The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Boston Celtics today in their third Orlando Pro Summer league contest. The Thunder pushed their record to 2-1 behind an impressive showing from Russell Westbrook. Before we delve into the box score, though, a couple of interesting notes. First, the official site has a blurb about
B.J. Byron Mullens:
Also, rookie center B.J. Mullens is asking to be referred to by his give name, Byron. So from now on, it’s Byron Mullens.
I know the Ohio State blogger that we interviewed said he went by B.J. and seemed shocked that we even asked, so this is a bit of a surprise. Also, for those of you who are worried about Serge Ibaka not playing, it appears he was just being rested, and there's no injury that I know of.
This was the Thunder's third game in as many days, so guys who had been receiving a lot of minutes, like James Harden and Serge Ibaka, were either rested or had their minutes cut. This provided opportunities for guys like DeVon Hardin and Robert Vaden, the rookie from UAB. Despite some unfamiliar faces getting the bulk of the minutes, the Thunder managed to get a solid victory.
On to the box score:
More stuff after the jump!
- Russell Westbrook had an impressive line today and he led the team in points, assists and steals. Unfortunately he still led the team in turnovers, but he managed to cut that down from higher totals in the first two games. In fact, Westbrook's point total was his high mark in the summer league so far, and the highest point total posted by a Thunder player so far. Westbrook is averaging 23.3 points per game across the first three games. As the official site pointed out: "There doesn’t seem to be a player in this summer league who can keep up with him, and he demonstrated that by blowing past defenders from the opening tip."
- Shaun Livingston appears to continue to play well in bursts. Today he performed admirably in the first half, scoring 8 of his 10 points before halftime.
- If you're discouraged by Harden's figures, remember that he only played 13:49 worth of game time. If you project this out to about 30 minutes of playing time he would have had 20 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals, which wouldn't be bad at all.
- DeVon Hardin did pretty well and led the team in rebounds and blocked shots. He also contributed 11 points in nearly 19 minutes of playing time.
- D.J. White had 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Pretty efficient, no?
- Kyle Weaver finally contributed a bit more offensively, producing 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Despite all of this, there are still some obvious things that the Thunder need to work on. They continue to disappoint from beyond the arc, making only one three pointer today on 6 attempts (16.7%). The Thunder also turned the ball over 18 times which led to 34 points for the Celtics. Meanwhile the Thunder only got 19 points on 17 Celtics' turnovers.
Yesterday the Thunder got brutalized by Roy Hibbert and company down low, getting outscored in the paint. However, today, Oklahoma City managed to win the points-in-the-paint battle 48-38. They also led in fastbreak points 17-8 and in second chance points 16-10. They shot a remarkable 90% from the charity stripe (27-30) and led by as many as 18 points.
Up next, the Thunder play tomorrow at 3 PM against what is listed as New Jersey/Philadelphia.