• Thunder Buddies podcast: How concerning are OKC's recent defensive woes?

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Tue, Feb 2, 2016

    Welcome to the home of our Thunder Buddies podcast, named, in part, from Universal Studio's highly-acclaimed comedy 'Ted', but inspired by our continued hope for wall-to-wall coverage of the Thunder. Below is our list of episodes (click the link to listen). If you prefer iTunes for your podcast listening experience, click here and subscribe. Hope you enjoy: Thunder Buddies -- 01/28 (<–Click Here) - The Thunder just completed one of its stranger road trips in recent memory. It lost three players, gave up 116 points per game to a group of below-average teams, but still went 3-1. What's up with the defense? Is this team even in the same realm as the Warriors? We discuss.

  • Thunder schedule about to get much tougher

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Tue, Feb 2, 2016

    The Thunder is rolling; 37-13, a .740 winning percentage that ranks fourth in the NBA and is a 61-win pace. With Kevin Durant, the Thunder is 34-9, a 65-win pace. Sixty-five wins is a bunch of wins. But one ominous threat is ahead. The schedule. The Thunder has played the NBA’s easiest schedule. The Thunder has played 28 home games and 22 road games. After the Orlando game Wednesday night, that ratio will be 29/22. Golden State and Cleveland have each played 22 home games. The only teams with more than 25 home games are Houston (27), Brooklyn (27), San Antonio (26) and Memphis (26). You can apply the old NCAA’s RPI — Ratings Percentage Index — to NBA teams.

  • Report: Warriors "frontrunners" to sign Kevin Durant if he leaves Oklahoma City

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Tue, Feb 2, 2016

    After only slight murmurs for a few months, the Kevin Durant free agency chatter has ratcheted back up in the past week. He said some nice things about the Knicks organization, roster and city while in New York. So some 'don't rule it out' articles popped up. Then there was a Laker pipedream scenario tossed out by ESPN's Stephen A Smith, complete with a 2017 partnership with Russell Westbrook in Los Angeles. Now the attention has turned to the defending champions. Yahoo Sports' highly-respected NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski wrote an article for his new site, The Vertical, on Tuesday afternoon, labeling the Warriors "significant frontrunners" to sign Durant should he choose to leave Oklahoma City. You can

  • Five observations from the Thunder's 114-98 blowout of the Wizards

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Tue, Feb 2, 2016

    Here are five observations from the Thunder's 114-98 win over the Wizards on Tuesday night: 1. Clicking -- The Thunder's defense remains a night-to-night, quarter-to-quarter, possession-to-possession mystery. Sometimes Kevin Durant is sliding and competing and locking up James Harden like he's *Tony Allen voice* First Team All-Defense. Then on another, he's letting Nene roll into the lane with nothing more than a small slap on the wrist as he cruises through for an and-1. The inconsistency can be a bit tough to figure out. But one thing is clear: While you may score a bunch of points against the Thunder, you better. Because OKC's offense is clicking at an incredibly potent and consistent rate right now.

  • Live Coverage: Thunder vs. Wizards

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    The Thunder is at home taking on the Wizards. Follow live updates on tonight's game from our Thunder coverage team and more from around the web.

  • NBA's Western Conference standings are sequestered

    Updated: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    The Western Conference standings are tiered. Literally place by place through the first five slots. Golden State leads the West with a 44-4 record. The Warriors are 4-1/2 games ahead of San Antonio. The Spurs are 39-8. San Antonio is four games ahead of the Thunder. The Thunder is 36-13. Oklahoma City is 3-1/2 games ahead of the Clippers. The Clippers are 32-16. Los Angeles is four games ahead of Memphis. The Grizzlies are 28-20. And finally we land at a tight race for one of the slots in the West. Dallas is in sixth place at 28-22, a game behind Memphis. Rarely do you see such compartmentalizing in NBA standings. Over in the East, Cleveland is 2-1/2 games ahead of Toronto, and the

  • OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant named Western Conference Player of the Week

    Erik Horne | Updated: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    Following a 3-0 week by the Thunder, Kevin Durant was named the NBA's Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Jan. 25-31. Durant averaged a league-best 34.7 points per game last week, along with 11.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the Thunder's wins against the New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets. Jan. 26 at N.Y. Knicks: 44 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists Jan. 27 at Minnesota: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists Jan. 29 vs. Houston: 33 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Russell Westbrook was also nominated for Western Conference Player of the Week award.

