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April 13, 2021
Oklahoma City has lost six games in a row, so I hope you’ll forgive me for looking at the big picture for this edition.
Jamal Murray appeared to seriously injure his left knee late Monday night against the Warriors. It was gruesome, worrying and absolutely heart-breaking for Denver fans. The Nuggets were just hitting their stride, and were looking like legitimate title contenders.
Oklahoma City fans know what it’s like to lose a season of championship contention due to injury. It happened twice in the Thunder’s six-year run with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and those lost years cause me to wonder, ‘What if?’ more than any of OKC’s other playoff losses or missed opportunities.
As the Thunder progress through this rebuild, it’s a sobering reminder that nothing is a guarantee. Oklahoma City could have Shai, Cade, Evan, Emoni, Chet, Lu, Aleksej or any other promising prospect you want to dream about, but it might not matter.
It’s not going to matter this year for Denver, who has done basically everything right. They drafted two young stars outside of the top five (Nikola Jokic and Murray). They took home run swings when they could (Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol). They’ve traded for reinforcements (Aaron Gordon) and shrewdly added role players who fit well with their stars (Monte Morris and Will Barton).
It’s terrifying, but truly all you can do is maximize your odds and hope for the best — hence the six-game losing streak, with more on the way.
Best wishes to Jamal Murray.
– Spenser Davis
In the latest Daily Thunder podcast, Ryan Woods and Brandon Rahbar break down Oklahoma City’s loss to the 76ers. They also discuss the return of Darius Bazley and Lu Dort.
Brandon Rahbar gives a Thunder State of the U-nion address and ponders the question: Would it be so bad if Shai Gilgeous-Alexander didn’t return until next season, but with Jalen Suggs as his teammate?
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that Oklahoma City is signing Real Madrid forward Gabriel Deck to a four-year contract. Woj says he’s expected to join the team in the “near future.” Andrew Schlecht was first to report the contract details, which are very team-friendly.
Denver Nuggets star guard Jamal Murray appeared to seriously injure his left knee against the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says he’ll get an MRI to determine the severity on Tuesday.
Steph Curry became the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer on Monday night when he poured in 53 points against the Nuggets. Wilt Chamberlain previously held the record. As the Washington Post’s Michael Lee points out, Chamberlain did it in far fewer games.
Russell Westbrook led the Wizards to a huge upset over the Utah Jazz on Monday. Westbrook put up 25 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists and snapped Utah’s 24-game home winning streak.
April 15, 2021
As of Wednesday night, Oklahoma City is now in sole possession of the fifth-best lottery odds. If the Thunder hold on to that spot, they will have a 10.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick.
This is a drastically better position than what the Thunder were looking at even just a couple weeks ago. An eight-game losing streak will do that, I guess.
Friday night’s contest with Detroit is a big one. If Oklahoma City loses that game, there’s a realistic path to climbing even further up the lottery standings. The Pistons haven’t lost to a non-playoff team since March 27.
– Spenser Davis
On Tuesday night, Lu Dort became the sixth player in Thunder history to score 40 points in a regular season game. As the Ringer’s Zach Kram points out, he’s just the second player to do so under the age of 22.
Oklahoma City is now on an eight-game losing streak, and that’s starting to pay off. With Cleveland’s win over Charlotte on Wednesday night, the Thunder now have the fifth-best lottery odds in the NBA.
Thunder coach Mark Daigneualt commented on the pending arrival of new signing Gabriel Deck, who will wear #6, this week. He said OKC’s scouting department has been watching him for years and that he’s excited to get him on the court this season, per Daily Thunder’s Brandon Rahbar.
Steph Curry had an unbelievable game against the Thunder on Wednesday night, even by his standards. He posted 42 points, six rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes. He did all that with a true shooting percentage of 98.5 percent.
Dallas needed a heroic game-winner from Luka Doncic to defeat the Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Doncic’s shot was so improbable that he said he didn’t even get a good look at the rim before he let it go.