Rest is a good thing for Thunder center Steven Adams

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder center Steven Adams, who plays like his life depends on it and can use rest whenever it’s available:

A defensive anchor. A steady rebounder. A guy who didn’t care if he ever touched the ball. All kinds of entities have people like Stone Cold. Businesses. Families. Teams. Things just go smoother when he’s around. It’s always a little strange when he’s not.

But I’m also delighted when Adams sits. Because I know he’s resting. Adams is big and physical. He deals out plenty of punishment; some day, make yourself watch an entire game without following the ball. Just keep your eyes peeled to Adams and watch how many shoves and bumps and collisions he causes. But for every one of those skirmishes, there’s punishment coming back his way. Adams hits the deck a lot, in part because he does play hard and he doesn’t give up on plays, and it doesn’t take too far into the season before you can see him rising gingerly from the hardwood.

Worries me greatly. Adams hasn’t missed much time – like I said, 16 games total over the last four years and just 31 in his entire seven-season career. But Adams always looks injured. Wrapped up. Worn out. Then like Samson tied to the pillars, his feats of strength break through.

Adams always appears to need about two weeks off, though he never gets it.

On the last Thunder game before league play was put on hold

Here’s the Oklahoman editorializing on the last game the OKC Thunder played before league play was put on hold, a Sunday, March 8 105-104 win against the Celtics in Boston, with comments from point guard Chris Paul:

After the 105-104 win, Paul told Thunder sideline reporter Nick Gallo that he hadn’t gotten that excited in a long time. Paul also talked about how great a win it was, how much fun the team was having, how together everyone was.

I knew that game was in the final days before the coronavirus shut down the NBA, then all of sports in this country, but since the past few weeks feel like a few years, I couldn’t remember if the Thunder played any more games after that game in Boston.

I went to check my calendar.

(Yes, I’m old — I still keep a written calendar in a day planner.)

That game in Boston was Sunday, March 8. The Thunder then had two days off before a home game Wednesday, March 11 against the Jazz.

You know what happened there.

So, that game at Boston, that masterful win against the Celtics was the last time the Thunder played.

That win was OKC’s 8th in their last 10 games. It was their third win in a row, for a 40-24 record, tying them with the Rockets for the 5th best winning percentage in the Western conference.

Thunder players test negative for coronavirus

The Oklahoma City Thunder consulted with infectious disease experts for a recommendation on the players and staff who needed COVID-19 testing based on their exposure at the game on March 11. All results have come back negative — which, as you hopefully know, is a good thing. If you get tested for something bad, coming up “negative” for the test means you don’t have that bad thing.

The Thunder say they will continue to work in coordination with team physicians, public health officials and infectious disease experts, while focusing on the health and safety of everyone in their community.

The team also understandably made sure to point out that they recognize “the stress on the state of Oklahoma’s medical system,” and that they “did not use state resources and chose an alternative path for testing of its personnel.”

NBA Players of the Week are Kyle Lowry and Dennis Schroder

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Dec. 16-22. Lowry earns the honor for the sixth time in his career and fifth time with the Raptors.

Lowry averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 39.6 minutes while helping the Raptors to a perfect 4-0 record last week. He shot .448 (30-for-67) from the field, .424 (14-for-33) from three-point range and .774 (24-for-31) at the free throw line.

Lowry began the week by recording the first of three double-doubles (20 points, 11 assist) during a 133-113 victory Dec. 16 vs. Cleveland. He then earned his franchise-best 13th career triple-double Dec. 18 at Detroit (20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds). Lowry finished the week by leading the Raptors in a franchise-record 30-point comeback Dec. 22 vs. Dallas. He scored a game-high 32 points, including 20 points in the fourth quarter rally that resulted in a 110-107 victory.

And on the West side of things, Thunder guard Dennis Schroder has been named Western Conference Player of the Week.

From the Oklahoman, “He averaged 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and six assists, lifting the Thunder to a 4-0 record last week. Schroder, an early Sixth Man of the Year candidate, beat out a field of starters to claim the honor.”

Devin Booker returns, but Suns fall to Thunder

The Suns got their star back, but fell to a fellow mid-level Western conference squad. Here’s Arizona Sports reporting:

The Phoenix Suns got Devin Booker back on Friday after his three-game absence due to a right forearm contusion.

