Five Facts: OKC vs. Cavs

The Thunder won their fifth game in a row, this time besting the Cleveland Cavaliers by a score of 121-106. OKC seems to have found confidence on the road and are now sitting at 20-15 on the season. A record nobody saw coming…except maybe the ones wearing Thunder jerseys. Here’s the facts:

1. OKC needs more from Nerlens Noel.
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. Nerlens Noel – and I hope this injury is not serious – is what OKC hoped Andre Roberson could be. The guy is only 25 and he still has time left, if he can stay healthy. Here’s the deal with him…the Thunder need 2015-2016 Nerlens Noel. The 11ppg & 8rpg player. The one who can give you a good stat line and play some defense to go along with it. There was a flash of that guy with his 12&12 game against the Mavs.The moment he’s cleared to go, Noel has to take his game to the next level if OKC will have a chance.
2. If the rumors are true, Sam Presti needs to make a move for Kevin Love…NOW!
Last night, Love seemed incredibly frustrated on the court with 2nd year point guard Collin Sexton. All of this after rumors of outbursts with Cavs GM Koby Altman. Currently, the former NBA champion is averaging 16-10-3 on 45% shooting (37% from deep) and doesn’t go a week without a trade suitor ready to make a move. If ever there was a time for Presti to move some draft picks…Love and Adams is what the city needs.
3. The Thunder are 1-2 pieces away from being over the hump.
Once again: If there was ever a time for Presti to move some picks…the next thirty days OR draft night would be the time to do it. The Thunder currently hold 15 draft picks from 2020-2026. I like the team we have, however there are expiring contracts – between now and 2022 – that we more than likely cannot afford to re-sign. On top of that, two of your best players (Chris Paul and Steven Adams) are ready to win now, not in 4-5 years. Its time to work that magic and try to make another big splash. Just hoping this one works.
4. Our intern is better than yours.
Former New Balance intern Darius Bazley could be a bright spot in the future of this organization. Last night, Bazley posted 9 points and 7 boards to go with a block and steal in twenty minutes of action. If I’m Billy Donovan, I’m making sure he can get more minutes a night to get the team results like that. Putting those numbers with what Schroder and Noel can do…the 2nd unit becomes that much more dangerous.
5. The Thunder players heard your doubts. And they’re enjoying making people eat their words.
So many of hoops fans said that OKC’s best option would be to tank. Just shut the season down and look to strike gold. Something my good friend (and professional Twitter Troll), Darrel Hill always says is, “I can’t believe real people…breathing real air said *insert atrocious and borderline blasphemous statement here*.” And so many fair-weather Thunder fans really said it was time to tank. Attendance went down, support seemed non-existent when I attended the first home game. Well allow me to say this: the Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting five games over .500 and are getting closer to that 6th seed in the Western Conference.

Thursday, January 9th, Russell Westbrook makes his return back to  Oklahoma City for the first time in the Peake since being traded to the Houston Rockets in what could be a potential playoff preview. The building is sure to erupt when he is introduced. Some people might shed tears. But the love for Russ will still be there, no matter what uniform he’s in. I cannot wait to sit and watch this game in person. Also, y’all, make sure to tell Darrell I called him a Twitter Troll (@DarrellTrill).

About Author

A Los Angeles native, AJ grew up watching sports from the age of two and his love for basketball and football never died. He started playing sports at age seven and went on through collegiate and minor league levels (local and overseas) as well. After nearly twenty years of athletics, AJ decided to hang it up and retired from minor league football in June of 2018. Since then, he has continued his love of sports by writing for the Suave Report as a sports and culture contributor as well as coaching and refereeing sports in the OKC metro area. He currently lives with his wife, Beth and daughter, Gianna in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, working as a coach and gym owner.

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