Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thunder Aggressive As Trade Deadline Draws Near

According to Royce Young of ESPB, the Thunder are aggressive as the trade deadline approaches. Young recently tweeted that the Thunder are interested in acquiring Doug McDermott of the Chicago Bulls.

McDermott, a product out of Creighton, is a scoring forward who would greatly benefit the Thunder's perimeter offense. The 6'8 small forward is shooting 38 percent from three on the season and is a career 39 percent shooter from downtown.

Oklahoma City is in desperate need of a three point shooter and McDermott would fit the bill.

Marc Stein tweeted this morning that Oklahoma City has their eyes on Chicago's Taj Gibson. Adding Gibson give the Thunder another strong presence down low to pair with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter.

Sam Presti is also searching for a scoring forward to add to the Thunder's arsenal.

Trade Deadline Special

The trade deadline on February 23rd is quickly approaching. A blockbuster deal has already happened, with the Pelicans prying DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings to form a deadly front court duo with Anthony Davis.

Thunder fans need to be reasonable when approaching this years deadline. Just because the Kings gave away DeMarcus Cousins for a practically nothing does not mean the same will happen for other superstars in the league. That means you can cross off your Kyle Singler for Paul George trade.

Oklahoma City will make a move. Sam Presti is known to be very active around the trade deadline and you can bet it will be more of the same this year. But, don't expect a move that will significantly swing the pendulum for the Thunder.

Here are some realistic trades the Thunder could make:

Thunder Get the Three They've Been Searching For

Thunder receive: Wilson Chandler

Nuggets Receive: Andre Roberson, Cameron Payne

This trade idea is courtesy of Jon Hamm and it makes sense for both teams. Wilson Chandler has made it clear he wants out of Denver. The forward is a solid defender with a good three point stroke and the ability to play the three or four. Denver reportedly is looking for a first round draft pick in exchange for Chandler, but the Thunder don't have any draft picks to give away for awhile. The Nuggets would be receiving a stout defender in Andre Roberson and a talented point guard still on a rookie contract.

The Thunder have now been reported to have marked Chandler off of their list, but with Sam Presti as the General Manager anything can happen.

Kings Abandoning Ship

Thunder receive: Darren Collison

Kings receive: Cameron Payne

In this trade the Thunder would be reuniting a UCLA backcourt while the Kings get a point guard they have been high on. Now while this trade makes sense on the court, Collison's off the court issues probably force Sam Presti to turn this deal down. Collison was charged with domestic abuse earlier this season and Presti does not want that kind of presence surrounding the Thunder culture.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Enes Kanter Nearing Return

Enes Kanter was seen at practice on Wednesday in a Thunder practice uniform and Billy Donovan did not rule out a possibility of him playing Friday.

Wednesday's practice was a non-contact as Kanter slowly works his way back into playing shape. The Thunder center still has to pass several tests during a more physical Thursday practice such as defending in the post without pain and driving in the paint.

If Kanter can complete these tasks, the Thunder center should be given the green light for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Enes Kanter broke his forearm on January 26 against the Dallas Mavericks after he punched a bench chair. The Thunder announced Kanter would be reevaluated in 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Warriors Beat Thunder in Kevin Durant's Homecoming

Kevin Durant guards Russell Westbrook during the third quarter of  last nights game. (image retrieved from:
The Golden State Warriors lead the Oklahoma City by double-digits throughout the majority of the game, but you wouldn't be able to tell by the roar of the crowd. It was the most exciting, intense and emotional blowout maybe ever.

The Warriors beat the Thunder 130-114 in Kevin Durant's first game back in Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook scored a game high 47 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Durant had 34 points in his homecoming.

The game featured a chaotic media frenzy. ESPN brought SportsCenter and many other programs to prepare for the big game. Fans in OKC were a little excited too.

It was the fans first glimpse of their former savior in person. They flocked to the hotel where the Warriors were staying, came several hours early to boo him while he warmed up and when it was time to call Durant's name, the fans let him hear the heartache he caused.

Louder than the boo's however were the deafening cheers Russell Westbrook received during introductions. The crowd never lost their energy even while the team faced a 20 point deficit.

Every time Durant touched the ball he was immediately and emphatically booed.

The Thunder were able to jump out to an early lead in the game, but the Warriors star power started to overwhelm Oklahoma City. A long second quarter scoring drought sent the Thunder into halftime down 23 points.

Coming out of the break the Thunder started to show signs of life. The game never seemed out of the Warriors hands, but Westbrook and the Thunder weren't ready to give up yet. About midway through the third quarter Westbrook started to find his groove and it was with Kevin Durant guarding him.

