Magic Passes: Westbrook’s 20 Assists Outwit Cavs Shaky Defense

Russell Westbrook and LeBron James

The rare simultaneous burst of the triple threat Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook came into a supernova to destroy the Cavs for their 4th straight victory 148 – 124.
Melo hit his season high with 29 points, while George scored 36. But what’s even more jaw-dropping is Westbrook’s 23 points with 20 assists.
Westbrook’s magic passes are at it again. He tends to pass the ball a lot yet still scored more than enough to provide triumph for OKC. He was one board short of getting another astonishing triple-double.
Cleveland’s burden became heavier and heavier. It was a game of frustrations for Cavs. LeBron James was rooting to hit 30 000 career points but was pulled out with only 7 points remaining. Love played 3 minutes due to his sickness.
What’s most frustrating is that their defensive issues apparently are still left unsolved. They let OKC scored so high that they’ve lost with a huge gap. A team with a defensive strength normally does not allow their opponent to hit the century mark even in lost games.
Cleveland became too much of an offensive team yet they were almost outshone by OKC starters alone.
OKC totaled 121 points out of 148 with their 5 starters alone. 7 points behind and Thunder first five could have beaten Cavs’ whole team score.
Cavs just do not have enough force to push forward or pull OKC back in as they could not force a single digit deficit. They reached by as close as being 12 points behind but it turned out to be LBJ’s last hit of the night and OKC stretched once again by as much as 31 points.
Scores:
OKC 148 – George 36, Anthony 29, Adams 25, Westbrook 23, Roberson 8, Bench – 27
Cavs 124 – Thomas 24, James 18, Crowder 17, Smith 8, Love 0, Bench – 57

Balls-Eye: The Extremely Frustrated Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

How would it feel like gearing up the team for dominance yet ended up as a bulldozer running out of gas every single time?

If there’d be a superstar in despair right now this season, it is definitely Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Imagine teaming up with another two bigtime players and ended up being not so explosive so far.
OKC is only plus 3 in terms of win-loss record and is swamped several times. Running losing streaks and just popped arbitrary victories which aren’t that soundly for threat to ignite. In fact, they are in a 0 – 2 loss recently against Phoenix Suns followed by the Portland Trail Blazers.
Of the three (George, Melo and Westbrook) Why is Westbrook the most frustrated?
Of course he still has grudges way back when Kevin Durant left him behind to join the rising Warriors and earned his 1st championship. Westbrook knows he could not vanquish the Warriors alone but when Melo and George were traded, he somehow see a ray of hope, but turned out to be a false hope instead.
Melo’s getting old while George of course isn’t like as he was before after recovery from a nasty leg injury. Maybe Westbrook expected too much from this guys but it turned out that two heads aren’t better than one at least at this case. KD couldn’t be replaced even by two skilled players.
It’s just disappointing for Westbrook for he sacrifices some playing time and possessions for these guys to shine and lift the team but it turned out to be inefficient. Westbrook could not get the results he wanted at least for now.
His extreme frustration was most noticeable after the Blazers game when he directly went to the dug out without a word.

But so far, Melo and George are scoring well. Meli had 19 and George had 22 against the Blazers. It is the other guys of OKC who fails to produce brought by the presence of two big star addition.

That is the their difference as compared to the Warriors. The sparks were completely extinguished with the addition of two new power sources for OKC while with the Dubs, the newly burning fire even hastened the ignitions of the small ones surrounding it. KD’s departure left OKC in a huge shadow with not enough light for them to find their way back just yet.

Russell Westbrook: Winning the Championship is the Best Way to Keep Paul George

Paul George to the Lakers

All throughout the first three months of the 2017-2018 season, this has been the storyline involving Paul George who was surprisingly traded by the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the off-season. While playing alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony seems to be a good position for PG13,  the trade rumors won’t simply die especially after the Thunder’s 6-game winning streak got snapped and just like that, they are on a 2-game slide heading into their match-up against none other than the Los Angeles Lakers- the potential next destination of Paul George. 
Despite their struggles, the Thunder have improved to 20-17 in the season which puts them in 5th place in the Western Conference. Yes, this is the same team which used to sit at the near bottom of the standings in the West during the early moments of the season and they are now becoming the team that they are supposed to be: a super team, right?  However, despite coming into the game against the Lakers winning 7 of their last 10 games, their success won’t cut the rumors out.
According to Russell Westbrook, there’s one simple way for the Thunder to make sure that Paul George stays even after this season: win the NBA championship this season. And he isn’t wrong in that part. Assuming that Paul George won’t be traded this season,  improving the team in time for the playoffs must be the top priority for the Thunder because Russel Westbrook has said that he won’t be making any sales pitch to lure Paul George to stay in Oklahoma. 
Fortunately for the Thunder, Paul George is focused on winning games for Oklahoma, for now. He indicated that he didn’t have any regret in saying that he desired to play or his home city, Los Angeles but he is also grateful for the opportunity to play alongside talented guys like Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook- adding that they have the potential firepower to challenge for a championship. Well, Paul George isn’t wrong in that part either. 

Conclusion

The Thunder should easily win against the Lakers because Lonzo Ball is still out and the Lakers are still losing it, again. But, can the Thunder actually dethrone the Golden State Warriors should both squads meet in the Western Conference Finals? Firepower-wise, both squads are equal. Chemistry-wise? The Warriors have the edge. 
Question: Will the Thunder be able to keep PG13 ?
Prediction: Paul George will be wearing the Purple and Gold. The only question is WHEN.

3 Big NBA Stars Likely to be Traded this Month

With trade season already in full swing, expect these players in different teams before February.

The trades that were made during the off-season prior to the current season were blockbuster ones that some fans even made pre-season predictions that their respective teams will beat this and that. And now that the trade restrictions are off the hook, we can expect more of those blockbuster trades especially now that the February trade deadline is fast approaching. 
During the first three months of the 2017-2018 season, the NBA has been rocked by the deafening noise that is created by the trade rumors surrounding big names. With January already a few days old, we should be seeing some of those rumors to become a reality and below are the three BIG stars who are likely to be playing for another team come February: 

1. Paul George

Despite playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George’s name has been connected to various trade rumors which included a trade that could send him to the Los Angeles Lakers- a team PG13 is desiring to play for. For this trade to happen, the Lakers could offer Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson in exchange for Paul George. 
While trading Jordan Clarkson is definitely a heavy decision for the Lakers because JC6 has emerged as a solid leader off the bench, trading Julius Randle will be easier because he isn’t fond of coming off the bench. If this trade happens, it will be a win-win situation for both teams because Paul George now gets to play for his hometown while Julius Randle gets a fresh start with the Thunder alongside Jordan Clarkson who could start at shooting guard for the Thunder. 

2. Julius Randle

As mentioned above, Julius Randle is no longer happy with his decreased role while playing for Luke Walton. So expect him to be sent elsewhere where he would be utilized better. Possible destinations for Randle would be the Thunder, Denver Nuggets and, yes, even the still-struggling New York Knicks. Julius Randle could be a valuable asset to any team who could get him because he is still young and can still develop into a dominant power forward.  

