In a game that saw both teams sit their stars, the Memphis Grizzlies proved thoroughly superior, 94-78. The game's leading scorer was JaMychal Green, who chipped in 18 points. JaMychal was tremendous with his back to the basket, and was a big catalyst behind a first quarter 18-6 Grizzly run. Ryan Hollins was also a major contributor to the Grizzly cause, going a perfect 6 of 6 from the field for 16 points. Hollins worked mostly off of picks, terrorizing smaller Thunder lineups. Other double-digit contributors for the Grizz include Jeff Green and Russ Smith.
On the Thunder's side of things, Steven Adams had a very productive game. Adams was an efficient 6 of 8 from the field, and his short hook game was looking strong. Adams was also a difference maker on defense. Specifically, Adams did a great job of shutting down the pick and roll, as well as crowding guards on mismatches. Anthony Morrow had a strong performance from behind the arc, shooting 4 of 10. Even Cameron Payne managed to light it up late, logging 11 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
But Adams, Morrow, and Payne had flaws to their performances as well. Adams was stranded in mid-range on offense a couple of times, and ended the game with 4 turnovers. Anthony Morrow shot a ghastly 1 of 5 from inside the arc. Cameron Payne had 3 turnovers, and was 1-5 from beyond the arc. Still, it's hard to blame any of these players for failing in these areas. They were asked to do way more than they normally would in a regular season game, and performed admirably.
Huestis, Singler, Waiters struggle
The Thunder lost this game by a ton, and there are definitely suspects to blame. Two guys you immediately look at are Josh Huestis and Kyle Singler, both of whom were 0-5 from the field. I saw all 10 of these shots, and only one or two of them looked as if they had any chance of going in. Singler and Huestis just aren't very good at scoring off the dribble, and were asked to shoot a lot of bailout shots tonight.
Dion Waiters, on the other hand, should have been in his element. With all four of the Thunder's other good scorers out, Dion basically had the keys to the offense. But Waiters was completely shut out of the paint, and it was hard for him to find a shot in the halfcourt. Furthermore, Waiters was so ball-dominant at times that he had a hard time finding his teammates. During a six possession stretch in the first, Dion turned it over thrice and missed a three twice. Waiters also shot the ball thrice during a four possession stretch in the third.
All of that would be okay, but Dion was ridiculously inefficient. 25% from the floor is a pretty low mark, especially when you're 0-5 from three. Even the places Dion was taking shots from were bad. Why so many ultra-long twos?
Waiters also had 6 turnovers to 5 assists. An assist to turnover ratio of less than one should never be acceptable for a guard. To be fair, Waiters did have some moments of glory. 2 offensive rebounds and 3 steals equate to five possessions won, which almost makes up for the six possessions he turned over. Also, Waiters was effective when he could get out in transition. But Dion was hard to watch tonight, and you can only hope that the presence of the Thunder's stars will change things.
- Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka were all resting. No injuries. All of them sat on the bench with their teammates. They will return for the Thunder's game against the Nuggets on Sunday, as well as Wednesday's game at the Jazz.
- Enes Kanter sprained his ankle against Fenerbahce and sat tonight. His status for Sunday is unknown.
- Cameron Payne was supposedly going to sit with a sprained ankle. In fact, according to the official Thunder pre-game show on WWLS, Payne wasn't even with the team. But Payne ended up playing tonight regardless. Crazy!
- Mitch McGary was hit in the face by Matt Barnes, and left the game with concussive-like symptoms. Given Barnes' past, it's easy to draw conclusions here. But I didn't see anything to indicate that the hit was malicious.
- Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, and Tony Allen all rested. No injuries.
- Beno Udrih was out with a sprained ankle. Jarell Martin and Jordan Adams were out with foot and knee injuries, respectively.
- Nick Collison missed two wide open corner threes tonight. Given that Nick is 26% over the past two years with 77 attempts, I'm not sure if that will ever come to his game.
- The Adams-Collison front court did a great job of defending the basket early. In the first 10 minutes, the Grizzlies were only 5-13 from inside the paint.
- However, the Thunder had a whopping 7 turnovers during the first quarter. It's really hard to have Collison and Adams in a lineup with Roberson, because there just aren't a lot of offensive options.
- D.J. Augustin had his best game of the pre-season. 7 Points on 3-8 shooting, 3 assists to 1 turnover. Not bad, especially considering Augustin didn't have Kanter or McGary to work with. Augustin always knows how to take smart shots, he just has trouble making them. But even during bad games, D.J usually finds a way to contribute in some way. Really split between him and Payne at point guard right now.
- Andre Roberson isn't afraid to attack the rim in traffic anymore, and it's really starting to separate his game from Thabo Sefolosha's. Roberson had a coast to coast steal though, and that's very Thabo-esque.
- Until McGary went out, he was in a four possession tete-a-tete with JaMychal Green. Both players, in principle, scored on each other twice. Would have really liked to see it go further, a shame Mitch got injured. While Mitch was suffering from consussive-like symptoms, he got called for defensive three in the key and missed a layup. Makes sense that he was taken out of the game.
- Despite Singler's bad game, he had two good contests on Carter threes.
- Between the first and second quarters, there was a 5:38 stretch with no Thunder points.
- OKC was 7-36 from three tonight. That's what happens with all shooters and no drivers.
- Talib Zanna set some nice picks for Cameron Payne, and even got fouled on a dunk attempt. Zanna's most memorable moment was deep in the fourth quarter, though. On a rebound, Zanna had trouble securing the ball. So Zanna ran around trying to secure the ball, and had to fight off three separate Grizzly defenders. Zanna eventually won possession, and the Thunder got a shot. Hopefully I'll be able to show you footage at some point, because it was glorious hustle.
- Kind of hilariously, Steven Adams and Nick Collison came into the blowout halfway through the third quarter. They couldn't do anything to stop the Grizzlies from getting to the line....
- ...so Donovan responded by playing this absurd lineup of Zanna-Roberson-Huestis-Morrow-Payne. That lineup got outscored 9-3, thanks to a miracle long Morrow three. Also, that lineup pretty much cleared out to allow Jeff Green to take an open three at one point. I hope we never see this lineup again.
- Anthony Morrow airballed a three. He is human!
- One of Josh Huestis' threes was absurdly bad. Josh had all the time in the world, and just threw the ball right over the rim. It clonked off the backboard. Sigh....
- Why was Steven Adams playing 32 minutes? Especially when he missed the first game with a bruised back.
- Steve Novak came in and immediately hit a pick and pop three. Novak even had a steal in transition! You can never take your eyes off of that guy. Novak also had another pick and pop with Morrow, but that didn't go down.
- 45% of OKC's shots taken were threes. They only made 19% of them. Too much.
- The Memphis Grizzlies have two players with the last name Green, and two players with the last name Carter. The Grizz even have a player with the first name Jarnell, and another player with the first name Jarell. Clearly, the illuminati are pulling pranks on us all.
Thunder Wonder: Steven Adams, the hookmasta
Thunder Plunderer: Cameron Payne, garbage time all-star
Thunder Blunder: Dion Waiters, who had too many stepbacks and not enough and ones
Thunder Plunderer: JaMychal Green, the power scoring machine
Next Game: Versus the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, October 17th, 6 PM Central Daylight Time.
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