  • OKC Thunder: Cameron Payne to return against the Wizards on Monday night

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    As the Thunder prepares for a challenging week and month ahead, it's getting a needed boost in the backcourt. Rookie point guard Cameron Payne, just five days after suffering a concussion in Minnesota, will return to the lineup on Monday night against the Wizards. Payne missed the Thunder's Friday night win over the Rockets, but returned to practice on Sunday. After going through shootaround on Monday morning, Payne was officially cleared by the NBA's concussion physician.  This comes at an important time for the Thunder, as it prepares to face the Wizards, Magic and Warriors this week already without injured starting shooting guard Andre Roberson.

  • OKC Thunder: Stephen A. Smith poses Durant-Westbrook to L.A. Lakers scenario

    Published: Sun, Jan 31, 2016

    ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went on ESPN Radio on Friday and posed a free-agency scenario in which Kevin Durant goes to the Los Angeles Lakers, and Russell Westbrook joins him in L.A. the following summer. Smith called it "a big possibility." “Keep in mind this,” Smith said on ESPN 710's Mason and Ireland radio show. “One of the biggest reasons I’m told that Kevin Durant may have the Lakers at the top of his list is because the Lakers have been led to believe, by whom specifically I do not know, but the Lakers have been led to believe that it is a very good chance that the following year Russell Westbrook is coming.” Durant will be a free agent this summer while Westbrook, a Los Angeles native, is set to become a free agent in 2017. This isn’t the first time Smith has referenced Los Angeles as a leader for Durant in free agency. In October on ESPN’s First Take, Smith said he was hearing that if Durant were to leave Oklahoma City, Los Angeles would be “his primary objective and landing spot as opposed to South Beach or even his home of Washington, D.C.” “I don’t talk to Stephen A. Smith at all,” Durant said in October when asked about Smith’s comments. “Nobody in my family, my friends, they don’t talk to Smith. So he’s lying. "If you ask me a question, I'll talk about them. But like I said before, I have people who I talk to about everything and I know for a fact they didn't talk to him, so he's making up stories."

  • OKC Thunder: Cameron Payne (concussion) may return against Wizards on Monday

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Sun, Jan 31, 2016

    It doesn't look like it'll be a long absence for the Thunder's promising rookie point guard. After suffering a concussion this past Wednesday and missing the Thunder's Friday night win over the Rockets, Cameron Payne returned to Thunder practice on Sunday and could possibly return on Monday against the Wizards. "The big test will be tomorrow after shootaround, see how he's progressed," Billy Donovan said. "Should have a definitive answer then." The Thunder did mostly light work on Sunday at the facility, scripting the offense in 5-on-0 settings, going through some one-on-one defensive drills and ended with individual workouts. So Payne didn't go through a ton of contact.

  • Live Coverage: Thunder vs. Rockets

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    The Thunder is back at home tonight after a four-game road trip. Follow live updates on tonight's matchup from our Thunder coverage team and more from around the web.

  • Should the Clippers trade Blake Griffin?

    Published: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    If the Los Angeles Clippers come up short again this season, Doc Rivers might need to think about selling high on his franchise player. Of the Clippers' three foundational stars, Blake Griffin probably would net the highest return in a trade. Several league sources insist that if Rivers, the Clippers coach and general manager, were forced to pick one of the three to flip, it would likely be Griffin -- in part because he knows Griffin would bring back the most. This promises to be one of the thorniest player-organization situations in the league over the next few months, as Griffin's contract ticks toward expiration at the end of the 2016-17 season.

  • OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook decline to respond to Stephen Curry comment

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Fri, Jan 29, 2016

    A surprising quote from Stephen Curry hit the web on Thursday afternoon. While at a news conference announcing the Warriors new planned-arena, Curry, a Panthers fan, was asked about his favorite football team playing in the Super Bowl in the Bay Area. The night before, the Warriors and Thunder meet at Oracle Arena for the first time this season. "It'll be a good 48 hours," Curry said. "A win and a win." On Friday morning, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook chatted with the media for the first time since that Curry comment. Each were asked about the guarantee. Both took different routes to the high-road. Durant was up first, saying: "I don't pay attention to (expletive) like that. We play tonight.

