In one of the toughest pre-season games ever witnessed, the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder, 110-94. The game was only broadcast online with no archive last night, so here’s some thoughts off the top of my head:
1) Huestis actually has an offensive game
We didn’t get much of an opportunity to view it last season, as Huestis really only attempted threes and dunks during the course of games. But Josh Huestis has really stepped up in terms of his ability to shoot off the dribble, nailing a couple of mid-range shots. Obviously, we won’t be running Huestis off of any screens. But Huestis proved tonight that he can step in when he’s challenged at the three point line. Moreover, Huestis can score in limited one on one situations where he’s semi close-to the basket. Both of these options could bail the Thunder out of a lot of situations.
2) Victor Oladipo doesn’t do well against tough interior defenses
It’s well known that Gasol is one of the best defensive centers in the league. And Oladipo, who can sometimes lack range, really struggles when he can’t find a way to the hoop. Oladipo is going to need that three point shot to develop, or at least start falling.
3) Collison, Lauvergne, and Tarcewski combined to stop Gasol inside the arc
It was good to see Nick Collison get some serious time, especially defending an All-Star caliber player. Reminded me of those historic playoff series that the Thunder and Grizzlies have played. But all three of these guys did an excellent job of bodying up Gasol and not letting him get the position he wanted. Gasol was only 2 of 11 inside the arc. The downside was that Gasol was 3 of 5 from three. Just gotta shrug an say, “it happens”.
4) Singler’s run continues to be a farce
When you hit 5 of 6 from three, it’s generally pretty impressive. But Singler might as well have been taking shots in an open gym. The knock on Singler has never been that he doesn’t know where to be, or that he can’t hit threes. The knock on Singler is that he’s been especially bad for OKC in pressure situations, so there’s little Cingler can do in the pre-season to change that. And the 4 turnovers on his statline basically tell the whole story.
5) The Grizzlies and Thunder still hate each other.
Unbelievably, Westbrook and Gasol almost got into a fight during the middle of the second quarter. It’s unexpected given that it’s Pre-Season. But the game got so chippy during the second quarter specifically that it was a bit easier to understand why the brawl happened. It seemed as if there was a foul called on every other possession. Anyway, the refs had to consult video replay. But there was no connection to the NBA replay center in Tulsa. So the refs had to stand on the court, looking at this geeky old monitor. Funny moment for sure.
Slammin’ Notes: Adams and Kanter didn’t play, so this game hardly even resembles the actual Thunder....Semaj Christon is a lot more exciting than Ronnie Price at this point, but he’s going to need a good pick and roll partner....Zach Randolph had the green light from three, and it was glorious....
Michael Cage Line of the Game: “Get him some Samsonite luggage, because that was a travel!”
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook. Statline isn’t impressive, but he led some runs.
Thunder Down Under: Alex Abrines, who was succeeding without a lot of star power on the floor
Thunder Blunder: Victor Oladipo, he’ll explode for greatness any time now
Thunder Plunderer: Mike Conley, screen user extraordinaire
Next Game: Versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday, October 16th, 6 PM Central Daylight Time.
What did you think of tonight’s game? Drop a comment and let us know!
LINKS: Box Score