Thunder (2-0, 11 points) vs. Hornets (1-1, 8.5 points)
Time: 4:00 PM CST
There’s still a game to be played, though…
After a shaky first half, the Oklahoma City Thunder finally pulled away from the Los Angeles Clippers in the fourth quarter to win their second summer league game, 81-72. Cameron Payne scored 15 of his 25 points in the 2nd half, doing most of his damage from the free throw line, going a perfect 14/14 for the game. Mitch McGary and Dakari Johnson dominated on the inside for the Thunder, combining for 33 points, 21 boards, and 6 steals. Brice Johnson played well for the Clippers, scoring 23 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, but struggled in containing the two big men for the Thunder, racking up 7 fouls for the game. Josh Huestis had an Andre Roberson-like performance, scoring just 8 points, but also grabbing 7 boards to go along with one steal and one block, while also having a +12 on the +/- column.
I was waiting for the Frank Kaminsky vs. Mitch McGary rematch from last year’s summer league. But Kaminsky is out with injury and will not participate this season. The most veteran player on the Hornets’ team is Aaron Harrison. He played 21 games for the Hornets last season and is looking to take advantage of Jeremy Lin’s absence after he signed with the Brooklyn Nets this offseason. On the other wing, Brandon Paul, out of Illinois, has the capability to get hot from the outside quick. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter of their first game against the Orlando White team. The rest of the team is filled NBA hopefuls who will likely be playing in places other than the NBA next season.
As for this game, look for Cameron Payne to sit this one out. Semaj Christon sat the last game out and the Thunder likely want to see what Christon can do with full control of the team. Look for the bench to be more involved in this game, with looks at players like Max Hooper, Tomislav Zubcic, and Ryan Spangler getting more time.
It’s a scary road ahead, but this is where it starts. Carry on….