  • OKC Thunder: Cameron Payne (concussion) out against the Rockets

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Thu, Jan 28, 2016

    The Thunder is still feeling the effects of its arduous four-game road trip. On Thursday, tests confirmed that rookie point guard Cameron Payne suffered a concussion during the Thunder's Wednesday night win in Minnesota. He will miss OKC's home game against the Rockets on Friday and will remain in the NBA's concussion protocol moving forward, needing to pass baseline tests before returning to the court. All concussions are different, with the timetable for return varying by degree and player. This is the Thunder's second this season. Reserve forward Mitch McGary suffered one in preseason and missed eight days. Payne's concussion occurred early in the second quarter on Wednesday. He was nailed in the

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Stephen Curry already predicting a win over the Thunder next week

    darnell mayberry | Updated: Thu, Jan 28, 2016

    The highly-anticipated first meeting between Oklahoma City and Golden State didn't need anymore buildup. Stephen Curry just added some anyway. Curry, the league's reigning MVP and frontrunner to win the award again this year, called out the Thunder on Thursday in an interview with ESPN's Sage Steele, according to Warriors beat writer Diamond Leung. Stephen Curry on the Warriors playing Oklahoma City Thunder the day before the Super Bowl: "It'll be a good 48 hours - a win and a win." — Diamond Leung (@diamond83) January 28, 2016 // Stephen Curry laughed and Sage Steele said, "Oooo, I like when you talk

  • Silver lining on a troubling road trip: Thunder bench comes through

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, Jan 28, 2016

    The Thunder’s wild road trip is over, and despite too many hairy moments for a team this good, you still have to grade it a B. The Thunder went 3-1; 4-0 would have been an A, 2-2 would have been a C, 1-3 a D and 0-4 an F. Our man A.C. Slater wrote about the road trip for the Thursday Oklahoman, which you can read here. Notably about the ridiculously lax defense in the four games. Here’s how absurd the Thunder defense was, against mostly-mediocre offenses: In 16 quarters on the road trip, the Thunder gave up at least 30 points in eight of those 12-minute periods. And when the Thunder didn’t give up 30 points, it was giving up 29 (Knickerbockers, second quarter, and Timberwolves, fourth quarter) and

  • Q&A: Kevin Durant discusses the Thunder's occasional lack of passion

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Thu, Jan 28, 2016

    Between giving up 122 points to the Knicks on Tuesday night and 123 to the Timberwolves on Wednesday night, yet still winning both games, Kevin Durant gave an interesting quote about the Thunder’s sometimes lackluster body language. “We just gotta play with a little bit more passion,” Durant said. “…We play every single day, we practice every single day. The process can get boring. I hate to say that. But we have to stay with it.” Strange times for the Thunder. Through the season’s first 48 games, OKC has compiled a solid 35-13 record, winning 24 of the last 29 games and setting a more-than-respectable 60-win pace. But the schedule has been easy, the defense has been

  • OKC Thunder: Cameron Payne leaves Timberwolves game with concussion-like symptoms

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Wed, Jan 27, 2016

    MINNEAPOLIS -- The Thunder's tumultuous road trip continued on Wednesday night in Minnesota, with rookie point guard Cameron Payne leaving OKC's game against the Timberwolves with concussion-like symptoms. Payne was nailed in the head while defending a Zach LaVine drive early in the second quarter. He stayed in for a couple more minutes before he was subbed out for Russell Westbrook. At halftime, the team diagnosed it and deemed him out for the game. Payne is the third Thunder player injured during this four-game road trip. Steven Adams sprained his elbow during pregame warmups in Dallas, missing the first two games but returning on Tuesday night. Andre Roberson sprained his knee in Brooklyn and will miss at least

  • OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook ranked 49th greatest player ever in ESPN's #NBArank

    Erik Horne | Updated: Wed, Jan 27, 2016

    Is Russell Westbrook a Top 50 NBA player all-time? ESPN.com thinks so. The site is continuing its #NBArank, a countdown of the 100 greatest players in NBA history determined by a ballot of the 150 greatest players ever. Per ESPN.com, its "expert panel voted on thousands of head-to-head matchups, with voting based on both peak performance and career value." Earlier this month in its all-time position rankings, ESPN.com listed Kevin Durant as the fourth-best small forward ever. When the voting concluded for the Top 100, Westbrook was No. 49, a spot ahead of future Hall of Famer Ray Allen and current Hall of Famer Willis Reed. Westbrook's spot on the list was so controversial, five ESPN.

  • Live Coverage: Thunder at Timberwolves

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Wed, Jan 27, 2016

    Follow live updates on tonight's game from Thunder beat writer Anthony Slater and more from around the web.