3. DeAndre Jordan

DJ’s Los Angeles Clippers are playing catching up for the 8th spot in the Western Conference as they are riding on their 4-game winning streak. However, with injuries to key players,  the Clippers are no longer the same team they used to be during the Chris Paul era. 
And despite DJ playing well this season, it appears that the Clippers are no longer interested in paying for DJ’s hefty salary as they have been engaged in numerous talks with opposing teams in hopes of getting someone of high quality in exchange for Jordan, one of the league’s elite centers. Right now, there are two teams who have the potential to land DJ: the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.   

Conclusion

Of the three mentioned players, Paul George has the highest possibility of getting traded owing to the current situation in Oklahoma. Why? They have yet to perform like the super team they were supposed to be. Who knows? Trading one of their stars might help actually help the Thunder. 

NBA in 2018: Questions that Need Answers

Lebron James i the NBA 2018

After a stunning pre-season which rocked the season, there are things that we are looking forward to in 2018

While there’s no question that this year’s pre-season was one of the wildest in recent memory due to the various super teams that were assembled plus the arrival of some of the promising rookies, 2018 should present the answers to the questions most of us asked prior to the start of the regular season and below are just some of the questions:

  1. Will Golden State repeat as champions?
    This is probably the most obvious question everyone asked after the Warriors successfully reclaimed the NBA championship from the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the super-trio of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson still intact to this point in time, many were predicting another dominant season for the Warriors. However, numerous injuries have hit the Warriors during the first two months of the season and the fact that the Houston Rockets have started the season on fire had many questioning the Warriors’ dominance. In fact, many fans are now saying that this is the weakest the Warriors have become over the course of the 3 seasons. Sure, they are back atop the Western Conference but can they repeat as champions? That’s a different story, folks.  
  2. Will OKC make it work?
    One of the stories that rocked the NBA the most was when the Oklahoma City Thunder assembled an on-paper mighty super trio of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George after getting the latter two from separate trades. On paper, this trio can almost beat any super team but the problem is, they haven’t been the team they are meant to be. Until now. Heading into their first game of 2018, the Thunder have won 8 of their last 10 games with a 20-16 record which puts them in 5th place in the West. While the Thunder have been better than they were in November, can they actually keep only winning and make a championship team out of this? We’ll be watching, OKC.
  3. Will Lonzo Ball become the best rookie in history?
    Lonzo Ball was one of the most-hyped rookies in history ever since LeBron James’ pre-draft days. After being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the number two pick, many fans began saying that Lonzo Ball will bring the Lakers back to the Finals. As this point in time, this pundit on wheels is very much disappointed with Lonzo Ball’s performance because he is being outplayed by his own teammate, Kyle Kuzma, who is the 27thy pick in the 2017 Draft. Lonzo is still clanking most of his shots, especially from the three-point line. Will he improve? The season’s still long so there’s still plenty of time. Rookie of the Year material? Nope. 
  4. Where will LeBron James take his talents next?
    This is probably one of the most nagging questions this year even before the start of the season. There were many speculations as to where His Majesty will establish his new kingdom come July of next year. One prominent destination where LeBron could land is the Lakers where he will be joining the young core that includes Lonzo Ball. Or, he could join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. Or what about Houston? The possibilities are limitless. Or, he could remain in Cleveland depending on how far will the Cavaliers go in the playoffs. 

Conclusion

One thing is certain. All of the questions above and more will be answered slowly as 2018 begins unfolding itself soon. Mind you, folks. The trade deadline is almost at hand.Remember those trade rumors? They may make noise anew come January. 

Happy New Year, everyone. 

Slowly but Surely: The Thunder are Starting to Gain Ground

They are on a 6-game winning streak after beating the Toronto Raptors.

They started on the wrong foot, terribly. They stumbled near the bottom of the Western Conference and even lost to some of the worst teams in the NBA. Many fans were beginning to question the ability of Russell Westbrook to play with his two superstar teammates. Then, the “trade Paul George” rumors came out of nowhere. It seems back then that everything was beginning to fall apart for the Oklahoma City Thunder despite having Carmelo Anthony and Paul George on board.
Then, things began to brighten for the Thunder. They first defeated the formerly league-leading Houston Rockets and continued on their winning streak after beating one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors.

Question: Is this a sign that the Thunder are becoming the team everyone was talking about when their Big 3 was first assembled?

That’s still up for a debate but if anything, the Thunder have finally figured out how to play with each other. Russell Westbrook has been playing like his MVP self during their winning streak. They may be sitting in 21st place in the league in terms of points per game but defensively, they are the third-best team in terms of limiting their opponents’ production, forcing opponents to only 100 points per game. They are the best teams in steals per game, averaging 10 snatches per night. Additionally, they are forcing 16 turnovers per game- also a league’s best. 

Conclusion

While the Thunder were able to beat an elite team in the Rockets, both teams are still due for two more games this season and mind you, folks, Chris Paul wasn’t in uniform when his team lost. Clint Capela just sustained an orbital fracture which is said to be putting him out of basketball action for two games.
Will the Thunder continue their streak? That’s up to them. After all, they should be challenging the Golden State Warriors for the top spot in the West. But given the fact that they have already made the climb up to 5th place owing to their 20-15 record, they are only 8 games behind the Warriors. They only need to maintain their consistency and who knows, we might actually see them challenging the Rockets and the Warriors like they were made to do in the first place. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: How Can OKC Save their Season?

Having 3 stars hasn’t worked well for the Thunder. So far.

Just in case you haven’t noticed or you probably don’t want to notice because you’re a Thunder fan, the Oklahoma City Thunder, yes, the team that currently has Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, has been struggling as of late. That’s despite the fact that they were able to take the win against the Indiana Pacers in Paul George’s first game against his former team.
While their win against the Pacers improved their record to 13-14 which puts them into 8th place in the Western Conference, that doesn’t change the fact that the Thunder have been inconsistent as they’ve only won half of their last 10 games when in fact, with the line-up that they have right now, they should be winning more games and challenging the likes of the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets for the top spot. Instead, the Thunder have found themselves lagging behind in the bottom of the top 8.
One may probably ask: What is wrong with this OKC team? Is having 3 superstars doing more harm than good?
To be fair, this isn’t the first time the Thunder have 3 stars on their team. Just a few years back, Russell Westbrook had Kevin Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka on the same team. That team went as far as the NBA Finals back in 2011 only to lose in 5 games against the Miami Heat of LeBron James, Dwayne and Chris Bosh.
So what is wrong with the Thunder nowadays?
One of the noticeable reasons why the Thunder aren’t successful as they should be on paper is the fact that both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George aren’t getting the same volume of touches that they were getting before coming to Oklahoma City. Anthony is averaging 63 touches per game while George is norming 56  touches per game. Russell Westbrook on the other hand, averages 94 touches. Lesser touches for Anthony and George mean fewer chances of them getting into their respective rhythm. And that was the same problem the Heat faced when LeBron and Bosh first came on board. But, that Miami Heat team was better than the OKC team than we are seeing today.
So how can Oklahoma turn things around?
For Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to be able to do what they used to do for the previous teams, the Thunder must now find a way to work around an offense that will be able to generate a higher volume of touches for both forwards.
Another thing that can help OKC get back into their winning form is this: Russell Westbrook should play his own game and lessen his tendency to get the two stars involved in their offense. While Westbrook has been known as a creative passer, in those games that the Thunder have won this season, Westbrook was playing exactly like the MVP he was last season.

