About Last Night

About Last Night: Real Thunder standing up?

Matt Petersen, NBA.com

Seven days is nothing in a 27-week regular season. Just ask the Thunder, who have now answered their 0-4 start with a matching four-game winning streak.

The road back to .500 loudly confirmed that the “it’s early” argument was a fair one to all who questioned OKC’s depressing start. Entering Friday’s road tilt at Washington, the Thunder ranked fifth in defense and bottom-five in 3-point shooting. They flip-flopped those early reputations in order to beat an even more turbulent Wizards team 134-111.

It’s still too early to tell which Thunder team is real. The defensive grindstone that struggles to score? Or the heat-wave offense more than happy to trade buckets? Some happy middle of both?

OKC can only hope two ingredients from Friday’s win remain: Russell Westbrook’s efficiency (10-for 16 FG, 23 points, 12 assists, one turnover) and Jerami Grant’s production at power forward (22 points). Both those factors were missing far too often last season for a Thunder team with ambitions of contending. Throw them in the mix, and that goal might be that much easier to achieve.

Wallowing Wizards

For the first nine minutes of Friday’s game, it looked like Dwight Howard was the cure. He was dunking. John Wall was dishing. The Wizards were winning.

It wound up being a cruel tease for the home fans, who ultimately booed their now 1-7 team as they were outscored 44-20 in the second quarter. Howard’s debut was an unhealthy mix of 20 points and just three rebounds. Wall coughed up seven turnovers. The Wizards shot just 9-for-30 from 3-point range.

Washington finds itself facing the same questions being asked of the Thunder a week ago. What’s wrong? Is it too soon to panic? What role does Scott Brooks play in all this?

These questions — along with being tied for last in a LeBron-less East — aren’t what a team with two All-Stars expected to face less than a month into the season.

Remember ‘Melo?

Speaking of blasts from the past, Carmelo Anthony went for 28 points in Houston’s much-needed 119-111 win over Brooklyn. The 10-time All-Star has dropped 20-plus in three of the last four games, marking just the second time he’s done that in the 2018 calendar year (Jan. 15-20).

Remember, this is a guy who averaged more than 20 points per game in his first 14 NBA seasons. If the Rockets can figure out how to consistently unlock these offensive spurts from Anthony, they’ll be in a much better place come April.

Stoppit, Steph

‘Cause making impossible shots once wasn’t enough…

Why you gotta be so mean?

Common’, Chris…

Anything you can do…

Jarrett Allen paid no regard or respect to Clint Capela’s help defense.

Capela was even more ruthless when he returned the favor just minutes later in the second quarter.

Boban unleashed

It finally happened. An undisclosed injury to Marcin Gortat forced Doc Rivers to appease the basketball gods and deliver the offering the NBA world has craved for nearly a year.

Boban Marjonovic started an NBA game.

The last time the 7-foot-3 jumped center circle, he put up 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes for the Pistons. He was just as efficient for the Clippers in their win at Orlando, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

The appeal of Marjonovic is obvious. Every time he touches the ball, good things happen. Sometimes awesome things. When he sits, the Clippers boast a net rating of 4.3. When Marjanovic plays, that number more than doubles (9.6).

Links leftovers

Latest

NBA Logo

Want every headline right at your fingertips? Sign up to receive NBA emails!

By clicking "Submit", you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. You agree that your personal information will be used to send you messages about NBA related products and services, and share your personal information with NBA partners and affiliates so that they can also contact you about products and services that might be of interest to you.