The Warriors’ Biggest Rivals? Injuries and Boredom

There are intriguing teams in both conferences, and there should be some classic games, but Golden State is positioned to three-peat.
The Golden State Warriors followed up their second consecutive N.B.A. title — and third in four years — by adding DeMarcus Cousins, the four-time All-Star. It became commonplace to declare that they had ruined the league by removing any suspense to the season. A starting lineup of five All-Stars, cheap nba jerseys from china
two of which are former recipients of the Most Valuable Player Award, was just too much.

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There was palace intrigue, however. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green feuded in public, Cousins was routinely exposed on defense, Klay Thompson had a rough start and Stephen Curry’s shot seemed to fail him before he began wearing contacts on the court — in a scary acknowledgment that he had struggled with his vision for years even as he established himself as the deadliest 3-point shooter in N.B.A. history.

The drama — which many on the team have said is actually less than they dealt with last season — led to long stretches in which the Warriors seemed positively pedestrian. Perhaps most relevant to these playoffs, it led to them feuding with officials, and Durant and Green topping the N.B.A. in technical fouls.

Russell Westbrook grabs NBA’s second 20-20-20 triple-double, joining Wilt Chamberlain in 1968

Russell Westbrook became just the second player in NBA history with 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a game as the Thunder defeated the Lakers 119-103 on Tuesday night.

Westbrook clinched the mark with a rebound cheap nba jerseys from china
in the final minute, drawing a large ovation from the home crowd. He finished with 20 points, 20 rebound and 21 assists.

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Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to accomplish the feat. He had 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists in a game in 1968.

It looked as if Westbrook’s chance at the mark passed just before the decisive rebound, as the ball bounced off his fingertips and away. But at the other end, he grabbed a miss by Lance Stephenson.


NBA playoffs preview: Can anyone stop the Bucks in the East?

The second-seeded Toronto Raptors know that a failed run in the Eastern Conference playoffs could lead to the dismantling of their team, forward Kawhi Leonard and center Marc Gasol among their free agents. The No. 3-seeded team, the Philadelphia 76ers, has major decisions to make about free-agent forwards Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. And the Boston Celtics, the fourth seed, could see their roster overhauled, either cheap nba jerseys
with Kyrie Irving leaving or with a deal for Anthony Davis materializing.

Chaos and uncertainty could be in the future of all of those teams if things don’t go right over the next two months. But the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks? They know their path.

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The owners of the NBA’s best overall record, the Bucks have been the steadiest team this season. The Bucks had exactly one losing streak (they dropped two in a row in early March). It took a combination of the Bucks resting three starters and the Oklahoma City Thunder needing a win in the regular-season finale for one team to beat Milwaukee twice.

It’s the result of the Bucks knowing their identity and being completely at ease with it.

NBA playoffs: Western Conference preview and predictions

48-34 (Home 26-15; Road 22-19)

Season series: Warriors, 3-1.

Key stats: No team made more shots this season (3,612 field goals) or made them at a better rate (49.1%) than the Warriors. The Clippers were the last Western Conference team to beat the Warriors in a series (Round 1, 2014). No players remain from that team.

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Outlook: The Warriors have lost only two first-round games during their four straight trips to the NBA Finals, and an overachieving Clippers team shouldn’t be much of Wholesale nba jerseys
a speed bump. While the Clippers have some toughness and length — things you need to hypothetically slow down the Warriors — the talent gap is just too great. Stephen Curry (27.3 points, 43.7% three-pointers), Kevin Durant (26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists) and Klay Thompson (21.5 points, 40.2% three-pointers) could all be on All-NBA teams. The Clippers don’t have a current or former All-Star on the roster. Lou Williams (20.0 points) will need to have a monster series if the Clippers want to extend their surprise season past four games.

OKC Slumping at the Wrong Time

A late lull in their season may spell disaster for the Thunder
For the first time in months, they sit in outside of the top three in the west. After snapping a four-game skid Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies, they reverted back to the loss column following a 120-131 disappointment Tuesday in Minnesota.

Since the all-star break, Oklahoma City is 2-5– good for 27th in the league. The Thunder are starting to play like a team without an identity and it shows with every missed assignment, bad shot, and thoughtless turnovers that have occurred over the last seven games.
Russell Westbrook has been hyper-aggressive and has increased his shooting efficiencies. The bad news is his field goal attempts have increased to 23.1/game opposed to 19.1/game before the break. You could blame that on Paul George’s three-game absence, but the jump in field goal attempts took place before that.

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In the first two games back from the break, Westbrook shot the rock 59 times making just above 50% of those shots. He also sniped his way to 44% from cheap nba jerseys 
the three-point line on 25 tries. All leading to 42 points per game over those two games.

