OKC Thunder: The Rich List, Volume Six
Welcome one and all to OKC Thunder: The Rich List, Volume 6; your favorite online stop to catch up on some of the things you may have missed this week in the NBA.
As is tradition, (is six times enough to make a tradition? Yeah? Good.) The OKC Thunder: The Rich List is the five (four plus Russell Westbrook) best players of the week in the NBA, plus a few other players who deserve some props. After that, we’ll move to the five best highlights of the week, and we’ll conclude with a list of weekly awards.
Arguably the biggest piece of news out of the NBA this week, unfortunately, is the devastating torn ACL suffered by Minnesota TimberPups guard and reigning back-to-back Slam Dunk Champion Zach LaVine. Prior to his injury, LaVine was enjoying somewhat of a breakout year.
Must Read: Five Shooters the Thunder Should Target
In 47 games thus far, Lavine was averaging a career-high 18.9 points a game (on a career-best 46 percent from the field) in 37.2 minutes a game, which was the third highest minute total in the NBA. TimberPup head coach Tom Thibedeau is slightly notorious for playing his players more than the average NBA coach. Hopefully, LaVine will get healthy soon and come back better than ever next year.
The Rich List
As Billy Donovan and the OKC Thunder struggle to fill the hole left by Enes Kanter, Russell Westbrook continues his reign of destruction against the rest of the NBA.
Related Story: Kanter – Domino Effect of a selfish Act
Despite the Thunder only going .500 this week, Westbrook once again put on a clinic averaging 33 points (43.6 percent from the floor, and 40.7 percent from deep on 6.8 attempts a game), 7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game. Russ had the 3rd most points and the 2nd most assists per game in the NBA this week.
The Washington Wizards have continued their winning ways, adding another 3 wins in another perfect week. John Wall is proving night-in and night-out that he’s a superstar in this league, and the cornerstone of an NBA franchise.
In addition to 24 points a game, Wall led the league in assists with 12.3 a game. Conversely, Wall only turned the ball over 3 times a game, and he nearly had 3 steals a game.
Speaking of last week’s teams of the week, the Miami Heat are suddenly in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, thanks in no small part to the play of big man Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside has been flourishing lately: he was tied for 2nd with 15.7 rebounds a game. He was third in the league in +/- with +19.7, behind teammate and former Thunder Buddy Dion Waiters and Jimmy Butler. In addition, Whiteside averaged 20 points on 70 percent shooting and 2.7 blocks a game.
Ok, so there were a few repeats on the List this week. Curry, once again, was sensational. He seems to have found his otherworldly form from last season: Curry scored 34.3 points a night (behind 57 percent from the field, 56 percent from deep, and 90 percent from the line), in addition to 9.3 assists, and 3 steals (3rd in the NBA) per game.
I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. Despite all the seemingly nightly heroics put on display by Isaiah Thomas, each subsequent night continues to surprise me.
The fact that there was a Super Bowl bet on whether the New England Patriots as a team would score more points than Isaiah Thomas scored against the Clippers on Sunday (New England: 34, IT4: 28) speaks volumes to how good the Little Giant has been.
This week: he was extraordinary; Thomas led the league with 37.8 points a night. 17.5 of those points came in the fourth quarters of the four Boston wins, which also led the league. Which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen any NBA highlights this season.
We’ll have much more on the Little Giant later.
James Harden: The Former Thunder Buddy led the Rockets to a 2-1 record this week, and nearly averaged a triple-double on the week with 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 8.3 assists.
Gordon Hayward: The Jazz only played two games this week (they won both) and Hayward averaged 30 points a night.
Anthony Davis: Davis continues to stuff the stat sheet every night: 24.7 points, 13 rebounds, and a league-leading 3 blocks a game.
Blake Griffin: Blake had a nice week: 27.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a night. Unfortunately, the Clippers went 1-2.
Top 5 Highlights
Blake Splits Two Suns with Spin
Sometimes, when Blake gets injured, I forget that he can do things like this.
Marcus Smart: The Second Best Quarterback in Boston
Tom Brady, pretty good at football. Marcus Smart hits Jae Crowdah (Crowder) on the deep pass for the easy layup.
The Foreign Flush
The announcer actually called it the Foreign Flush. Willie Hernangomez hit Kristaps Porzingis with a sweet no-look pass for an easy flush by Porzingis.
Andrew Wiggins Tomahawk
I don’t necessarily like when someone gets posterized, as it usually means that the player is doing the right thing by playing defense and defending the rim. That being said, Andrew Wiggins put Vucevic on a poster with an absurd tomahawk.
Booker Banks Buzzer Beater
Man, alliteration is fun. So is watching Devin Booker bank in a game winner against the Sacramento Kings.
Do you think he called bank?
Defensive Play of the Week
Jimmy Butler Steal, Russell Westbrook Block
It’s a two-for-one of defensive goodness!
6th Man of the Week
The rookie has been really hot for the Knicks lately. Of course, the Knicks still aren’t exactly good. Still, Hernangomez is showing promise, and this week he exploded off the bench averaging 16 points on 63.6 percent from the floor, and he grabbed 10.5 rebounds a night. With Porzingis not exactly a glass cleaner, Hernangomez looks like he can be the perfect complement to the Zinger.
Clutch Performance of the Week
Isaiah put on a show this week, as he had not one, not two, but three 4th quarters to remember, first against the Pistons:
Then, the Lakers.
Finally, the Raptors.
All hail the King of the Fourth.
Game of the Week
Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors
The second and third best teams in the Eastern Conference met for the third time this year. Isaiah Thomas did some things.
Team of the Week
The Celtics were 4-0 this week, with victories against the Raptors, Pistons, Lakers, and Clippers (in Paul Pierce’s last game in Boston).
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Isaiah Thomas put on a show, the Celtics passed the Lakers for most wins all-time by an NBA franchise, fittingly when they beat the Lakers. The Celtics are the 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and if Isaiah Thomas can keep up these fourth quarter outbursts, they can make some noise in the playoffs.
Check back next week as the NBA gears up for the All-Star break and the Rich List serves up the best of February 7th through February 13th
And don’t forget to join Thunderous Intentions each and every day, however this week we have a special invitation for all Thunder Fans. Join us Saturday Night February 11th a half hour prior to tip off as a certain small forward returns for the first time as a visitor to Oklahoma City.
In honor of the night TI will have an run a live blog where we follow the tip off and game interacting with each other, share memories, let go any residual angst and share thoughts on “the return”. Invite your friends and come to TI look for the article titled ‘The Return’ – the live blog and join in on the fun.