Oklahoma Thunderballs

add news feed

tweet a story

Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers 10.8.13
Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers 10.8.13
about 1 hour ago
(In the past we've brought you a comprehensive Thunder preview as offered by both Zorgon and Sherman. This year we let the rookie KevinHFY join in on the festivities. Zorgon offers his customary in-depth analysis, Kevin offers a new set ...
(In the past we've brought you a comprehensive Thunder preview as offered by both Zorgon and Sherman. This year we let the rookie KevinHFY join in on the festivities. Zorgon offers his customary in-depth analysis, Kevin offers a new set of eyes, and Sherman rounds out each topic with his famous last words.) Team Name: The Oklahoma City Thunder Last Year's Record: 60-22 Key Losses: Kevin Martin, DeAndre Liggins, Ronnie Brewer, Kevin Durant's Residence Key Additions: Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Ryan Gomes 1. What significant moves were made during the off-season? More Thunder previews ZILLER: Pressure's on the brain trustO'DONNELL: Lamb must step upGARRISON: Ibaka's defensive developmentPRICE: Russ and KD a good start Moves? Hah. The Thunder, with Ibaka's new salary kicking in and a couple of draft picks, were right next to the luxury tax threshold. They've refused to go over that threshold before, dishing James Harden off to Houston instead of giving him a payday. So if they went over that threshold to pay Kevin Martin, it would've been absolutely absurd. Thus, K-Mart took his talents to Minnesota. The Thunder looked for a cheap option to replace him, but they couldn't even afford Dorell Wright, who signed for a measly 3 million a year. So the Thunder ended up doing nothing but grabbing a couple of minimum salary players in Derek Fisher and Ryan Gomes. In terms of the draft, the Thunder went in two different directions. With their #12 pick, they desperately tried to move up by packaging it with Kendrick Perkins. The talent-bereft and cash-strapped teams at the top of the lottery laughed at the Thunder's offer, leaving the Thunder to draft a 2-3 year project in Steven Adams. Late in the first round, the Thunder traded up a bit to grab Andre Roberson, an experienced forward. He could help out the team in terms of defense and rebounding, and could possibly be a cheap replacement for Thabo Sefolosha next year. In the second round, the Thunder drafted Alex Abrines, a creative guard who they can stash in Europe, and Grant Jerrett, a three point shooting big who will need time to develop his all-around game. 2. What are the team's biggest strengths? Zorgon: For me, the team's biggest strength at this point is the rock-solid production they get from Kevin Durant. It might seem really obvious, but I challenge anyone to find a single player in the NBA who has as few off nights. I mean, he was close to beating Jordan's record of so many straight 25 point games for a reason. He might be less efficient on some nights, but he'll get his points, come hell or high water. Beyond that, I think their biggest strength is their familiarity. Westbrook, Durant, Ibaka, Sefolosha, Collison, and Perkins have all been playing together for years now, and they know each other's strengths and weaknesses. Each player has a very defined role, and they can fill that role to a T. There's very little chance of drama, there's a great locker room atmosphere, and they all trust each other. Even some of the newer players (Fisher, Jackson) already have a nice handle on where they fit within the context of the team. If we're going to talk about the Thunder as a team strategically, I think their high-tempo offense and defense can overwhelm a lot of teams. The trio of Durant, Sefolosha, and Westbrook (and Jackson, for a while) is still one of the best open-court gangs in the league, with lots of size, speed, and athleticism. Defensively, the Thunder are pretty good at nabbing back court steals and switching on screens, keeping the other team away from the basket and keeping the pace high. It might seem gimmicky, but it's gotten this team places before. Kevin: Our team's biggest strengths have to start with Kevin Durant. So much of the Thunder's success is reliant on him, and this is even more true with Kevin Martin in Minnesota and Russell Westbrook for the first 4-6 weeks of the season. Well, if you had to pick any one player in the NBA to
about 3 hours ago
Darnell Mayberry: “The rookie continues to impress. His energy, athleticism and activity on both ends are what fans have been craving from the center position. Against the Sixers, he showed an ability to be an effective offensive r...
