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On the OKC Thunder offense

The OKC Thunder are 33-13 this season and getting 26.6 ppg from Kevin Durant, 23.9 ppg from Russell Westbrook, 13.2 ppg from Serge Ibaka, and 11.6 ppg from Enes Kanter. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on what drives the Thunder offense:

In general, the Thunder offense seems to be moving a bit more fluidly this season. OKC’s assists are up and its point distribution is more spread.

But despite Billy Donovan’s tweaks, the engine of the Thunder’s offense is still its rare individual talent. Nearly everything is predicated off Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook making something happen, often in isolation.

Per NBA.com/stats, the Thunder ranks dead last in the league 263.3 passes per game, more than 10 fewer than the next team (the Detroit Pistons). But despite that, OKC’s offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) is second in the league at 109.2, right behind the Warriors (112.7) and ahead of the Spurs (108.2). The Warriors average 325.2 passes per game, fifth most in the NBA. The Spurs average 339.0, third most.

Thunder at Nets game start time moved to 7:30pm ET

Like much of the Eastern United States, New York City is covered with a ton of snow. So today’s area game is being moved to a later start time.

The NBA announced that the Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game at Barclays Center scheduled for 3:30 pm ET today has been delayed to 7:30 pm ET “due to the impact of severe weather conditions in the New York area.”

Yes, there’s bigtime playoff football on today. But the chance to see Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and friends unleash their basketball magic in person is a great draw. We’ll be at the game.

Look, people. Pregame NBA dance routines from players are important. They set the tone. Bad dance routine? Expect a loss. That’s just the way it is.

OK, maybe not quite. Perhaps we’re just being silly. Still, pregame dance routines are fun, so we support them and any coverage they receive.

Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Cameron Payne says there’s a simple name for it.

“Swagdaddies,” he says.

Hyphen?

“No hyphen. One word. Swagdaddies.” With an emphasis on swag.

Payne has used that word to describe other things, like a ridiculous Euro step, but in this case is talking about his now moderately infamous pregame dance routine — if you want to call it that — with Russell Westbrook. It goes like this: Actually, it doesn’t go like anything. You’ve just sort of got to see it. And then watch the next game’s routine, because no two are the same.

“Every game is something new,” Westbrook said.

john wall

Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

Wall averaged 22.6 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals to lead the Wizards to an 8-8 record, despite the absence of several key players to injury. He is the first player to average at least 22.0 points, 11.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals in a month since Chris Paul in April 2009. Wall scored 20 or more points 11 times, his career high for a month, and recorded 10 games with at least 20 points and 10 assists, the most in team history for a month. The guard also became the first player to post three straight games with at least 26 points, 12 assists and five rebounds since Dwyane Wade in November 2006. Wall shot 46.0 percent from the field and 83.6 percent from the free throw line.

kevin durant

Durant (24.9 ppg) and Westbrook (23.8 ppg), co-winners in the West, ranked sixth and seventh in the NBA in scoring, respectively, as the Thunder went 12-3 in December. Durant added 7.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists while shooting 50.8 percent from the field. He reached the 20-point mark in all 15 games and shot 87.3 percent from the free throw line. Westbrook led the league in steals (2.73 ppg) and contributed 8.9 assists (fourth in the West) and 5.9 rebounds. He had three 30-point games, handed out at least 10 assists seven times and posted his third triple-double of the season.

russell westbrook

Other nominees for NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the Los Angeles Clippers’ J.J. Redick, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Portland’s CJ McCollum and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on a young bruising Thunder forward whose playing time is coming by way of the D-League:

Mitch McGary spending serious time in D-League

On Tuesday, the 6-foot-10, 260-pound McGary posted his second-consecutive double-double for the D-League Oklahoma City Blue with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes in a win over the Idaho Stampede.

The 2014 Thunder first-rounder hasn’t appeared in a game for the Thunder since Nov. 23 and hasn’t been on the Thunder’s active roster for a game since Nov. 27. McGary, however, is getting consistent minutes for the Blue he wasn’t seeing behind the Thunder’s frontcourt logjam of Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Nick Collison.

In 11 games with the Blue, McGary is averaging 14.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists in 26.1 minutes per game.