Conclusion

This pundit on wheels isn’t saying that the Thunder of last season was a better team compared to the Thunder team of today. While the Thunder still have the luxury of having the time to fix their problems, they might want to move quickly. They are in the 8th spot right now but tougher games are still ahead. If they want to make a deep run into the playoffs, then do the things that can help them win more games. Otherwise, they’re missing the whole point of assembling their own Big 3. 

Fixing the OKC Situation: Trade Paul George?

Having three stars isn’t helping the Thunder right now

While there’s no doubt that having three or more superstars on your team can instantly turn any struggling team into a championship contender, it doesn’t work that way all the time. 
A perfect example of this was when Dwight Howard and Steve Nash joined Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in the Lakers a few years back. Injury and chemistry issues struck the team during that one season that they were together. Although that team made the playoffs, they were a total disappointment.
Heading into the current NBA season, many were surprised and shocked that the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to pull off two blockbuster trades that enable them to put Carmelo Anthony and Paul George alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook. 
While this trio of stars is already enough to challenge the Golden State Warriors, this hasn’t been the case right now as the Thunder have lost 5 of their last 10 games which put them at a 12-14 record which essentially puts them outside of the playoff picture.
Although the Thunder have a few nice games that they have won over the course of the first few months of the regular season, they aren’t in sync just yet. They are trying to figure out how to play with one another. Although they are among the league’s best defensive teams, Oklahoma has yet to display its full offensive power. Sure, they’ve already defeated Warriors earlier this season but they’ve also lost games to some of the league’s worst teams and that’s not how a super team supposed to play.
So what can the Thunder do to turn this ugly season around?
Firing Billy Donovan as head coach will not have an immediate effect on the Thunder so they can erase that option, for now. And so will trading one of the three stars. However, we all know that even last season, Paul George has already indicated that he intends to play for the Los Angeles Lakers in the future. And ye, the Indiana Pacers delt PG13 to the Thunder.
Having said that, the Thunder can trade Paul George to the Lakers in exchange for Julius Randle, Luol Deng and the Lakers’ draft pick for 2020. Why Julius Randle and Luol Deng?
There have been many speculations that the Lakers are trying to move both Randle and Deng with Randle appearing to be unhappy with his decreased role. Assuming that this trade will materialize, the Lakers will gain more than what they will be losing. And, the Thunder will gain a young and promising forward and a veteran.

Conclusion

Trading Paul George who is averaging 20 points and 5 rebounds this season will be a huge gamble for Oklahoma but the truth is, they’ve already gambled when they assembled their own Big 3 and look where it got them. The rest of the league is laughing at them. A trade can help start turning things around for the Thunder. It doesn’t have to be Paul George but it has to be one of the three stars. 

Balls-Eye: Is Thunder Nowhere Within the Super Team Showdown?

Paul George and Russell Westbrook

If we are going to criticize in a way that we’ll look at the win-loss record of powerhouse teams in the league, then Thunder really is nowhere to be found with their 11-13 standing.

But what if we look deeper onto each or even just some of their 11 wins?
They have beaten very strong teams like the Warriors which happens to be their considered rival when speaking of Westbrook’s grief on Durant. It is not easy to beat a team especially when your former ace, which your team relied with numerous times especially in crucial moments of significant games. What is it like to face your former strength?
They’ve also defeated the Milwaukee Bucks where the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo is very much explosive. Defeating a team with a monstrous offensive player is far from just picking apples in your backyard. Individual defense on an extraordinary scorer won’t be enough to shut him down but still OKC did outscore the Bucks.

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Nevertheless, OKC lost against a rising team Boston Celtics. They are just one of the 16 teams Boston had beaten straight.

Conclusion

OKC’s been performing well but if relative to the super teams, they’ve been left behind. Cavs and Warriors are way out of sight. 

Should OKC Fire Billy Donovan for Struggles?

The Thunder are 8-12 in the season despite having a Big 3

Coming into their 2nd season in the post-Kevin Durant era, the Oklahoma City Thunder looked like a team who are about wreck havoc in the league after landing Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in two separate deals that assembled another Big 3 in the Western Conference alongside Russell Westbrook.
However, things haven’t been well for the Thunder after 20  games into the current season as they fell to 8-12 which ties them for the 10th and 11th places with the Los Angeles Lakers. And despite the amount of talent that this team has, the Thunder are currently on a 3-game losing streak after dropping another game against the Orlando Magic, 121-108.
The question looms now: Should the Thunder smash panic button and fire Billy Donovan?
While it’s unfair for the fans of the Thunder to blame Billy Donovan, alone, for the struggles of their team, if the front office wants to turn things around and prevent making themselves become the league’s laughingstock, change must be done. And it should start from the top. Now, this pundit on wheels isn’t saying that Billy Donovan should be fired. But, if you look at the numbers offensively, the Thunder are 23rd in the league in points per game, and 27th in the league in field goal percentage. And that’s pretty bad for a team that has three players who are known as heavy scorers.

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Defensively, Oklahoma ranks number 2 in the league in terms of limiting the opposing team’s output. However, will that be enough to keep Billy Donovan at the helm?

Conclusion

Firing Billy Donovan MIGHT be the first step towards turning things around in Oklahoma. While success doesn’t happen overnight, the Thunder must realize that they want to fully-utilize their Big 3, they will have to find a coach who can make 3 stars work together as one, solid unit. And in their 20 games, so far, Billy Donovan hasn’t done that, yet. 

By the Numbers: OKC’s Big 3 Outpower GSW’s Super Trio

Westbrook with another near triple-double as the Thunder win in Durant’s return

Russell Westbrook scored a victory over his former teammate.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant used to be one of the most exciting and probably among the best dynamic duos the NBA has ever seen during their days together with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In fact, they had the chance to dethrone the Golden State Warriors but the Thunder blew a 3-1 series lead in the Western  Conference Finals two seasons ago. And that was the last time the NBA saw Westbrook and Durant in the same uniform outside of the All-Star Game.
Since then, the duo has been viewed as archnemesis as trash talks mired all of the games between the Thunder and the Warriors and this game was no different.
Despite their inconsistencies which made them a laughingstock for failing to win despite having their own Big 3, the Oklahoma City Thunder let the numbers do the talking for them as they scored a win over the defending champions, Golden State Warriors, 108-91  in a game that was mired by boos and trash-talking between star players.
Take away the boos. Take away the emotions. Take away all of those nonsense trash talking. Let’s take a look at the big numbers that propelled the Thunder to beat the Warriors:

OKC’s Big 3 Dominated

Now, this is something we all have been expecting of the Big 3 of Oklahoma especially after landing Paul George and Carmelo in two separate trades that shook the entire NBA. And not.
Against one of the top teams in the West, Russell Westbrook recorded 34 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists plus 4 steals. Paul George had 20 points and 11 rebounds while  Carmelo Anthony had 22 points and 5 boards.
One may ask: Where were they during the early goings of the season?

