We have that and more in Friday’s NBA newsletter.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in crisis. OKC has lost four straight, each of them in excruciating fashion. The latest defeat came on national TV, which will make it extra painful. Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up three to pull the Thunder within three of the Nuggets with 2:41 left; OKC would go 1-for-6 in meaningful shots the rest of the way while Denver got the buckets necessary to win.
This loss came just after losing to the Kings, who had been 1-8.
OKC’s clutch statistics are shockingly bad — NBA.com has the Thunder at a -49 in 23 minutes clutch minutes, which is just outrageous. The next worse team is Atlanta at -17 in 20 clutch minutes. The most obvious problem is ball movement. Paul George played the entire fourth quarter and got one shot. Westbrook played nine minutes and took seven (making only the one mentioned above).
Something’s gotta give for these guys, or the masterful offseason we thought OKC had will be for naught. The Clippers visit the Thunder on Friday. It’ll be interesting to see how Westbrook plays in that light.
Scores Galore …
LAL 95, WAS 111
NOP 118, TOR 122
CLE 113, HOU 117
PHI 108, SAC 109
OKC 94, DEN 102
… And So Much More
The 100 best players in college basketball this season. Here’s the next wave of freshmen stars. Eleven predictions for the season. Fifty must-watch non-conference games. How the jelly made the lay-up the coolest move in basketball.
Don’t fear analytics turning the NBA into a cookie cutter league.
Lonzo Ball really can’t make a shot. Is this a reason to worry?
Meanwhile, a De’Aaron Fox game-winner.
All hail Clint Capela.
Zach Lowe asks who the Suns are now.
All-Star is headed to Chicago in 2020. L.A. this season, Charlotte next year.
The stars of the Celtics’ fan cam.
Seerat Sohi on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the pursuit of something new.
The first quote in this Sam Amick chat with Jimmy Butler is “Everybody knows me and Fred [Hoiberg] had some riff-raff” so you know it’s good.
Police appear to have found the weapon from Lorenzen Wright’s 2010 murder in Memphis.
Can you name all the NBA players with a color in their name? Michael Redd can!
Up next: ESPN has Bucks-Spurs at 9 p.m. ET on Friday. NBA TV will show Nets-Jazz on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET (Trevor Booker derby!). No national TV on Sunday but there’s a promising Raptors-Celtics matinee (3:30 p.m. ET, League Pass).
And finally: Kosta Koufos ponders the meaning of life.
Be excellent to each other.
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