Weekly Bolts: Streaking
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April 20, 2021
Oklahoma City has now lost 11 straight games. The Thunder aren’t out of the middle-of-the-pack-in-lottery-odds woods yet, but it’s looking increasingly likely they will finish in the top five.
That would give OKC at least a 10.5 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and it would virtually ensure (> 90%) its place in the top seven. However, the path to climbing further up the standings suddenly looks possible.
OKC likely won’t be favored to win a game until at least May 4 when it hosts Sacramento. As it sits today, the Thunder are just two games back in the loss column from Detroit for No. 3 in the lottery standings. The margins will be thin, but anything is possible.
– Spenser Davis
Darius Bazley scored a career-high 26 points in Monday night’s loss to the Warriors. He also guarded Russell Westbrook, and held The Brodie to his lowest point total in multiple weeks.
Aleksej Pokusevski had a rough shooting night on Sunday versus the Raptors, but he impacted the game in other areas. He produced seven rebounds, five assists and six blocks in the loss.
Potential future Thunder player Vasilije Micic was ranked the No. 3 player in the world outside of the NBA in a GM survey earlier this week. OKC acquired his rights in the Al Horford deal last offseason.
A belated happy birthday to Lu Dort, who turned 22 on Monday.
Steph Curry continues to be absurd, as he scored 49 points in a win over the 76ers on Monday. The Warriors are now 29-29 and suddenly within range of conveying that top-20 protected pick to Oklahoma City.
LaMelo Ball’s wrist injury is almost healed, apparently. According to Woj, he could re-join the Hornets’ lineup in the next 7-10 days.
April 22, 2021
Oklahoma City’s lottery hopes got another nice boost on Wednesday night. Not only did the Thunder lose their 12th straight game — two off a franchise record — but the Cleveland Cavaliers miraculously defeated the Bulls.
That win by Cleveland gives OKC a cushion of 1.5 games as the season hits the home stretch. The Thunder are now equally close to No. 3 in lottery odds as they are to No. 6 (two games in the loss column). The No. 7 Sacramento Kings also won, putting them four games above the Thunder in the standings.
At this point, it’s becoming obvious that Oklahoma City will be no worse than sixth in lottery odds at the end of the regular season. Their most likely position remains fifth, but each loss increases the chances they could creep into the top three.
– Spenser Davis
Aleksej Pokusevski played just five minutes in OKC’s loss to the Pacers on Wednesday night. He scored two points and grabbed two rebounds before leaving the game with a non-COVID illness, per the team.
Darius Bazley scored 26 points vs. Indiana, matching the career-high he set on Tuesday. He continues to get to the free throw line at will, making 7-of-9 attempts on Wednesday.
Lu Dort missed his second-consecutive game with a right hip strain. He remains day-to-day.
The Thunder are seeking a new naming rights partner for Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Ringer’s NBA University did a deep dive on the Thunder this week. Kevin O’Connor, J. Kyle Mann and Tyler Parker covered everything from Shai and Poku to Garth Brooks.
Julius Randle scored 40 points to lead the Knicks over the Hawks in overtime on Wednesday night. The Knicks, now winners of eight straight, are in a tie with Atlanta for the No. 4 seed in the East.