Defend. And Run

Oklahoma had 15 steals. They forced the Warriors to commit 22 turnovers. And they were able to run on the break which produced 33 fastbreak points. The Thunder also had a 50-39 advantage on the rebounding department. Now that’s how you play like a super team and that’s you beat a super team.

Conclusion

While this is only the first of the 4 meetings between the two teams this season,  the Thunder needed a victory as big as this one because whether we like it or not, they are failing expectations. Big expectations. As for the Warriors, one bad game doesn’t change anything at all. One bad game doesn’t mean that they can no longer dominate the West. After all, the West is still for the Warriors to dominate, right?

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Who are the Most Disappointing Teams in the West Right Now?

After promising starts, big roster moves during the offseason, these teams are still faltering

The Thunder, despite having a talented Big 3, are failing to live up to expectations.
There’s no doubt in everyone’s minds that the Western Conference is still for the Golden State Warriors to dominate, no matter what the other teams in the West do with their respective teams. They can try to challenge the Warriors of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson but not every West team have enough firepower to even match the offensive outburst of the Warriors. But despite that, all teams in the West have made notable moves whether it’s signing of new guys, to the hiring of new coaches and yes, some have assembled their own Big 3.
Now that the season is 5 weeks-old, the Warriors are back on top of the standings after struggling during the early goings of the season and yes, they are tied with the Houston Rockets with an identical record at 13-4. Following them are the San Antonio Spurs who are still without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. 
But let’s not talk about how good the West is right now because not all teams in the West are doing great this season so far and this basketball pundit on wheels listed down below the three teams in the West who are failing miserably to live up to expectations:

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Oklahoma City Thunder: 7-9 (tied with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 9th spot)

There’s no disappointing team in the West than the Thunder themselves. Why?
They have Russell Westbrook- a triple-double machine who won last season’s MVP award. They also have Paul George and Carmelo Anthony- two players who were traded to Oklahoma City during the offseason- and two notable offensive players.  
The problem is, they haven’t found any kind of rhythm that will enable them to go on a notable winning streak.  So far, they already dropped against some of the West’s elite teams including the San Antonio Spurs and yes, they even lost to the Sacramento Kings- one of the West’s worst teams. 
With a game against Warriors coming their way, this basketball pundit on wheels really thinks that the Thunder will need to win that specific game to gain some sort of confidence because if not, there’s a chance that they might not even make the playoffs.

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Memphis Grizzlies: 7-9 (tied with the Thunder for the 9th/10th spot) 

Speaking of Marc Gasol and the rest of the Memphis Grizzlies, this is a team that used to be in top 3 in the West a few weeks ago and now, they are not even in the top 8 thanks to their 5-game losing streak which included two defeats from the hands of the Rockets. They’ve lost 8 of their last 10 games and with a game against the Dallas Mavericks coming up, the Grizzlies can use that game to return to their winning ways because they are fading right now.

Los Angeles Clippers: 5-11 (13th spot)

The Clippers have lost Chris Paul. They have lost JJ Reddick. They even lost Jamal Crawford. Sure, Blake Griffin is healthy. So is DeAndre Jordan. But that didn’t prevent the Clippers from losing all of their last 9 games. They lost to the New York Knicks, the Spurs and most notably, the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game that they could have won. In effect, the fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are laughing at the Clippers right now. Why? The Lakers are currently in the top 8 and the Clippers are not.

Thunder drops down to no. 9 in West after Spurs defeat

It seemed like the Thunder victory was established when they cracked up the biggest lead of 23 points, but the San Antonio surprisingly came back and managed to bag a 3 point win.

Pau George looking for a miracle

Both are teams seeking for vengeance against the defending champs, Russell Westbrook wants to defeat the Warriors for his grudges against former partner Kevin Durant, whilst the San Antonio wants to get back on the Dubs to avenge Kawhi Leonard’s  as well as the team’s fall when their ace was injured badly in the conference finals series.  But it seems like the Spurs are way ahead of this chase for redemption.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Spurs to their 10th victory with 26 points, taking free throws carefully, shooting 10 out of 12 backed up by Danny Green with 17 points, shooting 5 triples.
OKC in full control of the 1st 12 minutes, sizzled with a humongous 18 – 0 run in the final 5 minutes of the 1st spearheaded by OKC’s triple threat, 1st quarter ended 32 – 15 in favor of the Raging Thunder.
17 point lead even got more swollen up to a 23 point deficit in the early minutes of the 2nd quarter, but it’s Spurs turn to bolster their offense with a 10 – 0 run. Danny Green and Pau Gasol ran the offense, entering the dugout only behind 7 points, 55-48.

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It was a tied ball game at the before the start of the 4th, Spurs slowly got back every quarter that passed whilst OKC ran out of steam as the game approaches the final crucial minutes. Their seemingly winning 23 point lead completely melted down.
It was a clear sign that Spurs defeated the OKC in the clash evidenced by Russell Westbrook’s number who usually plays and finishes with a triple-double but at the end of the game, Westbrook was one assist and rebound short to match his ‘usual’ game.
Scores
Spurs 104 – Aldridge 26, Green 17, Gasol 14, Anderson 10, Mills 8, bench – 29
Thunder 101 – Anthony 20, George 18, Adams 16, Westbrook 15, Roberson 2, bench – 30

Super Team Lookout: Dubs Doing Great, OKC and Cavs Still Dormant?

Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook

The Dubs just keep on winning and winning games this season with impeccable play execution and explosive plays of their superstars.
Warriors even managed to win without Stephen Curry against the Orlando Magic. On top, of their game, the defending champs are looking to capitalize for the number one spot in the standings. But how about the two other ‘super’ teams in the league? OKC and Cavs are currently in a skid, Cleveland at 7-7 while OKC at 6-7. It is not that bad, for a typical team at least, but it is the worst for such squads knowing that they have an enormous line up that gave sky rocketing expectations for everyone in the league.
Is this really the top of their games? We were all expecting them to hold winning streaks just like what the dubs have done 2 seasons ago but it’s not really what’s happening.
Here are some good hypothetical scenarios that may explain why the Cavs and Thunder are not playing that ‘well’ as we all have pictured out before the season commenced:

LeBron still could not adjust with his individualistic game hustle

LeBron James is used to carrying his team alone during games especially when there is a need to produce big points. He puts all the burden onto his shoulders which is not that advisable to do right now. Given that they have an all new line up, they have to pass the ball even more to test how they will work on together and to establish connections.
Another thing is that maybe they are still in the stage of what I was talking about a moment earlier, they are ‘still’ establishing the connection, so this means that the bond needed for them to work is still in progress.

