Splash Bros, Randy Foye & Prayers For Monty: Thunder Second Half - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Splash Bros, Randy Foye & Prayers For Monty: Thunder Second Half Preview

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Welcome to the home stretch. The All Star break is finally over and the Thunder can finally begin to hone in on the big prize. Here are a couple of storylines to think about as Oklahoma City preps for the final 28 games of the season:

Keeping Up With The Splash Brothers

The Thunder (40-14) is one of four NBA teams with any real chance to win the title. That’s usually a good thing. However, Oklahoma City has drawn criticism all season for lapses in defense, lineup inconsistencies and lack of fire. So why all the negativity?

Peer pressure.

You know how it goes. The Smiths loved their trip to Miami for their honeymoon until they found out that the Johnsons had theirs in Bora Bora. The Smiths also enjoyed driving their Mercedes until they learned that the Johnsons bought an Aston Martin.

If you haven’t figured it out, the Johnson family resides by the bay in Oakland, while the Smiths are here in Oklahoma City.

The Smiths, er, Thunder, is on pace to win more than 60 games, which would break a franchise record. This could very well be the best team in Thunder history, but for a franchise in a title-or-bust scenario, that might not be good enough.

That’s because Golden State, led by one of the best backcourts of all time, is on pace to break the NBA record for wins in a season. In other words, the Thunder could be historically elite by their own standard, while the Warriors could be the same by any standard.

The key for Oklahoma City will be to focus on being the best that it can be, and when the time arrives to face the Warriors, let the chips fall where they may.

Thunder Get Randy, But Will It Matter?

The 2016 trade deadline has passed, and once again, Thunder GM Sam Presti made a move. Oklahoma City sent D.J. Augustin and Steve Novak, neither of whom could crack the rotation, along with a couple of second-round picks to the Nuggets for 10-year veteran Randy Foye.

The Thunder is hoping that Foye, 32, who is averaging a career low in starts, minutes, points, shooting percentage and 3-point percentage, can regain his old form after escaping the NBA’s current equivalent to Siberia: Denver.   

2/19/2016 Related Story: Dean's Blog: Thunder Add Randy Foye

It’s a solid deal for Oklahoma City. Giving up some nonessential personnel for a guy who has a chance to contribute makes all the sense in the world. However, it also creates even more of a logjam at the shooting guard spot, where OKC already employs Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters and Anthony Morrow.

If I asked you to rank those four players, how would you do it? Who’s the best? Who’s the worst? It’s hard to say, and no team needs four two guards in the rotation. Presti would never admit it, but he’d probably trade all four for a consistent force like J.J. Redick or Victor Oladipo.

As For Friday…

The Thunder is finally back in action on Friday night when they host the Pacers. Indiana (28-25) is just 11-16 on the road this season and has lost nine of its past 12 roadies against the Western Conference.

If you’re looking for a reason to get excited, look no further than Paul George vs. Russell Westbrook. George, who scored 41 points in the All Star Game on Sunday, finished just one point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star Game record. Russell Westbrook scored 31 points to go with eight rebounds, and thanks to the West’s 196-173 win, took home MVP honors for the second straight season. With Westbrook, George and Kevin Durant, three of the NBA’s top 10 players will be on display.

On a much more somber note, the Thunder will take the floor for the first time since attending Ingrid Williams’ memorial service. Ingrid, wife of assistant coach Monty, died last week after suffering a head-on collision from a car that crossed over the center lane.

With the entire Thunder organization in attendance, along with notable players and coaches from other organizations, Monty Williams gave a heartwarming and inspiring speech at his wife’s service on Thursday.

2/19/2016 Related Story: People Flock From All Over To Celebrate Life Of Ingrid Williams

Williams thanked the audience for their prayers, but also requested prayer for the family of Susannah Donaldson, the woman who was driving the other car. Donaldson also lost her life in the accident.

“Let’s not forget there were two people in this situation, and that family needs prayer as well,” Williams said. “We hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family.”

 Tip time from Chesapeake Arena is set for 7 p.m.

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