Al’s Five Facts: Thunder defeat Magic

Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Orlando Magic to move 3-4 after seven games into the season, 102-94 the final score.

Here are the five facts about last night’s win against Orlando:

SGA OUTSTANDING

Against the Magic, Shai had another great performance. His offense it’s so polished, his ability to finish at the rim, to use the pick and roll, it’s all very impressive considering that this is just his second season. SGA finished the game against the Magic with twenty-four points (9-14 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3-4 FT), three rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and only one turnover. The Magic didn’t have an answer for him. Not many teams did so far. In fact, Shai is averaging 22.1 points per game while shooting 48.3% from the floor and 41.2% from behind the arc. The future is bright.

BAZLEY GROWING

Nineteen years old, fearless, confident, and he is growing game after game: Darius Bazley. What was more impressive yesterday is that after a bad first half, he bounced back in the second one with personality, and impacted the game. Bazley finished in double-digit scoring once again: ten points (4-11 FG, 2-5 3PT), six rebounds, one assist, and two steals. If he keeps growing even just a little game after game, the Thunder might have found another gem. The future is bright part two.

DEFENSIVE FORCE

Small simple size always to keep in mind, but the Thunder are ranked 3rd in defensive rating at 98.3. This is quite a surprise and quite impressive considering this roster. Now, it’s only seven games, but if OKC can keep the defensive side of the floor competitive than they may end up winning more games than expected. The number is also impressive because the Thunder aren’t in the top 15 neither for steals neither for blocks. However, the Thunder are first in defending the three points line: opponents are shooting only an average of 27.3%.

MUSCALA OUCH 

Mike Muscala is really struggling to start this season. The twenty-eight years old is shooting 16% from the floor and 5% from behind the arc. Obviously, these numbers are awful, but the bigger problem is that the Thunder have a short rotation of only nine men so far, Muscala would be the 10th, but if he keeps playing like this, then Billy Donovan will have to look to somebody else down the bench.

NO EXPECTATION, STILL FUN

Oklahoma City isn’t a contender anymore, but the first seven games, despite a negative record, have been a lot of fun. Maybe it’s because there are no real expectations, so also the fans enjoy watching the young core develop without pressure. Last night, the game was close, but nobody was going crazy on social media about every possession, because actually, it doesn’t matter if the team wins or loses that much. After so many years of pressure, it’s interesting to watch a team at this stage.

 

Alberto Bodei

Twitter: @euro_thunder

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