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Westbrook’s Pace is just too much

Even Melo admitted that it is quite hard to match the pace of Russell Westbrook. It may not be visible for us but maybe, that statement of Melo is half real. The fast game of Russell Westbrook may have brought Culture shock to him. 
On the other hand, Paul George is also in a state of culture shock, with himself not holding the ball the way he used to do during the Indiana Days. It is Westbrook who is the main point guard now and not him. Maybe he struggles on playing with him not seeing the court on the point guard position.
‘If’ these assumptions are the real thing that causes the not so good performance of the two superteams, then it will just be a matter of adjustment which can be worked out as the new roster plays more games together.
Even the Dubs quickly adjusted with the addition of Durant and even managed to win a title within the same season. But KD’s just a one-man addition, right now the Cavs and OKC’s map are in a state of total revision. Still cluttered but once rhythm is found, then we’ll see the true form of another two of this era’s super teams.

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Paul George is Headed for LA Next Season

It’s unlikely that Oklahoma will keep PG13 after this season

Paul George Oklahoma Thunder
Paul George’s 42 points against the Clippers may not be enough for his team to keep him. 
There was no doubt in everyone’s mind that from the moment Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined forces with Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder would have the firepower and more talent to take on the Houston Rockets or even the defending champions, Golden State Warriors come the playoffs. 
In fact, most people were saying back then that with their newest Big 3 in the post-Kevin Durant era, the Thunder can now contend for a championship against the Cleveland Cavaliers- should both teams make it that far come June of next year. It’s really nice to dream about winning championships with this kind of a team and it seems that OKC fans may have to wait much longer before their team makes that dream into a reality. Why?
Here’s why.
Sure, the Thunder beat the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday, 120-111. Sure, Paul George has played his best game yet with Oklahoma, scoring 42 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Sure, the Thunder rank 3rd in the league in terms of limiting their opponents’ total points in a game, only allowing their opponents to 98 points on the average. 
But these don’t outweigh the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder are lagging behind in the Western Conference as they are standing with a record at 5-7- good for 10th place in the West. Is that how a team with a talented Big 3 supposed to perform?
Nope!


But let’s just focus on one specific player: Paul George. Through 12 games into the 2017-2018 regular season, below are his averages:

  • 21 points (leads the team)
  • 5 rebounds
  • 2 assists
  • 2.58 steals (leads the NBA)
Now, those are good averages especially for a player who sustained a massively gross injury a few years back. And #13 is playing like the same player he was once during his stints with the Indiana Pacers before he sustained that injury while preparing to play for Team USA. His 42 points against the Clippers is one reminder that he has still more than left in his tank. 
However, let’s keep in mind that the deal that sent PG13 from Indiana to Oklahoma came as a surprise to the majority of the NBA fans as Oklahoma was not the destination everyone had thought where George would play this season. Nope! Even before the end of last season, Paul George has repeatedly stated that he intended to play for the Los Angeles Lakers come free agency 2018. 
But instead, he was traded to Oklahoma.
Now here’s the catchy part: The Thunder can only afford to keep either Carmelo Anthony OR Paul George. They cannot keep both beyond this season. Why? Even if both players want to come back next season, Anthony and George have player options for next season which are amounting to 27 million US Dollars and 20 million US Dollars respectively which means the Thunder will have to pay a big amount of luxury tax assuming they want to keep both players. 

Conclusion

Let’s just assume that either the Thunder choose to stick with Carmelo Anthony or, Paul George decides to leave after 1 season alongside Anthony and Russell Westbrook. Where is he heading next? One possible: Hollywood to play ball with Lonzo Ball and probably, LeBron James?

By the Numbers: Thunder Drop Third Straight, Loses to Sacramento

Another super team loses to another bad team

The Kings were limited to 10 points in the first quarter but came back and won the game.

When you see a team with Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George playing together, what do you expect? A win. Almost every single game. 
Why? All three of them have the capability to score 40 to 50 points at ease. Russell Westbrook alone, can notch a triple-double almost single night as we saw last season which enabled him to win his first MVP award.
So technically speaking, the Oklahoma City Thunder is a super team. Or are they?
Right after the first quarter when Sacramento only managed to score 10 points, they roared back before halftime and took the lead for good. And when the Thunder were making a late push, the Kings were able to hold on as they finally scored their second victory of the season after beating the Thunder, 94-86. 
So what happened? Below are the numbers:

Too Many Missed Shots

  • Carmelo Anthony: 4 of 17 
  • Paul Geroge: 4 of 16
  • Russell Westbrook: 7 of 21
If you want a simple explanation as to why the Thunder lost to the worst team in the Western Conference, just look at how horrible their field goal shooting was. Against the Kings, the Thunder only made 29 of their 86 field goal attempts- that’s a 33% field goal shooting, folks.
They were also miserable from beyond the three-point line as Oklahoma City only hit 10 of their 27 attempts from deep. Both Carmelo Anthony and Paul Geroge shot 3 of 9 from deep while Russell Westbrook went 2 of 8 from that area. 
In contrast, Sacramento shot 46% from the field, made 37% of their attempts from long distance and, 91% of their free throws.

More Points from Turnovers

Sure, the Kings had 23 turnovers compared to OKC’s 17 but the Kings were more aggressive in turning those Thunder turnovers into points as they held a 19-8 advantage in points off turnovers. Mind you, the Thunder were uncharacteristically called for 3 shot clock violations in the third quarter alone. All in all, Russell Westbrook had 7 of the Thunder’s 17 turnovers. He’s the MVP, right?

Conclusion

With a record stands at 4-6 which puts them at 12th place in the West, this is something that we don’t expect from a team that has three All-Star caliber players in their starting line up. While chemistry might be the issue for the Thunder’s early struggles, it’s still early for the rest of the league to call the team-up a bust but Oklahoma needs to work things out from their end because if not, it might cause Billy Donovan his job.  

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Three Things that Make the NBA Season Weird, So Far

Even die-hard fans are asking: What is happening to the NBA nowadays?

Lebron James Cleveland Cavaliers
Even LeBron James is probably wondering: “What’s happening in Cleveland?”