Darnell Mayberry: “The rookie continues to impress. His energy, athleticism and activity on both ends are what fans have been craving from the center position. Against the Sixers, he showed an ability to be an effective offensive rebounder and again proved he can finish at the rim. On one possession, he caught a pinpoint drop-off from Durant on the baseline and finished with a powerful dunk. At the other end, Adams has a tendency to bite on pump fakes, which leads to foul trouble, but he should gain discipline in time.” Kelly Dwyer of BDL: “This was Durant’s game, though. The Thunder clearly came out expecting the lowly 76ers to eventually go pear-shaped in the face of a more accomplished OKC squad, but Philly hung in there throughout. As a result, Kevin Durant had to keep the technical “home” team at arm’s length, nailing a series of step-back jumpers and looking to keep his teammates engaged with extra passes that he may have forced at times. In the preseason, though, those forces are beside the point – Durant is preparing to connect on these dishes in June, not caring about a sloppy turn in October, as he looks to provide another wrinkle to a Thunder offense that has a history of going stagnant in the postseason.” Ben Golliver of SI.com on potential first time All-Stars: “Westbrook’s early-season absence should allow Ibaka additional opportunities on offense, plus the benefit of newfound attention that comes with being the No. 2 guy (if only temporarily) on a contender. Will that be enough to vault Ibaka above players like Nowitzki and Aldridge, who should be productive No. 1 guys for their respective teams, or to keep him above Westbrook on the recognition pecking order if the point guard comes back on schedule? Probably not. Receiving an All-Star selection can often be a multiyear stepping-stone process, and Ibaka will be in position to make real progress this season.” Scott Rafferty of Ridiculous Upside thinks Perry Jones should stay in the D-League another year: “In saying that, if Jones is able to add a reliable face-up jumper in the near future, that would only help him become a formidable option off of the Thunder’s bench, as it would do wonders in opening up his game. Yet the main point here is that the sooner he learns how to score consistently without relying on his athleticism – whether that is around the basket or by improving his range – the better. But until he puts it all together, Jones would be better off spending some more time in the D-League with the Tulsa 66ers.” Pretty in-depth Thunder season preview. A Redditor defends the Harden trade: “At its core, the Harden trade attempted to make the best of a bad situation. Sam Presti wanted to keep Harden in OKC, but the Thunder just couldn’t afford to keep both Harden and Ibaka. It’s very clear that Harden is better than Ibaka in a vacuum, and he proved it in Houston. However, he would never have reached such heights in OKC. Ibaka’s defense and complementary game was a better match for the Thunder and thus Harden had to go. Presti presumably found the best deal possible by landing two good prospects who can help the Thunder regain historic greatness 2 or 3 years down the line and an excellent shooting guard who helped out right away – an excellent package that wouldn’t have been available if he held onto Harden for the entire year12.The Thunder aren’t a big market team; they can’t pay exorbitant fees or punt future flexibility to have an excellent, instead of a “merely” great, chance to win the title. They’re playing the long game, and while it’s not fun to sacrifice the present for the future, it looks like the smart thing to do. At the time of the trade, it looked like the right deal for the Thunder, and that is all that matters.” I’m speaking at a conference in OKC later this month. Sign up here if you’re in to that sort of thing.
about 5 hours ago
Check out the Thunder highlights from their 2nd pre-season win, this time over the 76ers in a game in Manchester, England.
Check out the Thunder highlights from their 2nd pre-season win, this time over the 76ers in a game in Manchester, England.
about 6 hours ago
WTLC makes semi-regular appearances on the great Down to Dunk Podcast. You can find this podcast at their Twitter and iTunes pages. https://twitter.com/DTDPodcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/down-to-dunk-podcast/id599740073 I...
WTLC makes semi-regular appearances on the great Down to Dunk Podcast. You can find this podcast at their Twitter and iTunes pages. https://twitter.com/DTDPodcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/down-to-dunk-podcast/id599740073 I went on the Down to Dunk podcast yesterday to discuss more Thunder topics. We talked about what we could infer from the Thunder's first pre-season game in Istanbul against Fenerbahce Ulker. We also went back to the season preview and talked about how different things would be without Russell Westbrook. It's a ton of good info, so be sure to Czech it out! You can check out Down to Dunk at their Twitter and iTunes pages.
about 6 hours ago
I went on the Down to Dunk podcast yesterday to discuss more Thunder topics. We talked about what we could infer from the Thunder's first pre-season game in Istanbul against Fenerbahce Ulker. We also went back to the season preview and t...