He had a solid overall shooting night from the field against Denver, but it still ended in a loss. His efficiency subsequently came tumbling down to earth, shooting 36% from the field and 22% from deep in last three games before last night’s contest.

As the leader of a George-less team, Westbrook’s production and efficiency will be paramount to Thunder wins– especially when someone else doesn’t have a great night. The team hasn’t played like they did before the break and surely not up to the standard they set in January.

Over the last six games, OKC’s offense has looked more like it did in the earlier in the season. Their offensive rating, 106.5, is 26th in the league. They’re shooting 42.8% from the field since the all-star break and 32.3% from three. Since George’s injury, things have looked even worse for them, sliding their averages down to 41.4% from the field and 27.9% from three.

The best thing you can say about this team right now is that they haven’t lost their defensive edge until the Wolves game. The last seven games, they’ve dropped to 17th in defensive rating (110.9) and were ranked 12th without PG (103.6). That still leaves them with a net rating of -4.3 since break and -3.9 while PG was out.

George is somehow strengthening his MVP case without stepping on the floor. The team uses him as an anchor offensively and is looking like a shell of itself in this three-game sample size without him. The Thunder head to north to take on the Portland Trail Blazers, who are now currently tied with the Thunder and Rockets for third place. Hopefully, things will improve with George back in the lineup.

The NBA’s Best New Rivalry Is Zaza Pachulia vs. Russell Westbrook

This week, when Kevin Durant’s Golden State Warriors were set to take on Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA fans were excited to get to see one of the league’s most promising and intriguing rivalries play out its next act, and that’s exactly what happened. Only it wasn’t Russ and his old friend-turned-nemesis who dominated headlines after the game. No, it was Russ and “The Gorgin’ Georgian” Zaza Pachulia. I know. I was shocked too, but now I’m just delighted by it.

It all started when Zaza took a cheap shot on Russ and laid him out. (Was it a flop? I mean, maybe!)

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But rather than realizing he went to far, Zaza decided to stand over him like he was the villain in a Rocky movie.
This led Russ to let it be known that this kind of thing Wholesale nba jerseys 
will not stand with him, saying, among other things, that he will “get [Zaza’s] ass back.”

This led Russ to let it be known that this kind of thing will not stand with him, saying, among other things, that he will “get [Zaza’s] ass back.”

But honestly the craziest part of all this, is that it actually makes me disappointed that Zaza’s crazy All-Star vote totals won’t translate to a spot on the team. Who wouldn’t kill to see Russ have to play point guard with Kevin Durant and Zaza on the big stage? He would NEVER pass them the ball and it would be awkward and delightful and the best. I guess we’ll just have to settle for Russ and KD. Boring.

Hood y Nurkic mantienen la racha ganadora de Blazers

Rodney Hood anotó 27 puntos, Jusuf Nurkic sumó 26 unidades y 15 rebotes y los Trail Blazers de Portland doblegaron el domingo 118-108 a los Hornets de Charlotte.

Damian Lillard aportó 23 tantos para que los Trail Blazers sumaran su sexta victoria en los últimos siete partidos.

Portland llegó al encuentro empatado con Oklahoma cheap nba jerseys china
City con la tercera mejor marca de la Conferencia del Oeste. El Thunder recibe a los Grizzlies más tarde.

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Jeremy Lamb terminó con 23 puntos y Kemba Walker añadió 18 tantos y su máximo número de asistencias en la temporada, con 12, para la causa de los Hornets, que por su parte iniciaron el día con un empate con el Magic en el octavo puesto _el último que da pase de playoffs_ de la Conferencia del Este. Los Trail Blazers limitaron a Walker a cinco tiros de campo encestados en 21 intentos.

Fue un choque de ida y vuelta hasta la marca de los seis minutos en el cuarto periodo, cuando los Trail Blazers armaron una racha de 12-2 para separarse. Portland anotó de todos lados, incluyendo un layup en rompimiento de Nurkic, un tiro de 5,5 metros (18 pies) de distancia de Hood y una jugada de tres puntos de Al-Farouq Aminu.

Hood acabó con las posibilidades de una remontada de Charlotte al conectar un largo triple para ampliar la ventaja a 14 puntos con 2:30 minutos restantes.

What we learned from the Suns’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Make it 0-for-3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Phoenix was coming off 20-point win over San Antonio, was feeling good about itself and wanted to get back at the team that has beaten them twice already early in this season.

The Thunder were once again without Russell Westbrook as he missed the game because of personal reasons. The Suns had them on their floor and momentum from the last game.

Forty-eight game minutes later, they fell again to Oklahoma City, cheap oklahoma city thunder jersey
110-100, Saturday night before 16,376 fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

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“I think we were playing in spurts,” Devin Booker said. “We went down and brought it back. They expanded the lead again, we brought it back, again. It’s just about playing with that same consistency. I feel like we’re playing off momentum right now. If we play with consistency, I think we’ll be fine.”
Phoenix (3-12) once again had no answer for Paul George. Scoring 32 points Saturday night, George posted his third straight 30-point game with two coming against the Suns.