Russell Westbrook is dominant on the basketball court, and has made a huge move off of it, as reported by the Oklahoman:

Russell Westbrook makes big donation to UCLA

How does “Russell Westbrook Court” sound?

On Monday, UCLA announced that Westbrook has a made a “significant financial contribution” to its Mo Ostin Basketball Center project — the largest donation by a former basketball student-athlete in school history.

For his contribution, the university will honor Westbrook, who played two seasons at UCLA, by naming the new men’s basketball practice floor “Russell Westbrook Court.”

“When I heard that I was a little surprised,” Westbrook said Monday via conference call. “I can’t wait until it is all said and done to kind of go in there and shoot and see the court and see my name. It is going to be a great thing to see.”

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 13.

DeRozan led the Raptors to a 4-0 week, averaging 24.0 points (third in the conference), 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 91.9 percent from the free throw line. DeRozan matched his career record, scoring 25-or-more points in three consecutive games, and led Toronto with a game-high 28 points against San Antonio on Dec. 9.

Durant led Oklahoma City to a 4-0 record behind averages of 27.3 points (third in the league), 8.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists (ninth in conference), and 1.8 steals. He shot 59.7 percent from the floor (fourth in the conference) while scoring 30 or more points in two games and was 26-of-27 (96.3 percent) from the foul line. Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season when he scored 25 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Atlanta on Dec. 10. The next night, he scored 21 points, including the Thunder’s final 11, in a 94-90 road win over Utah.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Chicago’s Pau Gasol, Cleveland’s LeBron James, L.A. Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

This Russell Westbrook buzzer-beating inbounds play at the end of the second quarter Sunday against the Utah Jazz was absolutely awesome. For the game, which the Thunder won in overtime, Westbrook shot just 9-of-25 but finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals.

Watch the video. Simply amazing.

Thunder assign Josh Huestis to D-League

The Oklahoma City Thunder has assigned forward Josh Huestis to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Huestis has appeared in seven games (all starts) for the Blue this season, averaging 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.57 blocks in 32.7 minutes per game.

He is expected to be in uniform tonight when the Blue hosts the Santa Cruz Warriors at the Cox Convention Center at 7 p.m.

reggie jackson

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson and the Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 30 through Sunday, Dec. 6.

Jackson led the Pistons to a 4-0 week behind averages of 27.0 points (fourth in the conference), 8.8 assists (second in the conference), 3.0 rebounds and 1.75 steals. Jackson shot 56.9 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from three-point range and 89.3 percent from the foul line. He scored 20 or more points in each contest, and eclipsed the 30-point plateau twice. During a 127-122 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 2, Jackson scored 34 points and dished out a season-high 16 assists.

stephen curry

Curry led the Warriors to a 4-0 week, with all wins coming on the road, behind a league-best 34.5 points. Curry, who also averaged 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds, scored 25 or more points in each contest, and twice reached the 40-point plateau. On Dec. 5, Curry connected on 9-of-15 three-point field goals en route to a game-high 44 points as the Warriors topped the Toronto Raptors 112-109.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Al Horford, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Orlando’s Victor Oladipo.

paul george

The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

George led the Pacers to a 3-0 week behind an Eastern Conference-leading 37.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 24, George tallied 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, during a 123-106 win over the Washington Wizards.

kevin durant

Durant led the Thunder to a 3-0 week behind averages of 30.3 points (second in the Western Conference), 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocks (fourth in the Western Conference). He shot 58.5 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from three-point range and 94.4 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 27, Durant recorded 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks during a 103-87 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the OKC Thunder schedule, which has kept things moving, to say the least:

Unusual early-season schedule for Thunder

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

That’s how it’s been so far for the Thunder this season — a strange scheduling quirk that hasn’t sent OKC on a multiple-game road trip through the first month.

This week, that finally changes, with the Thunder heading southeast for a Monday night game in Atlanta and a Thursday night game in Miami. OKC, surprisingly, doesn’t have a three-plus game road trip until early January.

The OKC Thunder are 5-3 this season, but are currently without the services of Kevin Durant, who through eight games is averaging 28.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 3.0 apg. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting the latest:

Thunder coach says Kevin Durant injury is not serious

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Thursday that Kevin Durant’s injury is “nothing too serious” and that Durant hasn’t been frustrated by his latest injury setback.