If you think the offseason prior to the 2017-2018 season was rocky, you definitely got the “rocky” part right. 
Why?
Let’s start with the Western Conference. The Oklahoma City Thunder shocked the NBA when it landed Paul George from a trade with the Indiana Pacers. And the Thunder didn’t stop there just yet. They also traded for Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks. 
Result: The Thunder got themselves a new Big 3. Meanwhile, Chris Paul signed with the Houston Rockets to form an apparently explosive backcourt tandem with James Harden.While all of these were happening, the Minnesota Timberwolves got themselves a new guy in Jimmy Butler and the Wolves now have a Big 3 of their own which includes  Butler playing alongside Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. 
It seems that every team in the West wants to beat the Golden State Warriors. Badly.
Out East, the Cleveland Cavaliers wasted no time in preparing to return to the NBA Finals after losing to the Warriors, again. 
To start things off, the Cavs granted Kyrie Irving’s trade demand, eventually sending Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for still-recovering Isaiah Thomas plus role players off the bench. 
The Cavs also reunited one of the best dynamic duos that the NBA has seen when Dwayne Wade signed with the Cavs to play alongside his pal, LeBron James. 
Oh and by the way, Former MVP Derrick Rose also signed with the Cavs, too. And the Celtics also got Gordon Hayward.
Fast forward to present times. Most teams have played 10 games into the 82-game regular season and while it’s still a long journey ahead, the early goings of the season have been weird and below are three reasons why it’s weird:

“Super Teams” are Struggling

After reloading themselves with Dwayne Wade and an injured Isaiah Thomas, the Cavaliers are nowhere near the top of the standings- at least in the East. 
After dropping their 5th game in 6 games, the Cavs are at the 12th place in the East with a 4-6 record- all while the Celtics are on the top with an 8-2 record. The same thing can be said about the Thunder as they are currently sitting at the 12 spot in the West, with an identical record as of the Cavs. 
Isn’t it ironic? 
The Cavs and the Thunder are two teams which when you look at them on paper, they can beat the Warriors. Apparently, loading your team with superstars doesn’t automatically mean that you can every game. Mind you, folks, the  Cavs lost against 4 bad teams during their 4-game losing streak. And then recently, the Cavs lost a winnable one against the Atlanta Hawks, one of the worst teams in the East.

The Top 8 in the East: No Cavs

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Detroit Pistons
  3. Orlando Magic
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. New York Knicks
  7. Philadelphia 76sers
  8. Charlotte Hornets
Don’t blink your eyes ’cause they are not tricking you. As of writing time, that’s the top 8 in the Eastern Conference and should the playoffs begin today, this would have been the first time that LeBron James won’t be playing in the postseason. But what’s weirder is the fact that the Knicks are actually playing better than the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cavs. So are the 76ers who continue to trust in the process. 

Too. Many. Injuries.

While getting injured is unavoidable especially in a sport like basketball, the NBA has never been flocked with injured players than it is right now. 
Perhaps, no injury rocked the league than the injury that hit Celtics newcomer Gordon Hayward during the first 6 minutes of the Celtics’ opening night game against the Cavs after Hayward was hit by a defender mid-air and landed awkwardly. Before he knew it Hayward’s foot was forcibly twisted and it was a scene that nobody wanted to see. 
It rocked the entire NBA. Other notable players who got injured in the first 10 games to open the season were Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo (again), John Wall, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Rose (AGAIN!) and others. 
Either these players have become softer and more fragile or, the game has become more physical.

Conclusion

Which is weirder? The Los Angeles Lakers having a slightly better record than the Thunder or, the Cavs not leading the East right now. Perhaps. it’s the latter. 
Sooner or later, things will normalize in the NBA but for now, let’s enjoy two of the three weirdnesses that have been rocking the NBA. 
Why? Who would have thought that the Knicks will be successful this early without Carmelo Anthony? Or, who would have thought that we now need to practice typing Giannis Antetokuompo’s name without looking it up on the Internet because he is the league’s leading scorer? 

By the Numbers: Irving Leads Boston to Win Against OKC’s Big 3

The Celtics take advantage of the struggles of Oklahoma’s stars

Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving had a big second half against the Thunder
Sure. The Oklahoma City Thunder instantly became a super team when they successfully received Carmelo Anthony and Paul George in two separate deals during the buys and exciting off season that rocked the NBA. 
On the other side, Kyrie Irving’s trade request was granted as he was sent by the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics. 
While that trade may have been one-sided considering the number of players that Celtics lost which included Isaiah Thomas, look at where the Cavs are right now. Then look at where the Celtics are after their game against the Thunder. 
Who has the better standing as of the moment?
As it turned out, the trade that sent Irving to the Celtics has been benefiting Boston more than it’s benefiting the Cavs as Boston convincingly beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 101-94 in a game between two teams that have been reloaded prior to the beginning of the season.
 And as it turned out, having 3 stars on your starting line-up doesn’t automatically you can win every single game because if one star struggles and so do  the other two, you are doomed and that’s exactly what the Thunder experienced as below are the numbers that will explain to you how the Celtics won:

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Shutting Down the Big 3 of Oklahoma: Trio Combined for 38 Misses

  • Russell Westbrook went 7 of 20 for 19 points
  • Paul George went 9 of 20 for 25 points
  • Carmelo Anthony went 3 of 17 for 10 points
If you want a simple explanation as to why Oklahoma got its rears kicked horribly, just look at the field goal shooting of their trio of stars. 
Throughout the game, the defense of the Celtics continuously frustrated Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George as they combined for 38 misses- 38 out of the 52 shots that Oklahoma missed in the entire game. 
In addition to this, Westbrook and company were also shooting bricks from beyond the three-point line. The reigning MVP only nailed 3 of his 7 attempts from deep. Paul George also hit 3 from deep but took 10 shots. Carmelo Anthony was the sorriest of the three, missing all 5 of his shots from outside. 

Both Teams hit 13 Threes Apiece: Only One Shot Better

  • Oklahoma: 13 of 35
  • Boston: 13 of 28
Given the fact that Westbrook, George and Anthony are known as heavy shot takers meaning they have the tendency to take as many shots as they can, the Celtics did a good job in making sure that the trio missed most of their opportunities especially from outside- all while also making sure that they were scoring efficiently form their end. 
By the end of the night, both squads ended up 13 threes apiece but, with the Celtics shooting better from rainbow distance. How good? Al Horford, who had 20 points, made all 4 of his three-point attempts while rookie Jayson Tatum hit 2 long-distance bombs, en route to a 13-point outing. Irving, for his part, had 3 made threes on 7 attempts.

Another All-Around Performance from #11

Gordon Hayward can take all the time he needs to recover from the injury he sustained during the Celtics’ opening night loss against the Cavs because as it is, the Celtics are just doing fine without him as evident by their 7-2 standing after beating a loaded Oklahoma team. Kyrie Irving has been playing great basketball as of late and his performance against the Thunder is no surprise at all
25 points
10 of 22 field goal shooting
5 rebounds
6 assists 
2 steals 
1 block
34 minutes
What could you possibly ask for? That’s classic Kyrie Irving for you, folks.

Conclusion

The win improved Boston to 7-2, the best record in the Eastern Conference in the early goings of the season while the Thunder dropped to 10th place in the West, at 4-4. 
While chemistry can play a role in the struggles of the Thunder, chemistry seems not to be a problem for the Celtics as Kyrie Irving found no difficulty in blending well with his new team. 
Why?  The Celtics are on a roll as we speak, winning 7-game winning streak after losing their first two games to open the regular season. 