I went on the Down to Dunk podcast yesterday to discuss more Thunder topics. We talked about what we could infer from the Thunder's first pre-season game in Istanbul against Fenerbahce Ulker. We also went back to the season preview and talked about how different things would be without Russell Westbrook. It's a ton of good info, so be sure to Czech it out! You can check out Down to Dunk at their Twitter and iTunes pages.
about 10 hours ago
Box Score The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Philadelphia 76ers today in Manchester, England by the score of 103-99. The Thunder are now 2-0 in their pre-season and their growth as a team without an injured Russell Westbrook continu...
Box Score The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Philadelphia 76ers today in Manchester, England by the score of 103-99. The Thunder are now 2-0 in their pre-season and their growth as a team without an injured Russell Westbrook continues apace. Kevin Durant finished the game with 21 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 turnovers in 33 minutes of play. Durant continued to show a rounded and refined game, and against the smaller 76ers his size is becoming all the more striking. Durant's height, now combined with his increased muscle tone in his upper body, makes him look and play substantially larger than most other guys on the court. Durant's new running mate, Reggie Jackson, took a huge step forward in his evolution as a scoring guard by posting a Westbrook-worthy stat line of 29 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds against only a single turnover. Furthermore, Jackson looked much more comfortable playing along side Durant, as Durant frequently looked for Jackson in prime scoring opportunities. Jackson complied by shooting 10-17 from the floor and 8-8 from the free throw stripe. The game as a whole was a bit uneven as we should anticipate in a pre-season game, but what should be recorded as the best sequence of the game for the Thunder came for the duration of the 3rd quarter. On a superficial level, they entered the quarter down 3 and ended it up by 9, which is a fine achievement in and of itself, even against a rebuilding team like the Sixers. What was most striking was the way in which OKC got their engines revving and put up 35 points in the quarter. The Thunder played fast, aggressive, and in a way that both Durant and Jackson were able to get a number of easy open looks from the floor. What facilitated the quarter the most was how Durant has continued to get quicker, stronger, and more certain of his ball handling skills. While he still tends to over-dribble a bit, he's starting to really scan the floor effectively and spot open shooters. Jackson was his main target, and Jackson did a great job using the pump fake to free himself up for easy 15 foot jumpers, a shot where he looks extremely comfortable now. Perhaps I'm over-stating this a bit, but to me one of the hidden facets of this successful quarter was the fact that Steven Adams was on the court for most of it. What Adams allowed the Thunder to do is play small-ball without actually being small. Adams is a true center with height and muscle, and yet he moves deftly like a power forward. Even though Adams' stat line was a pedestrian 6 points and 4 rebounds, his presence on the court made him a +11 for the game. He simply enabled the Thunder to play at a very fast pace, faster than we see with Kendrick Perkins, and yet lose little in terms of actual size, defense, and rebounding. Here are a few more observations: - Serge Ibaka looked a lot better with his shot this time out. He is shooting the mid-range jumper with a lot of confidence and effectively uses a strong jab-step to give him enough space. I do wonder what he'll do though when the defender tries to close out aggressively; can Serge put the ball on the floor and finish? - Jeremy Lamb really struggled this time out. He finished with only 7 points on 2-12 shooting, including 0-8 from 3-point range. I like his assertiveness, but the problem once again was that he only earned 2 trips to the free throw line (the third was from an illegal defense). Lamb must learn to produce the easy points as his shot comes around. - I'm about to say something nice about Derek Fisher. For all the guff I give him on a regular basis, he is still far more purposeful and organized than what we saw out of this game's backup PG's. Diante Garrett is an active player and Reggie Jackson is learning the ropes, but when they were solely running the 2nd unit, it was tough to watch. Fisher does bring balance to the unit, even with his shortcomings considered. - Perry Jones III was more energized this time out, but I feel like he'd do bett
about 21 hours ago
BOX SCORE The Thunder beat the 76ers 103-99 in Manchester, England behind 29 points, eight assists and six rebounds from Reggie Jackson and 21 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds from Kevin Durant. Some notes and thoughts: Steven Ada...
