Getty

Russell Westbrook grabs another triple-double as Thunder top Raptors

2 Comments

TORONTO (AP) Russell Westbrook had 24 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds in three quarters for his 34th triple-double of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder registered their fourth consecutive win with a 123-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night.

The league’s leading scorer moved closer to the NBA’s single-season record for triple-doubles, 41 set by Oscar Robertson in the 1961-62 season.

Victor Oladipo added 23 points as the Thunder split the season series with the Raptors, the fourth straight year the teams have done so.

DeMar DeRozan had 22 points for the Raptors, while Serge Ibaka had 10 points against his former team.

The Thunder never trailed, and pushed their lead to a game-high 32 with 5:07 to play in the fourth quarter as Toronto emptied its bench. Though the Raptors closed the gap to 19 with 1:21 to go, Oklahoma City had little trouble in closing out the game from there.

After taking the lead on Steven Adams‘ hook shot 1:09 in, the Thunder surged with 7:17 to play in the first, using a 12-2 run to take a 29-24 lead after 12 minutes.

Having scored just two points in the first quarter, Westbrook had 10 in the second as Oklahoma City increased its edge to 14. DeRozan then had the final four points of the quarter to reduce the deficit to 58-48 at the half.

DeRozan picked up where he left off after the intermission, registering 14 points in the third quarter. However, the Thunder responded through Westbrook and Oladipo, who had 12 and 11 points respectively, as Oklahoma City pushed its advantage to a 97-70 entering the final quarter.

Westbrook secured his triple-double with his 10th rebound with 3:56 to play in the third, and was removed with 1:59 to go, and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.

TIP-INS

Thunder: The victory tied the Thunder’s season high by going 10 games over .500. … Oklahoma City improved to 28-6 this season when Westbrook registers a triple-double, and 61-10 during his career. … Westbrook’s 16 assists beat the Raptors’ team total of 15. … All five of Oklahoma City’s starters registered double-digit points.

Raptors: G Kyle Lowry (right wrist) missed his 11th straight game since the All-Star break, with the team going 6-5 without him during that stretch. … F DeMarre Carroll returned after missing the past two games with a sprained left ankle.

KYLE ON COURSE

Lowry continued his recovery from right wrist surgery this week, returning to New York City for what coach Dwane Casey termed a “regular” two-week check-up.

“It’s on schedule, on time, but still no timetable or anything like that,” he said, “but everything checked out and it’s where it should be right now.”

BILLY’S BLISS

Heading off any rumors, Thunder coach Billy Donovan – a two-time NCAA champion with Florida – said that despite the opening at Indiana University following Thursday’s firing of Tom Crean, he’s more than happy in Oklahoma City.

“I feel bad (for Crean), but I am totally happy here, I love it here,” he said. “I love the guys I work with every day, I love our staff, the organization. So as far as I’m concerned, my commitment is totally here doing the best job I can while I’m here.”

UP NEXT

Thunder: Host Sacramento on Saturday, aiming to improve on their 14-1 record at home against the Kings during the franchise’s time in Oklahoma City.

Raptors: At Detroit on Friday for the first of two visits to the Palace of Auburn Hills this season.

Andrew Wiggins answers Carmelo with game-winning 3-pointer (VIDEO)

AP
3 Comments

Sunday’s matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves was perhaps a preview of a Western Conference playoff series. We should certainly hope so given the late-game heroics we saw this weekend courtesy of Karl-Anthony Towns, Carmelo Anthony, and Andrew Wiggins.

The two teams played a razor thin matchup in the fourth quarter, with Towns hitting a floating shot with just nine seconds left to take the lead. OKC took the torch just seconds later when Carmelo hit a 3-pointer with less than five seconds to play from the left wing.

That left the Timberwolves down by one point with no timeouts to spare.

After Minnesota inbounded to the ball, Wiggins drove down the left sideline and toward the middle of the floor. With the clock running out, Wiggins pulled up from nearly 30 feet out and drained 3-pointer off the backboard as time expired.

Here’s what the two threes looked like back to back.

Via Twitter:

Today was absolutely mental in the NBA. Between the drama that’s happening with the Phoenix Suns and this Western Conference shootout, the regular season just keeps amping it up each and every day.