Efforts in Vain: OKC Fell One Step Short to Victory Against Wolves

Big shot after big shot!

Andrew Wiggins’ winning three-point shot against OKC


The Oklahoma City Thunder went through another unfortunate lost with their foe Minnesota Timberwolves winning with a 2 point lead via Andrew Wiggins breath-taking 3-pointer that beat the clock winding down.
The final 8 seconds of the game was a long thrilling 8 seconds, before Wiggins hit the winning shot, it seemed that Carmelo Anthony’s three-pointer was the supposed to be winning shot bringing the OKC up by 1 point but two big shots in a relatively short period of time is a phenomenon we do not see every day.
After OKC’s lost against Utah Jazz – Westbrook’s dormancy, the triple threat’s missing link Russell Westbrook redeemed himself with an ultimate explosion in their game against the Wolves, Russell finished with 31 points plus 10 assists.
Despite the ultimate performance of the triple threat and Steven Adams, still Thunder’s starter production had a missing link, Andre Roberson started the game and finished scoreless after 22 minutes of play whilst all of the Wolves’ starters were in double digits. Roberson was the missing link that made OKC fell one step short.
All in all, it was obviously a very close game, no significant difference in the team stats. It just happened that the Timberwolves were the last to hit the winning shot before the final buzzer buzzed and ceased the whole arena, leaving a throng of crowd stunned of what they have witnessed right before their eyes. The victory was in Thunder’s palm but then it slipped away in a blink of an eye.
Scores:
Wolves 115 – Wiggins 27, Towns 27, Teague 19, Butler 15, Gibson 11, bench – 16
Thunder 113 – Westbrook 31, Anthony 23, Adams 17, George 14, Roberson 0, bench – 28

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Minnesota Timberwolves Full Game Highlights / Oct 22 2017 / 2017 NBA Season

Westbrook Missing in action: OKC Falls Against Jazz

Russell Westbrook

With Carmelo Anthony’s 26 points and Paul George with 22, Thunders still couldn’t overthrow the Utah Jazz without Russell Westbrook’s explosive performance. 

The Jazz bagged its 2nd victory after winning against OKC, 96-87 led by Joe Ingles with 19 points and Rudy Gobert’s double-double – 16 points and 13 rebounds. Utah Jazz’s starters 4 out of 5 finished in double figures which became the main dagger for the victory over OKC’s scarce starter production. Only Melo and George contributed big. The triple threat wasn’t in full throttle – Russell Westbrook only with 6 points after playing 36 minutes.
Both teams were not on it outside, shooting at a very poor percentage (OKC 33.33, Jazz 31.0). But when the battle is brought inside, it spelled the difference that determined the winner of the game. Utah Jazz doubled OKC’s production in the paint (40-20). And again, OKC’s defense was too weak to hold its enemy back, hence, therefore, even the small guys who can’t produce from the outside easily penetrated to score baskets in the shaded area, except for Joe Ingles, despite the poor percentage of the team from beyond the arc, most of his points came from the outside. He totaled 19 points with 5 triples.
Russell Westbrook’s dormancy had adverse effects on the Thunder’s performance. With him unable to score well, his speedy penetration won’t be able to attract defenders the way it used to because the defending team knew he’d pass due to his poor accuracy in the game, thus OKC’s offense, which Russell Westbrook is the main play director isn’t as fluid as it is. Westbrook’s dash and pass didn’t work quite well.
Scores:

Jazz 96 – Ingles 19, Gobert 16, Rubio 16, Favors 13, Mitchell 2, bench – 30
Thunder 87 – Anthony 26, George 22, Adams 9, Westbrook 6, Roberson 3, bench – 21
The league’s super teams were simultaneously shut down. –  The Cavs, Warriors and Thunders. What might the reason be? Will too much individual talent be a hindrance to great teamwork? Or is it just a typical bad game that any team experience from time to time?

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz – Full Game Highlights | Oct 21, 2017 | 2017-18 NBA Season

Ball Scrutiny: 3 Reasons Why OKC’s Triple Threat is Effective on the Floor

The Oklahoma City Thunder lead by three superstars Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George bagged a huge debut victory against the New York Knicks.

All players scored terrifyingly, with each finishing more than 20 points that dusted away New York Knicks sight of victor 104-85.

We already know how great these players are individually, but what makes them special when they are playing together on the floor?

1-Melo’s presence in the paint

Carmelo can shoot long balls but he plays even better when he plays in the interior. Knowing that he can contribute through post up plays and can shoot from the outside, his man will tend to play sticky defense on him, dragging his defender to anywhere he goes and thus punching holes through the defense of their opponent, leaving Russell Westbrook a much easier job to penetrate either to score or to pass the ball through him.

2-George in the Rainbow Country

After suffering from a terrible injury in the past, Paul George’s play changed, thus he is shooting more instead of unleashing hard drives to the basket, and he’s shooting is but impressive. In fact, he scored 18 of his 28 points from beyond the arc against the New York Knicks. With Melo’s presence on the inside and his’ as an outside threat, it will be much easier to shaken the defense, thus easily taking it down for them or their other teammates to score.

3-Westbrook’s point guarding

Thwarting the Knicks with his double-double performance, 21 points and 16 huge assists, Russell Westbrook is the ultimate point guard to wind up George and Melo’s fire power waiting to be triggered on their marks. Another great thing is, despite being more of a passer due to the addition of two huge offensive players, Russell Westbrook is still efficient in point contribution. Which will be a huge weapon against any opponent, a player who can score and pass well in a game is nothing but an unstoppable beast.
The three just complement each other, thus their past playing style are even more empowered through each other’s individual strength. OKC in this form will be hard to stop, as long as there is an absolute coordination with these three huge monsters. Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George

A Wheeler’s Opinion: 3 Reasons to be Excited for the New NBA Season

The NBA is more than just about the GSW-Cavs storyline

Will this new Big 3 find a way to work together and bring home a title to Oklahoma?

The 2017-2018 NBA season is about to make every pair of eyes of every NBA fan stuck to their TV, computer monitors and even their mobile devices as it officially opens tomorrow (Manila time) beginning with the rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers going up against the Boston Celtics. Oh and don’t forget folks. Chris Paul and James Harden will get the honor of trying to hand the Golden State Warriors when the revamped Houston Rockets open their season against the defending champions of Stephen Curry and company.
While almost NBA fan is complaining that this upcoming season will be boring as the Cavs and the Warriors are heavily favored to go head-to-head come the Finals in June of 2018- one thing that even this basketball pundit on wheels certainly believes, take away the Warriors and the Cavs and we still 14 more teams to watch out for. 14 stories to follow. 14 adventures to be excited about. Let’s skip the prediction as to who will win the NBA title this season because we already have an idea as which team will that be, right, Warriors fans?
Below are the 3 reasons why NBA fans should be excited about the 2017-2018 season despite the inevitability that one team will dominate the season, again:

All Western Guns are Pointing towards Oakland

Russell Westbrook has Carmelo Anthony AND Paul George as his new teammates in Oklahoma. Chris Paul has joined James Harden in what is expected by many to become one of the most exciting backcourt tandems in history. LaMarcus Aldridge has recently signed a contract extension to remain with the San Antonio Spurs for the next 3 seasons. Even the Minnesota Timberwolves have formed a Big 3 of their own with Karl Anthony Towns, Nikoli Pekovic and Jimmy Butler.
All these teams in the Western Conference have reloaded themselves for one goal: to dethrone the Golden State Warriors who have been consistently dominating the West for all of the 3 previous seasons. And counting. If anything, we should definitely be excited as to how the new Big 3 in Oklahoma will work together because Westbrook, George and Anthony are proven scorers and the question that is nagging in everyone’s mind is: who will the main Alpha in Oklahoma?