BOX SCORE The Thunder beat the 76ers 103-99 in Manchester, England behind 29 points, eight assists and six rebounds from Reggie Jackson and 21 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds from Kevin Durant. Some notes and thoughts: Steven Adams and Jeremy Lamb started today in place of Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha. I know Brooks did it just for the preseason and probably most of it was simply because of Perk’s dislocated finger and a rest thing for Thabo, but I think he HAS to be willing to adjust his starting group without Westbrook. With Westbrook? Yeah, keep it straight with Perk at the 5 and Thabo at shooting guard. The stats bear that out — it worked last season. But without Westbrook, offense becomes an issue as teams expose the fact the Thunder have only two shot creators on the floor. Just keep an open mind to it. That’s all. Serge Ibaka’s face-up game is legit, y’all. He was extremely aggressive with his offensive game, looking for his own shot almost every time he touched it. The results were excellent: 18 points on 9-16 shooting, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Steve Smith made a good point at halftime, though. Ibaka’s mid-range game is excellent and all, but it doesn’t lead to many opportunities at the line. He didn’t attempt a free throw today and that’s never been something in his game he’s done much of. J.A. Adande: “Might have to invent new stat this season: MSODP. Missed Shot Off Durant Pass. KD’s teammates will have open looks galore. Can they convert?” It’s true. KD had 12 assists but could’ve had at least 16 or 17. There were so many good looks missed that he set up. So many. Reggie Jackson, you guys. His final line pops for sure, but it was the control he showed throughout the game, only turning it over once (on an iffy charge call) and really was the stabilizing force in OKC’s offense. And before you say yeah it’s preseason, remember, he was showing similar signs in the postseason against the Grizzlies. His game is real and the potential for him to be an elite sixth man is equally so. I believe in Steven Adams. He only got 17 minutes, but all of them were positive. Six points on 3-4, four rebounds, two blocks, an assist and a steal. I think fouling will be the issue for him as he figures out how to control his massive body, but the signs are there. I just hope he gets a chance and this doesn’t become a thing all season about him playing in Tulsa and us hearing about how he’ll be good in three years. The Thunder need help NOW at that position and if he’s better than someone else, why should he be behind them just because that’s the “process”? Highlight of the game was NBATV’s announcer saying “busket.” Basket and bucket combined. That cracked me up. We — and by “we,” I really mean me — keep saying things like “Lamb can shoot, don’t worry about him missing open looks.” But… he really should be making some of these shots he’s getting. He went 2-12 today and 0-8 from 3, and at least four of those 3s were WIDE open, clean looks (with three airballs). I’ve seen Lamb splash 15 and 20 straight 3s from deep during warmups.  I know he can drop shots on an empty court with no pressure. I’ve seen him torch defenses in the D-League. But he’s got to get that to translate to live NBA action. Because everywhere else — defense, passing, handling — he’s acquitting himself quite well. If he makes 3-of-8 from deep today, he puts together a line of 16 points on 5-12 shooting. That’s a solid game. Just make your shots, J-Lamb. The Thunder’s first quarter ball movement and offensive action was infinitely better than it was against Fener. For example, check out this possession: That was six passes that led to a wide open look for your best shooter. Good sp
about 22 hours ago
(Remember this scuffle between Evan Turner and KD from last season? All the videos on YouTube of it cut off before the next thing where Durant canned a 3 at the buzzer as the whole arena booed him. The one I ripped and uploaded was taken...
(Remember this scuffle between Evan Turner and KD from last season? All the videos on YouTube of it cut off before the next thing where Durant canned a 3 at the buzzer as the whole arena booed him. The one I ripped and uploaded was taken down, probably because it violated YouTube’s obscenity rules.) Preseason game number two for the Thunder, this one at 2 p.m. CT from Manchester, England against the 76ers. A few quick things to watch: 1. Reggie Jackson. He seemed a little hesitant with the ball in his hands against Fener on Saturday, like he was trying a little bit too hard to run the offense rather than just feeling and reacting. Jackson has to find that balance between calling his own number and running the called sets. Because within OKC’s offensive structure, it’s not like he has certain keys from a system that he does to initiate offense. Being a point guard for the Thunder is tough, because you’ve got to run your called play, and if that doesn’t work, it’s on you to figure out what to do next. 2. Steven Adams. He strikes me as the kind of guy that’s going to keep getting better every time he walks out on the floor. He’s got to prove a whole lot if he’s going to even sniff the rotation, but after Summer League and his minutes against Fener, would you really be all that terrified of Adams getting Thabeet’s minutes? Again, we don’t know enough yet, but what does Thabeet do all that much significantly better than Adams right now? And with the investment in Adams, why not try and get him minutes? 3. Kevin Durant. He’s playing live basketball on television. That should be more than enough to inspire you to watch.
1 day ago
The Thunder head to Manchester, England to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in their 2nd preseason game of the season. Click here for full coverage!
The Thunder head to Manchester, England to take on the Philadelphia 76ers in their 2nd preseason game of the season. Click here for full coverage!
1 day ago