, playing just one “bad” team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
The biggest key, though, is to beat the teams that are battling for spots 3-8. The Thunder plays five games against such teams (Clippers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Nuggets, and Pelicans). A sweep of those games would almost guarantee the Thunder a playoff spot.
You should already be aware that Russell Westbrook notched the 100th triple-double of his career against the Hawks. On the season, Westbrook has 21, and, incredibly, he’s still within range of becoming the first player in NBA history to complete two seasons averaging a triple double. To do so, Westbrook must average 9.0 assists and 12.0 rebounds per game.
So, after the Thunder completed a buyout deal for Corey Brewer, let’s just say I was less than impressed. But maybe it’s time I ate a little crow. Since being added to the starting lineup, the Thunder is 4-0 (admittedly against some bad competition), but look noticeably better. As a starter, Brewer is averaging 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and almost 2 steals per game. He’s shooting lights out, knocking down 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from the arc, and hasn’t yet missed a free throw. He also boasts the highest +/- rating on the team (13, tied with Westbrook and Adams).
If Brewer can continue to play at this extremely high level, and the rest of the team can get healthy, maybe this team can be a threat in the playoffs.
And one more makes seven…
With Adams sidelined, Mr. Thunder has been getting some meaningful minutes. Though you can tell he’s not the same player he used to be, Collison is a deserved fan favorite. Against the Spurs, in a game with massive implications, Collison made play after play leading to chants of M-V-P — maybe one of the best moments of the season. Against the Spurs, Collison scored 7 points on 3-5 shooting. In fact, over a three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, Collison scored 5 straight, and seven of nine Thunder points.
If only Nick could’ve drawn a charge — the team might’ve just lifted Collison straight to the rafters.