Player News - Thunder

Date: Team: Pos:

Paul George got hot in the third quarter on Wednesday, finishing a 107-99 victory with 34 points, eight boards, two assists, two steals, two 3-pointers and one block.

George made 12-of-26 field goals and 8-of-10 free throws in 45 minutes, and his ability to manufacture offense was critical to the Thunder comeback. OKC has assisted only 44.2% of their made field goal attempts, easily the lowest rate among playoff teams -- for perspective, the 76ers lead everyone with a 67.9% assist rate, and five teams are above 60.0%. That rate actually fell for OKC tonight, at just 33.3%, but it paid off thanks to the individual brilliance of PG-13 and Russell Westbrook. George has the 13th-highest usage in the postseason and that's not going to change in a must-win situation on Friday.
Apr 26 - 12:31 AM

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder to the third-largest comeback in playoff history on Wednesday, finishing an incredible Game 5 performance with 45 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and five 3-pointers.

Westbrook scored 20 points in the third quarter, as the Thunder used a 22-3 burst to erase a 25-point deficit in just eight minutes of action. It hasn't always been a pretty series for Westbrook, with Utah's defense limiting him to 29-of-79 shooting (36.7%) through four games, but he was unstoppable after halftime tonight. He buried 3-pointers and a sequence of mid-range jumpers, rather than challenging Rudy Gobert on penetration, and we'll be closely watching that dynamic in Utah on Friday. Either way, we're expecting some fireworks.
Apr 26 - 12:30 AM

Carmelo Anthony was whisper-quiet on Wednesday with seven points (2-of-6 FGs, 3-of-4 FTs), five rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes of action.

Melo has a $27.0 million player option for 2018-19 and the Thunder may be hoping he opts for unrestricted free agency -- his regular-season stats were the worst since his rookie season in Denver. It will be interesting to see if he can reclaim 32+ minutes in another must-win game at Utah on Friday -- Melo was on the bench for most of OKC's game-changing run in the third quarter, and his absence was conspicuous in light of his struggles in Games 1-4. Meanwhile, Jerami Grant was +13 in 23 minutes tonight and continues to make a case for more playing time.
Apr 26 - 12:27 AM

Russell Westbrook was fined $10,000 for his altercation with Rudy Gobert in Game 4.

He was also assessed a post-game technical, but the big takeaway is that he's no longer in danger of a suspension. Westbrook will be ready to roll for a must-win Game 5 in OKC.
Apr 24 - 7:59 PM

The NBA is reportedly reviewing Russell Westbrook's Game 4 incident, and deliberating whether or not a suspension is warrented for Game 5.

Westbrook was waiting to check in the game at the scorer's table during the fourth quarter of the Game 4 loss, but got himself involved in an altercation between Raymond Felton and Rudy Gobert after a foul, stepping onto the court and slapping away Gobert's hand. Overall, this was a very minor incident, and while Westbrook did technically leave the bench area, it would be absolutely shocking to see commissioner Adam Silver dish out a suspension for a crucial Game 5 in OKC. Stay tuned.
Apr 24 - 5:57 PM

Russell Westbrook hit just 7-of-18 shots and missed all three of his 3-pointers for 23 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five turnovers in Monday's 113-96 Game 4 loss to the Jazz, putting the Thunder in a 3-1 hole in the series.

Westbrook was basically looking for a fight the entire game and got into serious foul trouble early, picking up his fourth foul before halftime. He managed to make it through the entire game without being ejected or fouling out, but he was trying to pick a fight with anyone in a Jazz uniform who crossed his path. Westbrook was all about close-guarding Ricky Rubio in the first half, but it really only messed up the Thunder's defensive rotations and got Westy into foul trouble. The Thunder should be able to regroup and put up a better fight in Game 5 in OKC, but the Jazz are clearly in control of this series with their defensive presence, along with their physicality.
Apr 24 - 1:50 AM

Paul George hit 9-of-21 shots, 2-of-9 3-pointers and 12-of-12 free throws for 32 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 40 minutes of Monday's 113-96 Game 4 loss to the Jazz, as the Thunder fell into a 3-1 hole in the series.

