The first day of school jitters are out, and it’s time for the Thunder to get back to business. After a win in scrimmage number one against the Boston Celtics on Friday, the Thunder fought through a tough 2.5 quarters and came back in Thunder-like fashion, defeating the 76ers 102-97.
Here are five quick facts after OKC’s second scrimmage.
Shots weren’t falling for OKC through most of the game.
OKC didn’t look too shabby to start the game, but that was it. They shot 3-7 (42.9%) from three and wouldn’t make another until the 2:39 mark of the third quarter by Darius Bazley. They went on to make three consecutive triples while closing out the third quarter on a 13-0 run.
Shots started falling for OKC to end the game.
And this is half of the reason why OKC pulled out an unlikely comeback in a scrimmage format. After a 3-15 start shooting from three, they shot 8-23 in the second half, but those eight makes came at vital points in the game. I’ve mentioned the consecutive triples by Bazley, but Andre Roberson, in his second game back from injury, drained two clutch threes to put OKC in the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter.
Dre’s defense permeated through the entire team when it counted.
The Thunder’s defensive effort through those first 2.5 quarters was abysmal. They allowed 55 points from the 76ers in the first half and looked like they were playing in quicksand. Dre checked in towards the later stages of the third frame and reminded us why he was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2018 before his injury. He was a +29, which was the highest on the team.
Darius Bazley looks good and confident.
His teammates were raving about how improved Darius Bazley was, simply because of his confidence and improved strength. We saw flashes of how elite he can be, especially during that spurt where he hit consecutive threes while adding a steal and a block. Bazley is the definition of active.
Shai’s shot wasn’t falling, but he still made himself affective.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shot 5-15 for the game and 1-6 from three, which is unusual for him. He’s usually pretty efficient, and when he’s not, he shies away from his offense. Today, he could have shot the Thunder out of the game but found a way to make an impact, adding seven rebounds, 5 assists, and two steals.