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The Thunder are having a horrible week

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Good morning. We have that and more in Thursday's NBA newsletter.

Good morning. Let's basketball.

COMEBACK CITY: The Thunder had the Clippers reeling, down by 20 much of the game and as many as 16 in the fourth. L.A. won.

AND ... Blake Griffin is almost ready. Clipper time!


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MEANWHILE ... Not a great result for Oklahoma City. Sam Amick writes about their identity crisis. I enjoyed Royce Young on the Thunder as well.

IMPROBABLE: The Rockets beat the Pelicans despite Houston shooting 3 for 34 from three. That stat prompted a rather classic James Harden facial expression. No team in history had ever taken at least 30 threes and made fewer than four. How did Houston manage to win? Hitting 70 percent of your two-pointers helps ...

AT LEAST 60 PERCENT AMAZING: Vince Carter, throwing down a reverse alley-oop in the Year of Our Lord 2016.


CHI 89, ORL 102
CHA 119, PHI 99
POR 93, BOS 116
UTA 94, TOR 104
NOP 95, HOU 100
SAC 98, MEM 104
IND 104, MIL 99
WAS 104, MIN 98
DET 81, SAS 97
LAL 107, DEN 117
OKC 98, LAC 103

LOL: The other night, Jimmer Fredette inexplicably tried to take a running three at the buzzer of a blowout. Meyers Leonard hacked at Jimmer in disgust. Words were said. After the game, Leonard apologized to Jimmer on Twitter, and Fredette accepted. Hours later, the Knicks declared they were not bringing Jimmer back for a second 10-day. Jimmermania is again on hold.

MORAL VICTORIES: The Kings are in a somewhat expected free fall. That doesn't mean Quincy Acy can't ride Birdman like a pony and that Willie Cauley-Stein can't give Zach Randolph the business.

PARSING CHANDLER: Really good Tim Cato piece on a) why Chandler Parsons will opt out and command a max contract this summer and b) why it might not come from Dallas.

SURE: As if J.B. Bickerstaff's job wasn't hard enough, the Rockets have signed Michael Beasley. This is an elaborate experiment by Daryl Morey, isn't it?

OH MAN: It sounds like the Celtics tried to pry Jimmy Butler away from the Bulls, dangling the Nets' and Mavericks' picks at the deadline. That would have given Chicago their own mid-teens pick, potentially the Kings' low-teens pick, the Nets' likely top-five pick and the Mavericks' mid-teens pick. They made the right decision -- a Jimmy Butler in the hand is worth more than a shot at Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram plus a later pick. But it'd be real intriguing to see what the Bulls' front office, which drafts really well, could do with all of those picks. It'd be really interesting to see the Celtics with a stud like Jimmy Butler. Can you imagine facing a Smart-Bradley-Butler-Crowder-Amir Johnson lineup in the playoffs? Defensive lineup of death! Or how about an Isaiah Thomas-Butler dribble-drive attack? Good lord. Oh well.

THE NEXT UK GUNNER: Kevin O'Connor on Jamal Murray, Kentucky's sweet-shooting Canadian who should be a lottery pick but has one serious flaw.

WHO KNEW? Kevin Garnett curses a lot when sitting courtside. Cue surprise.

REST IN PEACE: A day after federal conspiracy charges were brought against him relating to oilfield contracts, prominent Thunder minority partner Aubrey McClendon was killed in a single-vehicle crash in OKC. Police say he appeared to have drove into a concrete bridge support at high speed not wearing a seat belt.

ON THE AIR TONIGHT: The TNT doubleheader features Spurs-Pelicans (8 p.m. ET) and a rematch of Thunder-Warriors (10:30). Enjoy.

Happy Thursday. See you next time.


Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.