Durant had started the game on Roberson, but was now exclusively defending Westbrook when the guard came up the court. Russell was up for the challenge and roasted Durant on two straight possessions forcing a Warriors timeout. Westbrook walked by Durant and started yelling, "I'm coming!". Durant began to jaw back at Westbrook, the former duo now cementing their estranged relationship.

Not long after this exchange Durant drove inside with Roberson defending and drew a foul. Durant bounced back up and he and Roberson started to exchange some words at a very close distance. The two had to be seperated and you could hear the crowd break out in cheers for what Roberson had just done.

At one point during the fourth quarter the Thunder cut it to 12 and it seemed like OKC might be able to pull it off. But, like he did so many times before in the building, Durant hit a long three point shot to seal the game for his new team.

There were no handshakes. No waves. Both teams walked to their respective tunnels, never glancing back. These two teams were supposed to become the next great rivals of the NBA, battling for Western Conference superiority, but that was quickly ruined on the Fourth of July.

The games between these two teams may not be ultra competitive like in years past, but with Westbrook on board, Thunder and co. sure show a lot of heart in the face of defeat.

Images from last night:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Oklahoma City's Super Bowl

This is it. When Kevin Durant announced his decision to spurn the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors, fans in Oklahoma City were already circling the date on their calendar.

Fans could have gotten over Kevin Durant leaving. But it's how he left and who went to that twisted hearts in Oklahoma City.

Some players are trying to downplay the significance of this game. The truth is this is the most important game in the last four years for the Thunder.

Russell Westbrook's epic signing saved a city from turmoil and instantly turned him into the most loved sports player in the state.

Durant sent a text to Westbrook to tell him of his decision. Russell handled the situation in perfect fashion, shutting his phone and asking assistant general manager Troy Weaver, "What's Next?"

Oklahomans value trust, honesty, family, all things Westbrook preached at his signing ceremony.
Unlike the other two games against the Warriors, this time around Westbrook has a whole state cheering him on until the last second.

This game means everything to the state of Oklahoma and quite frankly this Thunder team. Oklahoma City badly wants this game and no one wants it more than Westbrook.

This whole Thunder team is going to be full of energy knowing that this is not your normal sports game.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are going to be in Chesapeake Energy Arena together tonight and while previously there was dispute amongst fans about the duo, there is no doubt whose name they will be chanting tonight.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Third Quarter Dooms Thunder, Move to 30-23

The Thunder entered tonight's game coming off a performance where every player contributed. Tonight's game was a different story. Oklahoma City fell to the Indiana Pacers 93-90 behind a pour shooting night from the team. Russell Westbrook was about the only offensive threat tonight scoring  27 points to go along with 18 rebounds and nine assists.

Oklahoma City shot 38.6 percent from the field and 25 percent from three point range. On the other end of the court the team looked energetic, switching and hustling to close out three point shooters. The team's defensive efforts held Indiana to 38 percent shooting for the game and held Paul George to 21 points on 7-20 shooting. It was the third quarter that was the Thunder's demise.

The Thunder, who were up by as many as 15, let Indiana come storming back in the third period. Oklahoma City was outscored 32-18 in the quarter.

While Russell Westbrook's heroics were able to bring the Thunder back in the game, it wasn't enough to steal one in Indiana. Westbrook had two chances in the closing seconds to send the game into overtime, but missed both three point opportunities.

Not all was negative in tonight's game however. Andre Roberson had another stellar performance, notching his second double-double of the season, 11 points and 11 rebounds, while also holding Paul George to shooting just 35 percent from the field.

The Thunder's rebounding was once again dominant. OKC grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, seven of them coming from Steven Adams.

Oklahoma City moved to 30-23 on the season. The Thunder will be in Oklahoma City on Thursday to take on the Cavs before a Saturday showdown against some guy called Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Thunder Rebounding Wills Team to Victory

If the first possession was any indication, the Thunder made it a priority to crash the glass against the Trail Blazers. The Thunder pulled down four offensive rebounds on their first possession, closing the first quarter with seven offensive rebounds.

Steven Adams Adams was a monster on the boards tonight. Though Adams did not have the most productive offensive day, 3-11 for seven points, the Thunder big made his presence felt on the boards. Adams finished with 13 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive end. 

The Thunder saw contributions from just about everyone on the boards. Andre Roberson had 11 rebounds, Victor Oladipo matched Adams with 13 and Joffrey Lauvergne came off the bench to grab nine.

Andre Roberson was fantastic. Roberson finished with a double-double, 14 points and 11 rebounds. 

Russell Westbrook had another usual performance in his books. Westbrook went 16-34 from the floor to score 42 points and dishing out eight assists along the way.

The Thunder are now 30-22 on the season and are currently .5 game behind Memphis for the 6th seed. 

With Enes Kanter out the Thunder hope they can stay afloat until he is able to make his comeback.

The Thunder will play at Indiana tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.