The Thunder and the Warriors played an exciting and competitive game on Friday that required an overtime period for the contest to be decided.
The extra session wasn’t pretty overall, with plenty of possessions ending with a poor shot selection and with both teams combining to shoot just 5-of-17 over the game’s final five minutes.
But the final possession was a thing of beauty for the Thunder, as Russell Westbrook finished off a wild sequence with a three-pointer from the corner to give his team the hard-fought 113-112 victory.
The final play ended like this: Serge Ibaka missed a jumper from about 15 feet out, Westbrook got a hand on the rebound, Thabo Sefolosha saved the ball from going out of bounds, where it ended up back in Westbrook’s hands near the three-point line.
Knowing the limited time remaining, Westbrook spun, fired and drained the three with only a tenth of a second remaining on the clock. Harrison Barnes was right there in position to contest the shot, but for some reason it didn’t appear to occur to him that Westbrook would be shooting in that situation, so his eventual reaction was far too late to bother shot.
Westbrook finished with a game-high 34 points to go along with seven assists and five steals, and Stephen Curry finished with 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to pace the Warriors.
This was a fun game between two athletic teams that can get up and down the floor and score at a high level. A playoff series between them would be a dream, but for now we’ll simply savor this one game as a whole, and all of the great plays that led up to Westbrook’s final shot.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.
After five years in Washington, French forward Kevin Seraphin signed a one-year deal in New York last offseason. He played 48 games for the Knicks, averaging 3.9 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11 minutes per game and wasn’t a big part of their rotation. Now, as a free agent, he’s looking for a new NBA home, and Yann Ohnona of L’Equipe reports that he’s worked out for the Indiana Pacers and has interest from the Spanish club FC Barcelona.
The translation of that tweet reads:
Kévin Seraphin, always courted by Barcelona, is in the United States for a trial with the Pacers of Indiana
With Barcelona in pursuit, Seraphin appears to have a solid fallback option if he can’t land a spot on an NBA team. He can be useful as a fourth or fifth big, it’s just a matter of a team having room.