The Kyrie Irving-LeBron James Rivalry

Since Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the front office of Cleveland during the busy off-season, a demand that was granted and forever shook the balance in the East, to say the least, it was already the beginning of a brewing rivalry between brothers turned rivals, Kyrie Irving and the King himself, LeBron James. 
Apparently, the reason why Irving wanted himself out of Cleveland was that he didn’t want to play alongside LeBron- a partnership that produced 3 consecutive Finals appearances and a championship in 2016. Tomorrow’s game between the Cavs and the Celtics will serve as the opening chapter in this rivalry and this basketball pundit on wheels will be keeping a close eye on the performance of both guys, particularly of Irving if he can indeed, play AND win without LeBron James.

The New Format for the All-Star Game

The battle between the East against the West is no more. The NBA along with the Players Association has announced earlier this month that the All-Star Game will have a different format. Starters will still be voted by fans but the difference is this; each team will have a captain. Each captain will draft their respective starters and reserves from the pool of players that are voted by fans to participate in the mid-season festivity.
Why is the new All-Star game format exciting? Team captains can select any player he desires, regardless of from which team and conference that the players are playing for. So imagine LeBron James forming a super team with his super friends: namely Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony along with Dwayne Wade. How about Steph  Curry bringing along his 3 friends from Golden State along with Anthony Davis? 
The possibilities are unlimited. This could be where super teams of the future will be built from here on. Exciting, isn’t it?

Full Throttle Season Opener: Rivalries are on Debut

The 2017-2018 season will start off with a bang. It is unquestionable. Initial games are fiery hot.

Long time and newborn match-ups will blast off to pump up the new season. Powerhouse teams in their new forms. Matches for vengeance, redemption, and re-coronation.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Or it may be more suitable to say LeBron James vs. Kyrie Irving.  The wait is already over. The whole Cavs nation and of course the TD Garden can hardly wait for this matchup to commence. Will the Boston Celtics find their revenge with their new ace card or will the Cavs thwart them just like last season’s eastern conference finals?

Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets

Stephen Curry and James Harden

James Harden, the veteran point guard. Another chapter of vengeance about to unfold as the hungry Houston Rockets will try to take down the champs Golden State Warriors after their sorrowful defeat from 2 seasons ago.
Analysts always say that the Houston Rockets are the best match against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to the similar style of plays (slow paced). Yet the Warriors made the hypothesis null when they destroyed the Rockets and bent the knees of the Cavs.
Will Harden finally blast off with the rockets to victory against the ferocious warriors, or will the dubs keep their raging opponents in the pit?

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks

New York Knicks vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Carmelo Anthony, now with Russell Westbrook and Paul George will face Melo’s former team. What’s more interesting is who knows each other better? Is it the Knicks who knows of Carmelo? Or is it the other way around? How will New York fight against their own captain? Will they be able to shut him down through anticipations? Or will Melo’s firepower be enough to force his way through the Knicks’ defense for thunder’s first season victory?
Don’t miss out three of the most awaited encounters in the league. It will be an ultimate start of their journey to the playoffs. What we’ll do is to watch and find out who will prevail.

OKC Redefines "Triple-Double” Performance

Left to Right (Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony)

Triple Double even more terrifying

With Russell Westbrook working with two other big stars in the league, his triple double performance would not be as frequent anymore. But in contrast to that, Westbrook found a way for the new “Triple-Double” explosion of OKC.
Instead of only him scoring double digits, dishing out more than 10 assists and securing boards above 10. OKC’s triple double is in new form. There are now three (triple) players who will finish games in double digits (double) which is very much more efficient for the team to secure victory in every single match.
OKC bounced back hard from their shameful lost against Melbourne United. The triple threat: Westbrook, Anthony and George: scored 20, 16, and 19 respectively against Denver Nuggets to redeem themselves and bury the bitter memory of having a very disappointing ballgame at home with Melbourne.
Paul George even managed to have a double-double own performance, with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Nuggets.
The Thunders bagged their 3rd victory, defeated the Denver Nuggets 96-86.
However, setting aside the astonishing performance of the three, OKC still has a lot of loopholes to work on. 
Yes, they are productive enough to snatch another victory, but how efficient were they? Behind productivity lies efficiency. Thunders missed a lot of their shots (39-91).  
They also had a lot of turn overs (22). They somewhat won by luck for the Nuggets failed to convert their turnovers and empty possessions to counterpoints.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets – Full Game Highlights | October 10, 2017 | NBA Preseason

(video courtesy of Rapid Highlights)

Ball Scrutiny: OKC Triple Threat Season Forecast

#0 Russell Westbrook of OKC
Oklahoma City Thunder once nearly destroyed the defending Champs Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals 2 years ago. That was when Kevin Durant was working along with Russell Westbrook. Now the next chapter for them has unfolded, Rusell Westbrook will try to shut down the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors, which Kevin Durant is now in. Westbrook along with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George bolstered the Thunder and became a major blockage on every team’s way to the NBA title this season.

Lightning strikes first before the thunder is heard

With the fast-paced gameplay of Russell Westbrook, he’ll struck every opponent like a lightning especially now that he is not alone to carry the whole team.  OKC’s transition plays would become even smoother with more accurate players to finish any play Westbrook may dish out.
Despite the shameful lost against Melbourne United due to the poor performance of the said killer trio, it is not a sign of the bad team performance. OKC still managed to give their key players some open looks, hence there is a good play execution, it’s just their finishers couldn’t connect to
deliver the basket and finish the play.

Less Frequent Triple Double

Westbrook is known to be a player who usually explodes with a triple-double performance in most of his games. This season it might not be seen frequently as it was before. It isn’t bad after all. An offense with scattered producers leads to better games for the team. A defense would not focus on a single man but will be diverted in every direction, thus decreasing its solidity and intensity, making it more penetrable.

Western Conference Conqueror

The possibility of taking down the Super Team and end their era before it starts isn’t a matter of IF but is now a matter of when. When? When this two teams clash at the Western Conference Finals. It would be an unimaginable mayhem for vengeance or for a continuous regime. Carmelo, Russell and Paul added up to the roughness of the western road to the finals. The warriors would not take a walk in the park. OKC on GSW will be the best playoffs of the season.