OKC Thunder in the news: Battle time, Free Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant , OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jerami Grant , OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the OKC Thunder prepare for tip it feels like the team is about to go to war. With seven teams vying for five seeds the race to nail down seeds four through eight is closer than a photo finish t the horse track.

OKC sit precariously in sixth with so many ghosts from the season haunting them. First of all, those 11 losses to lottery teams loom large. Imagine if the Thunder could have converted just half of those into wins. OKC would be sitting firmly and comfortably in third without a care in the world.

Then these past five games occurred with four losses. Worse– they came against the very teams OKC is trying to pass or hold off. Certainly the loss to the Pelicans made things even more desperate a single game continues to separate the five teams.

The OKC Thunder can make a move today by virtue of beating the Pelicans – you can catch the pregame preview here.

Formula for success:

As the OKC Thunder enter battle today they might want to consider taking along Ted Dower’s compelling article: Winning Formula: Five statistical tipping points. Given the manner in which Billy Donovan is coaching I’m pretty sure he could use it the most.

"The Thunder average 99.6 points per game in losses and 112.7 in wins. If that gap seems large, it’s because it is. The number that pushes the Thunder closer to that enigmatic tipping point is 104 because the Thunder have only lost 9 times when they have hit it and won only 9 times when they haven’t. To be clear, that means their record when hitting 104 points is 34-9 and 9-21 when they don’t."

Billy Donovan’s baffling choices:

More from Thunderous Intentions

It’s no secret my cohort Tony Heim and many of the Thunderous Intentions staff including yours truly haven’t been happy with Billy Donovan this season. Specifically, either his choices, fear of upsetting stars or inability to manage his roster.

Personally, the one constant has been the latter area of the reserve unit.  Witnessing teams around the league getting valuable contributions from role players is one thing. But, when the man directing the team doesn’t put his players in a position to make a difference he’s failing to perform a vital portion of his job.

Upon hearing Donovan praise Carmelo Anthony for making the decision to let Grant stay in the game Friday social media jumped all over his comments.

Rightfully so, because Donovan perhaps thinking he was catering to one of his tars only served to punctuate how little control he does have. Seriously — can you imagine Rudy Gay telling Popovich “I decided” to let “player x” remain in the game?

FREE Jerami Grant!

Which brings me to the News OK by Erik Horne in which he highlights the need for Jerami Grant to get more time on the court.

"A week ago, Grant’s athleticism was idle on the bench as Portland snatched offensive rebounds away from the Thunder at will, the most damning one leading to a go-ahead 3-pointer late. So, when Carmelo Anthony predictably started to walk toward the scorer’s table during the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s loss to Denver on Friday, he did the unpredictable.He saw the opportunity in Grant, who splashed a 3-pointer while Anthony was in mid-walk. Anthony kept his hoodie on, his towel draped across his shoulders and walked back to the bench."

Only one thing to say in response to this —- Billy Donovan – FREE Jerami Grant!

That wraps up OKC Thunder In the news for Sunday, April 1. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and be sure to stop by TI’s Twitter feed during the game and drop in after for our player grades and game roundup. Happy April Fools Day all – hope you didn’t get pranked and if you did hope you shared some giggles.