Thunder 74, Bulls 80.

This is only Vegas Summer league, but if you followed the Thunder last season I have a question: When do you ever remember the Thunder equaling or besting the opponent in three point shots attempted.  Ever?

We were by far the lightest 3fga shooting team in the association last year, but maybe things are beginning to change.  Tonight we hoisted 19 of them, tying the Bulls, which has to be a first for a the Thunder. Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but 19 is a lot for the Thunder.  We were the only team that attempted less than 1000 of them all season. We averaged a mere 11 or so per game and the league average is over 18, so 19 is a big step up.

But, regardless of that fact, the Thunder still lost to the Bulls largely by turning the ball over at a record pace in the second quarter (9 times) and only putting 14 points on the board.  31 points in the first half is nothing to write home about.  Also the Thunder really failed to defend the perimeter. The Bulls seemed like they were just splashing away from deep with little resistance.  Anthony Roberson was 9/16 and kept draining  big shots.

I thought it interesting that the first two offensive possessions for the Thunder featured Lord Byron Mullins posting up deep in the paint. He scored on the first with a little lefty hook, and he missed on the second little turnaround, but he looked good and comfortable. More on that later.

  • Kyle Weaver started at the point and logged 35 minutes, only being spelled by Keith Mcleod for a bit in the absence of Livingston or Westbrook. Weaver was sort of hit and miss tonight; he had 2 blocks, 4 boards and 4 assists to go with his 5 points, but he also had 7 fouls and 4 turns. I thought he handled the occasional trap and press pretty well.  Those aren’t where his turns came from.  They came from him trying to be tricky with behind the back passes and forcing the issue in traffic.  I think he can be our third PG, but he needs to master the safe pass before he gets Pistol Pete fancy.
  • As mentioned, Lord Byron was getting touches tonight.  He had 7 points (3/9 shooting) and 7 boards, 6 of which were O-rebs. But the best part of the Mullens experience tonight was when he was being interviewed by Antonio Harvey and the other guy (name?) for the NBA broadcast, he mentioned that the team and his trainers already knew that he had a solid post game, and that he was emphasizing his jumpshot now to balance it out…really?  Thunder fans are still waiting to see the post game.
  • James Harden had another fine night with 20 points, 5 assists and 2 boards to sort of off set his 4 turns.  He was 4/9 from deep and is now at 37.5% from trey land in Vegas.  He’s also shooting 50% from the field overall in Vegas.  He is going to be a nice player for the Thunder.
  • D.J. White was his smooth as silk self once again with 15 and 8 in only 25 minutes.  He’s looking to be an excellent late first round pickup.  He is so money with the pick and pop, ala Joe Smith or David West.  He’s now shooting 60% from the field in Vegas, and sitting at about 11 and 5 in just over 19 mpg.
  • Darth Vaden had a respectable evening with 14 points on 5/9 shooting. He buried a deep jumper falling down and off balance, and then later airballed a three with a few seconds left in the game. I think he is going to be a very useful streaky shooter for the Thunder.  One shot that sticks in my mind was a little head fake and side step to create space for a deep field goal. One second you will get the ESPN highlight game winning shot, the next you’ll wonder why he’s in uniform.  But he’s now shooting 50% from the field and 55% from trey land in Vegas,  so there is some promise.
  • Poor Antonio Harvey commenting about the Thunder roster tonight and talking in depth about some of the sort of lesser known assets mentioned how much he liked Earl Watson and how much he thought Earl brought to the table.
  • Ibaka has a lot of energy and a lot of athleticism, but his shots weren’t falling tonight.  He did grab 5 boards.
  • I think Devon Hardin’s game was worth a mention tonight. Devon had 9 points (7 of which were from the line), 4 boards, an assist and a steal in just under 15 minutes. I like his game. As Antonio  Harvey mentioned he is a banger. He likes the contact and will protect the rim and take the charge. I don’t think he’s under any allusions about him being an offensive threat. I think he knows he’s there to patrol the paint and play tough defense. I like his athleticism and I can see him being sort of an Erving Johnson type of player for the Thunder.
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What is it with the NBA.Com box score?  Every time I check it it never has the Thunder logo, but the opposing team’s is always there…We are being snubbed!

According to the schedule we play tomorrow afternoon in the early game (4 pm Eastern) against the Mavs.  Go Thunder!!

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