Start time - 7 p.m (CT)
Broadcaster - OKC Thunder app, Okcthunder.com
Oklahoma City come into tonight’s back to back after a strong win against the Nuggets, Denver played their best starting five in the fourth quarter as they tried to put the win away. The Thunder’s young players more than matched one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference.
The game was defined by Josh Giddey’s heroics late in the game. Giddey took over in the fourth quarter and ran the game for the Thunder. The ball landed in his hands and he was able to make things happen. Yesterday’s performance was another strong performance from Josh and he is looking much better than advertised.
I have to say that I am really surprised with how Giddey has come haring out of the gate. Giddey was such a high level prospect in the NBL but I thought that the adaptation period would be tricky for Giddey. The NBL is a physical, grinding league whereas the modern NBA is all about pace and athleticism.
So far, Josh has taken to the NBA like a duck to water and does not look out of place. In fact, I would say that Giddey plays with the sort of swagger that you love to see from young players. He looks to be undaunted by the challenge of the NBA and that will stand him in good stead whenever he faces the cream of the crop.
Tre Mann finally had a game where we could see why Sam Presti opted to take the shifty young guard. We all know that Mann can find separation at all times with his quickness and tight handle but his finishing looked to be suspect during Summer League. He had a game against Denver where he put the ball in the bucket and made his dribble moves count.
It was a mature performance from Tre Mann and one that we need to see more often. I think that Tre could seriously be a three-level microwave scorer off the bench in the mould of Lou Williams but Williams’ greatest skill is his consistency. For Mann to reach that level, he has to ensure that he has efficient 16 point night regularly.
Darius Bazley has been much maligned over the last year or so. I will admit that I still have my doubts about Bazley and his long-term future with the team. However, last night’s performance was proof of what Darius can do when he puts it all together and plays under control.
Bazley outplayed Michael Porter Jr and played freely. We did not see hesitant Baze pawing at the defense and doubting his own shot. We saw Darius play with confidence in his game and break down the defense down off the drive. The key for Darius is having a short memory and pushing those moments of self doubt away. Providing that Bazley can play with that decisiveness and focus, he should be in for a good season.