There aren’t many positive takeaways from yesterday’s game. Remarkable was only the team’s reaction after Anthony’s ejection. It started a fire inside the players and lead them to cut the gap to the Trailblazers as close as only one possession. Unfortunately, the come back fall short and the Thunder lost another close game: 103-99.
- Usually, I prefer to do not talk about referees, but last night the Thunder have been penalized with some unacceptable decisions. The most upsetting is indeed Melo’s ejection. I find that call really upsetting and unfair. It’s clear me that Anthony is attacking the basket and he is trying to protect himself from the contact and this is what the officials saw. In fact, they initially stopped the game to call the basket and the “and one” but then changed the call to a flagrant 2 after revision. The reply doesn’t show any bad intention from Anthony and it’s very odd the decision to change the call to a Flagrant 2. This is not the first time the Thunder have been hit by wrong decisions, people say it will be compensated somehow during the year, I guess we will just have to wait and be patient.
- Pick & roll defense has been painful to watch in the last couple of games. Last night, Westbrook and Adams systematically switched and systematically Adams have been beaten by the opposing point guard while Westbrook wasn’t closing out on anyone. This led to many easy baskets for the Trailblazers. Donovan is probably trying out different coverages on the pick & roll, this one clearly isn’t working well.
- Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant are two fantastic surprise. Yesterday, they played another impressive game from the bench. Solid defenders and really confident players on the offensive side of the floor. Felton scored 15 points, while Grant’s final stat line is: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
- While Felton and Grant have been a pleasant surprises, we can’t say the same for Abrines and Patterson. In his defense, Patterson is most likely still recovering from his injury (he missed the full training camp), but the Spanish player has been somehow misused on offense so far. He should be a huge threat, help to spread the floor, but so far it didn’t work as expected. Abrines has been shooting 35% from the floor and 33% from behind the arc.
- Summarizing the first 9 games: there is for sure still a lot of improvement needed on both ends of the floor but we saw moments of great basketball already. It’s not the time to press the panic button yet, nine games into the season are only a small sample size. However, if in three weeks the Thunder are still showing the same issues, it will be time to start to worry about the real value of the team.
- FG% 44, 3P% 33, FT% 53%, ASSISTS 17, REBOUNDS 32, STEALS 11, TURNOVERS 13
- FG% 50, 3P% 35, FT% 78%, ASSISTS 20, REBOUNDS 44, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 21
On Tuesday night, the Thunder will play in California against the Sacramento Kings (1-7). Late tip off, 9 pm CT.