Clippers say Milos Teodosic out indefinitely with plantar fascia injury

2 Comments

The LA Clippers needed everything to go right for them injury-wise to be able to survive losing Chris Paul the same year many teams in the Western Conference got much stronger. Sunday’s news that rookie Milos Teodosic is out indefinitely with a left plantar fascia injury won’t help the confidence of fans in southern California.

Teodosic suffered the injury during a game against the Phoenix Suns earlier in the week. Teodosic could be seen pulling up lame toward the near corner on a seemingly innocuous play, which you can watch above.

Here is the release from the team on Teodosic’s injury..

Via Twitter:

Teodosic was expected to be a boost for the Clippers’ offense, who lost Paul over the offseason to the Houston Rockets. Teodosic is a 30-year-old rookie whose passing acumen was sure to be a highlight reel staple over the course of the season.

Plantar fascia injuries can be tough for players to come back from, although the severity of the injury can vary greatly. In the past, players like Damian Lillard and Al Jefferson have made relatively speedy recoveries or have been able to play through the injury itself.

However, a plantar fascia issue can be a tough one and is often difficult to get to recover given the inherent stress level of the area and because soft tissue injuries can be pesky. Obviously, a word like “indefinitely” is pretty dang scary.

Meanwhile, the Suns had a few issues of their own on Sunday. They fired head coach Earl Watson and point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted out that he no longer wanted to be “here”. The former Clippers point guard has already had lobbyists from LA come calling. Big man DeAndre Jordan already tweeted that he wanted Bledsoe to “come back home”.

Someone has to trade for Bledsoe. Might as well be the Clippers.

Report: Suns fire Earl Watson within an hour of Eric Bledsoe’s tweet

AP
11 Comments

Things are just getting weirder in Arizona.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Earl Watson. This comes in less than an hour after Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted out that he no longer wanted to be “here”. The assumption is that the “here” meant with the Suns organization, although Bledsoe nor the team have clarified.

Phoenix was always slated to be a bad team but they have been an absolute mess to start the season. Just three games in and they have yet to win a contest. They have lost by a combined 92 points in those games during some hilariously bad efforts. While Watson’s firing is sudden, it’s not entirely surprising.

Via ESPN:

Meanwhile, it’s not clear what the Suns will do from here both with Bledsoe and in filling the head coach spot on the bench.

Teams like the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers have struggled when players have requested a trade publicly. Much of their leverage is lost and it could be harder to find a usable return for Bledsoe. A friend of LeBron James, Bledsoe has been rumored in trades from Phoenix to places like Cleveland for years. Now, it will be curious to see if the Suns will need to move him and what they can get for Bledsoe once a deal is done. Any assets will be a vital to their rebuilding process.

In terms of coaching, Phoenix has both Ty Corbin and Jay Triano on the bench, both of which who have been head coaches in the NBA before. It appears Triano will be stepping into the interim role, but that still leaves the question of what Phoenix should do from here on out. A directionless team in the middle of a rebuild with less-than-stellar ownership is a recipe for continued failure.

Phoenix has been a poorly-run organization for some time, particularly when it comes to expenses. Phoenix owner Robert Sarver is notoriously cheap, even going so far as selling draft picks outright. Phoenix exchanged players like Marcin Gortat, Rudy Fernandez, and Rajon Rondo for pennies on the dollar.

They are already the worst team in the NBA, one of their star players wants out, and now they no longer have a head coach. If you are a basketball fan in Phoenix, things have to be tough for you right now.

Suns PG Eric Bledsoe tweets “I don’t want to be here”

Getty
6 Comments

The Phoenix Suns were always going to be a bad team, but I think we were all surprised when they started off the season with a historical loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Now, it seems things are getting worse.

On Sunday, Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe sent out a message on Twitter that seemed to insinuate that he no longer wanted to be a part of the organization in Phoenix.

That tweet set the NBA sphere on fire during a relatively sleepy afternoon. Ramifications of players being open with their requests to move teams has not always played out well for the organizations. Think about the decreased leverage for the Knicks and Pacers when it came to Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

Via Twitter:

It would be a major bummer for fans in Arizona if Bledsoe does indeed want out of Phoenix. The team has played all of three games, and after years of trade speculation around Bledsoe so it would be a huge blow to give him up to suitors for pennies on the dollar.

As of publication on Sunday afternoon we have yet to confirm that this is the intent of Bledsoe’s tweet, but no doubt we will hear more about it as the day goes on.