Northwest Notes: Thunder, Finch, Gordon, Hardy

At 21-9, the Thunder are currently the second seed in a deep Western Conference. The team’s excellence is in part a credit to the ongoing greatness of its Big Three, as Joel Lorenzi The Oklahoman details.

Oklahoma City’s triumvirate of top-tier talent is made up of All-Star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, rookie center Chet Holmgren, and power forward Jalen Williams. Williams put on an offensive masterpiece in a 129-120 win against the Knicks Wednesday, scoring a career-most 36 points.

“He just gets more comfortable — every game, every week — with his reps,” Gilgeous-Alexander raved of the second-year forward. “Biggest thing with him was just him being aggressive early in his career. He’s starting to get around to that and trust his work.”

Williams also noted that his two-man game with Holmgren is improving by leaps and bounds.

“We’re trusting each other a lot more than we had been earlier in the year,” Williams said.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Although the Timberwolves are current a Western Conference-leading 24-7, head coach Chris Finch is convinced the team still needs to improve its scoring attack, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “There’s a lot of ways to be immature,” Finch said. “And generally, this team has been very mature. But we’ve got to grow up offensively. It’s time.” 
  • After suffering a dog attack on Christmas night that left him with hand and face lacerations, Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon is set to return to the team, informing Bennett Durando of The Denver Post (Twitter link) that he will be able to play on Monday against the Hornets. His own Rottweiler is the dog responsible for biting him on Christmas, Gordon reveals. “He’s a good boy,” Gordon claimed. Prior to the news, reserve point guard Reggie Jackson indicated that Gordon was more focused on the reigning champs’ progress this season than his own recovery, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports. “Aaron’s still concerned about the team,” Jackson said. “He wants to be back with the group, but we just want what’s best for him.”
  • With three wins in their past four road games, the Jazz are in an improved headspace, in the view of head coach Will Hardy, writes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. “Overall, it’s been a good road trip,” Hardy said. “We’ve been playing much better basketball the last three weeks than the beginning of the season… I do think our team is trending in the right direction.”
View Comments (10)