George beefed with Joe Ingles all night and turned the ball over six times. The Thunder won the first quarter 30-24, but were dominated for the rest of the game, and unless Carmelo Anthony steps up to help George and Russell Westbrook, or they figure out how to defend the Jazz as well as they're being defended, the Thunder are going fishing soon. Game 5 is in OKC on Wednesday.
Apr 24 - 1:45 AM

Russell Westbrook had a brutal showing against the Jazz on Saturday during a 115-102 loss in Game 3, making 5-of-17 from the field for 14 points with 11 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, one 3-pointer and eight turnovers.

Rudy Gobert's rim protection neutralized Westbrook's driving in a big way, and Westbrook was not at his best against Ricky Rubio or on defensive rotations -- the whole team, basically. Westbrook has struggled down the stretch for two games straight, which is a problem for a guy that sucks up so much usage. OKC is in trouble.
Apr 22 - 12:44 AM

Steven Adams scored eight points with two rebounds and one block in 26 minutes against the Jazz on Saturday.

Foul trouble on Adams was huge as the Jazz did whatever they wanted on the offensive side while he was on the bench. Adams is vastly underrated for this team and you can bet the Jazz will be attacking him to get him in foul trouble after the success they had on him during this easy win.
Apr 22 - 12:43 AM

Paul George scored 23 points with two rebounds, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes against the Jazz during a Game 3 loss on Saturday.

He had a tough start and was the only productive high-volume offensive player. Perhaps the PG-related highlight from this game is the Utah crowd chanting "push-off P" with some fouls called against him. George also was hardly the defensive presence that he's been in his career as OKC was run out of the building late.
Apr 22 - 12:42 AM

Paul George (hip) had 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in 43 minutes vs. the Jazz on Wednesday, going 6-of-21 from the field and 4-of-12 from downtown.

George aggravated a hip/pelvis injury during Game 1 but his status was never in doubt. He was averaging 38.0 points on red-hot shooting in his previous two games, including the regular-season finale, but just couldn't find the range tonight in a tough 102-95 home loss. The Thunder will try to reclaim the series lead in Utah on Saturday.
Apr 18 - 10:55 PM

Russell Westbrook posted 19 points, 13 assists, nine rebounds, and four steals in 37 minutes during OKC's Game 2 loss on Wednesday.

Westbrook has averaged a triple-double for two consecutive seasons, so we're numb to his gaudy stat lines -- even in a postseason game vs. an elite defense. He shot 7-of-19 from the field tonight but was 3-of-4 at the line with a pair of 3-pointers, and did enough to hit value in most DFS leagues despite his sky-high price.
Apr 18 - 10:54 PM

Steven Adams (hand) fouled out of Game 2 with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in just 22 minutes.

Adams began the game with a wrap around his right wrist and he was icing his arm throughout the game, presumably stemming from a play late in Game 1 when he hit his hand on the rim during a dunk. The injury was obviously bothering him, but coach Billy Donovan again dismissed any concerns and said he'll be fine for Game 3. We'll keep a close eye on his status but it would be shocking if he missed any time.
Apr 18 - 10:53 PM

Paul George (hip) will start Wednesday's game, as expected.

George was technically a game-time decision but his status was never truly in doubt. He dropped 36 points in Game 1 and should be a focal point of Utah's defensive plans tonight.
Apr 18 - 7:20 PM

Paul George (hip) is expected to play against the Jazz in Game 2 on Wednesday.

No surprise here and he's been expected to play all day. George was limited in shootaround, but there's no need to worry too much. Playoff P himself said he expects the Jazz to adjust to him after his big 36-point Game 1.
Apr 18 - 6:29 PM


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