On a day when Durant was not made available to the media, Donovan was asked about Durant’s mood since straining his hamstring against the Washington Wizards this week. Durant was third in the league in scoring (28.1 points per game) before the strain, which will keep him sidelined at least 7-10 days.

Kevin Durant out with hamstring injury

Kevin Durant out with hamstring injury

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) today that confirmed he has a strained left hamstring that he sustained during the second quarter of last night’s 125-101 victory at Washington, the team announced today. Durant will be re-evaluated in 7-10 days at which time a further update will be provided.

This season, Durant is averaging 28.1 points (fourth in NBA), 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.25 blocks and 34.7 minutes in eight games (all starts).

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forward Michael Cobbins and guard Mustapha Farrakhan, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 15.

The Oklahoma City Thunder exercised its fourth-year options on center Steven Adams and guard Andre Roberson in addition to its third-year option on forward Mitch McGary, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

In two seasons with the Thunder, Adams has appeared in 151 games (87 starts) and averaged 5.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game. This past year, Adams registered 10 double-doubles and scored in double-figures on 22 occasions. Adams was named to the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star Weekend in each of his first two seasons.

Over two seasons with Oklahoma City, Roberson has seen action in 107 games (81 starts) while compiling averages of 2.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals in 15.7 minutes per game. With Roberson in the starting line-up, the Thunder has gone 53-28 (.654) during the past two seasons.

During the 2014-15 season, McGary appeared in 32 games (two starts) and posted averages of 6.3 points and 5.2 rebound in 15.2 minutes per game. After registering back-to-back double-doubles in early February, McGary became the first Thunder rookie to accomplish such a feat since Russell Westbrook posted consecutive double-doubles during the 2008-09 season.

Thunder sign Michael Cobbins and Mustapha Farrakhan

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed forward Michael Cobbins and guard Mustapha Farrakhan, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

We will assume the deals are non-guaranteed.

Cobbins (6-8, 230), joins the Thunder after a collegiate career at Oklahoma State where he appeared in 105 games and averaged 5.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game. A two-time member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, Cobbins ranked second in the conference in blocks per game (1.83) during his senior season.

Farrakhan (6-4, 175), spent the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons in the NBA D-League, averaging 8.0 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 18.3 minutes in 70 games with four teams. The University of Virginia product most recently played overseas with Melbourne United in Australia in 2013-14, recording averages of 10.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 20.8 minutes.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 17.

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived guards Michael Qualls, Julyan Stone and Dez Wells along with forward Talib Zanna, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Stone appeared in one preseason game with the Thunder and recorded one rebound while logging four minutes of action.

Wells saw action in one preseason game and tallied one point and one steal in five minutes of play.

Zanna played in four preseason games for Oklahoma City and averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 5.9 minutes.

Qualls did not make a preseason appearance for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City’s roster now stands at 15.

Kevin Durant looks healthy in preseason

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder star forward Kevin Durant, who is coming off major injury and fortunately looks like himself again so far:

Kevin Durant looks healthy in preseason

The first dunk was uncontested, the kind he’s done in practice gyms for weeks. During the third quarter of his first game inside an OKC arena in more than seven months, Kevin Durant jumped a passing lane, sped by a retreating defender and dropped in a dunk with the type of ease that comes when you’re 6-foot-11 with an even longer wingspan.

But the second jam was much more powerful and encouraging.

Two possessions later, Durant shook a defender with a lefty in and out dribble, darted into the paint and, after spotting the rotating big, gathered with both feet, rose and hammered one through, landing, posing and pausing to enjoy the crowd’s roar.

It served as the final two of his 13 points during the Thunder’s 111-81 rout of Fenerbahce Ulker on Friday night and the greatest sign that the star forward is rounding into athletic form this preseason.

Thunder add Michael Qualls to training camp roster

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed guard Michael Qualls, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. It’s likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Qualls to training camp.

Qualls (6-6, 205), joins the Thunder after a three-year collegiate career at the University of Arkansas where he appeared in 100 games (56 starts) and averaged 11.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 23.8 minutes per game. This past season, Qualls received Second-Team All SEC honors after averaging 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game during his junior year.

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster now stands at 19.

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