That was great news, even better considering the Suns are in the middle of a four-game losing streak and received a blow on Tuesday when Deandre Ayton sprained his ankle in his first game back from a 25-game suspension.

A strong bounce-back game from Booker could represent the team’s own.

Instead, Phoenix’s defensive shortcomings came back to bite them once again and Oklahoma City beat them 126-108.

The Thunder are now 14-14, the Suns 11-17.

Phoenix was a stronger team earlier in the season, but have fallen back down to Earth — yet they should remain competitive. It’ll be interesting to see how they do in the coming weeks now that Deandre Ayton, coming off a 25-game suspension that has mostly erased his season so far, is back in the mix.

Rajon Rondo fined by NBA for incidents in Lakers vs Thunder game

The NBA on Saturday announced that they have fined Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo $35,000 for the following reasons:

– Making unsportsmanlike physical contact with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder

– Verbal abuse of a game official

– Failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection.

Rondo received a Flagrant Foul 2 and was ejected, early 4th quarter this past Thursday, on the road in OKC.

A video clip of the incident is here:

The Lakers are off to a fantastic start this season. Through yesteday’s games, they have a league-best 13-2 record and are currently riding a six-game winning streak.

Rondo has played in just five games this season, entirely off the bench as a reserve, averaging 7.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.6 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game.


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No Paul George for Thunder tonight vs Suns

At 9 p.m. tonight, the OKC Thunder face the Suns in Phoenix. But they’ll be doing so without not just one of their best players, but one of the league’s best players so far this season. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

For the first time this season, the Thunder will be without Paul George.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan announced Friday morning that George would miss tonight’s game against the Suns with a right quad contusion. Donovan was uncertain of when George sustained the injury, but said it was an ailment George has been playing with for some time.

George is having a fantastic season, and was especially excellent in December games.

The Suns have one of the league’s worst records, but Devin Booker recently returned from injury and during almost all games played in his return the team has looked far better. Phoenix has won five of their last seven games.

Thunder waive two-way player Tyler Davis

The Oklahoma City Thunder has waived two-way player Tyler Davis today.

Davis, a 6-foot-10, 266-pound center born in Plano, Texas and played college basketball at Texas A&M, played just one minute in one game for the Thunder this season. As a two-way player he naturally spent most of his time with the Oklahoma City Blue in the G League, where in 15 games (eight starts) he averaged 17.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.87 blocks in 26.7 minutes per game.

The Thunder are 21-12 this season, which through yesterday’s games is the third best record in a very tight Western conference. The team is off tonight, but tomorrow heads to Phoenix to play a Suns team that lately is playing much better basketball than they were earlier in the season.

Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder suspended one game each

Oklahoma City Thunder guards Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder have each been suspended one game without pay for leaving the bench area during an altercation and participating in the altercation which spilled over into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

As part of the same incident, Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez has been fined $25,000 for escalating the altercation, Thunder forward Jerami Grant has been fined $20,000 for escalating the altercation, and Bulls guard Kris Dunn has been fined $15,000 for instigating the altercation by shoving Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

The incident, for which Dunn, Westbrook, Grant and Lopez each received technical fouls, occurred with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s 121-96 victory over Chicago on Dec. 17 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Felton and Schroder will serve their suspensions tonight when the Thunder visits the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center.

On the Thunder rotation

The 17-9 Thunder are having a very good season, but like all teams, precise rotation patterns can always use an adjustment. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Out of a timeout midway through the third quarter Wednesday, Thunder coach Billy Donovan finally went to Patrick Patterson at power forward. It was telling that he didn’t go to him earlier.

Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Jerami Grant had picked up his fifth foul, but Donovan instead went to Dennis Schroder, opting to play small by sliding Paul George to power forward. Nothing the Thunder was doing was working against the Pelicans’ front line in a 118-114 loss, so why not go the opposite way?

“It impacted us but it really didn’t make a difference up front who we had out there,” Donovan said of Grant’s foul trouble.

“Jerami is an important player and certainly I’d like to have him out there, but I thought their frontcourt impacted the game around the basket regardless of who we had out there.”

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