Steven Adams took it to Deandre Ayton once again, scoring 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting and grabbing 10 boards. Ayton held his own with 21 and nine, but Adams won the second go around against the rookie.

“It was back and forth, a lot of back and forth,” Ayton said. “We were battling it out, going back and forth, but the best team won. That’s about it.”

Phoenix had cut what as an 18-point, second-half Thunder (3-12) lead to six on a TJ Warren 3-pointer, but Adams answered with five quick points and George nailed his third 3 of the game to give Oklahoma City a 103-91 lead with 2 minutes, 37 seconds left in the fourth.

Game over.

“When it got to six, we kind of closed out, made some plays and got it back up to 10 and it was 10 the last two minutes of the game,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Guys did a good job of closing out the game.”

One on One: Is the Thunder’s defensive effort and strategy improving?

Right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder defense is sitting near the top of the league (2nd in Defensive Rating), in large part because of opponents shooting just 32.2% from three. After the game against the Phoenix Suns, Billy Donovan pinned that improvement on better effort, saying that the team was running around more. See the quote below, per Royce Young:
Today, Dom and Bobby discuss the merits to this argument: Have the improvements been a result of better effort and defensive methods, or have they been due to poor opponents and random variance?

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Dom: your mileage may vary
Some of the improvement we’ve seen so far may indeed be due to effort, but in large part variance seems to be playing a role. First off, they’ve played as of 11/18 three games against Phoenix, one against the Knicks, Wholesale nba jerseys
another against Houston, and another against Washington, all of who are in the bottom 10 in team 3 point percentage. To add to that, in the Houston game the opponent shot 11-42, and in the Charlotte game 11-41, which are heavily weighting the opponent percentage.

Also going against the idea of effort being the main cause of better defense is NBA.com’s tracking of contested shots. You all probably know I’m not really a believer in the contested shots metric, but in this case just to use it as a rough guide, OKC still isn’t in the top 10 in team contested 3-point attempts per game, or total threes contested.

Per PBPstats.com, OKC is also giving up the 5th best opponent shot quality (meaning worse for the defense) but still ranks 8th in opponent effective field goal percentage (which takes into account that 2s and 3s are worth different amounts). Some of the Thunder’s 3-point defense may be due to effort, as they are giving up fewer wide open looks, but a lot of this seems as if it could be statistical noise right now.

Bobby: ‘A’ for effort!
The effort being exerted at recovering to defend the 3-point line has been excellent this season. Per NBA.com, opponents are only getting five uncontested threes per game, meaning that OKC is contesting over 82% of opponent shots. A lot of this can be attributed to improved effort.

The overall age for wings on this team is pretty young, with Terrance Ferguson and Hamidou Diallo, both 20 year olds, playing key parts in that rotation. They still have the energy to run continuously, which sometimes leaves them in bad position, but also results in more contests. Between them, they are contesting 3.5 per game in relatively low minutes. It also helps that the team length and athleticism is high, allowing effective contesting from further away.
As can be seen in the play above, even though the corner was open and the recovery late, the effort was made and the timing of the shot was constrained. Last season, it wasn’t uncommon on busted coverages like this to see the defender stand and watch in defeat, giving the opponent plenty of time to set and take the shot. While the effect may be minimal, it is better to the alternative of a completely open shot.

We will see if the results are maintained for now, but the effort at contesting threes has improved this season, and so far, the results have as well. It is something to keep an eye on as the opponents improve.

Shorthanded OKC Thunder top Suns – Player grades

The OKC Thunder were shorthanded as they faced the Phoenix Suns for the third time this season and collected a much needed victory to move to 10-5.
The Thunder are 10-1 in their last eleven games and have compiled those wins without Russell Westbrook playing in the last six matches.
The OKC Thunder came into this game on a two-game Wholesale jerseys
winning streak. Although just 15 games into the 2018-19 season this was the third team the teams met. The final Suns match occurs December 28 when the Thunder will close out the season series in Phoenix.

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OKC played without star Russell Westbrook and second-year guard Terrance Ferguson both leaving the team to deal with personal matters. Alex Abrines also tapped out with an illness, and of course, Andre Roberson is still sidelined and not expected back until mid-December.

That meant Timote Luwawu-Cabarrot, Hamidou Diallo, and two-way swing-man Deonte Burton needed to step up. For the most part, they all did.

The Thunder handled the Suns in this contest, led by veterans Paul George and Steven Adams.

The story of the game was on the glass. As a team, the OKC Thunder out rebounded the Suns in every area. Specifically, OKC grabbed more offensive, defensive and overall rebounds than the young Suns team.