The Oklahoma City Thunder Played Last Night In The D-League, Basically

Tulsa 66ers 100, Austin Toros 88 (Box Score)

  • Tulsa had three players from the Oklahoma City Thunder sent down on assignment.  If you weren't aware, that's a lot. The D-League's rules are that only two NBA players from a team can be sent down on assignment at the same time, but the limit is increased to four if the team has a single affiliation.  I wasn't aware of this rule until I asked about it last night, but I'm surprised this is the first time it's ever been taken advantage of.  Not only does it help the D-League team (obviously), but the assigned players are also able to develop some solid chemistry in real-time situations - assuming they'll someday be rotation players, this is invaluable.
  • The first of the Tulsa players I'd like to talk about is D.J. White - Austin simply had no answer for him.  Granted, hardly anyone can contain White in the D-League (granted it's only seven games, but it's pretty difficult to choose a game he's played poorly in), but Austin showed that they really have no big man depth behind Dwayne Jones, who was busy defending BJ Mullens.  This left the likes of Eddie Basden and Michael Joiner to try and defend White, though it didn't work. At all.  Austin was fairly effective at doubling and getting White to turn the ball over - okay, they were very effective judging from the eight turnovers he was credited with - but I'd argue the rest of his game probably, at worst, cancels out the turnovers.  White shot 11-of-14 from the field to score 27 points and grabbed nine boards.  It's not as impressive as it could have been considering Austin didn't really have anyone on the floor that could reasonably match-up with him, but it was still impressive.
  • The second Thunder player on assignment was Kyle Weaver, playing in his second game since November 24th when he separated his shoulder.  At the time, reports were that he wouldn't play until April, if at all this season, so the fact that he's come back at the beginning of March a) is great and b) means we should probably keep his performance for the next couple of weeks in perspective as he's likely still not at 100%.  That said, he did what he does in this game anyway - 16 points, nine assists, two steals and two blocks. He did have six turnovers credited to him, but one was a charge and a few, I felt, could have just as well been credited to his teammates not being able to hold on to his passes/sealing their defender.
  • The third Thunder player in this game, Don't Call Me B.J. Byron Mullens, is raw. We knew this when he was drafted.  He is who we thought he was.  He definitely has physical tools, but they aren't yet translating to the court.  Last night, he finished with six points on 3-of-8 shooting and added four rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes.  Alternatively, maybe Dwayne Jones really intimidated him, but that didn't really strike me as what was happening.
  • Larry Owens is making a solid case for himself. I'm not sure who he's making the case for (the NBA? Europe? A Summer League spot? Something else?), but he's been very solid this season for the 66ers.  15 points, 10 boards, 5-of-11 from the field.  Not much else I want from what was probably the fifth option in the starting lineup.
  • I rave about Mustafa Shakur every time I write about Tulsa.  You know I love his game, so I'm going to keep it short this morning - 16 points, seven assists and three steals while facilitating an offense that included three NBA players that have arrived in the past week. Numbers may not blow you off your feet, but kid's ready for the NBA.
  • For Austin, Alonzo Gee led the way.  I'm going to be honest with you, I have been severely underrating his offense this season.  For instance, did you know he's the fourth leading scorer (active) in the D-League with 21.0 points per game? Neither did I.  I guess with all of the Dwayne Jones hype down in Austin, I forget about him.  He goes hard to the rack, can finish with contact and, perhaps my favorite part of his game, is that sometimes when it looks like he's just going to lay something up he instead finds an extra gear and just soars for a dunk. Out of nowhere.  Anyway, last night he scored 22 points on 14 shots, but turned the ball over five times and didn't really contribute elsewhere (either in the box score or on defense).  Regardless, Gee has upside and it is ridiculous - as an energy guy that can score off the bench with the tools to improve on defense, I like him. I like him a lot.
  • Dwayne Jones had 16 points and 17 rebounds while matched up with a first round pick from this year's draft. If that doesn't get him called-up, it's not meant to be. Make some money, young man.
  • Squeaky Johnson has not been mentioned enough - on this website or otherwise.  Part of that has to due with him averaging less than five points per game this season, I guess, but I still like him.  He's probably not on NBA radars (though he was on the Spurs Summer League team this past season), but he's a great guy to have on your D-League team: He's been great in Austin as the ying to Curtis Jerrells' yang - he never looks to score first and initiates the offense quite well.  That said, he scored last night: 17 points while shooting 5-of-5 from beyond the arc in 21 minutes of action.
  • Speaking of Curtis Jerrells, this was not the game I should have watched considering I've been wanting to say nice things about him: 3-of-10 from the floor for seven points, four turnovers and three assists in 30 minutes of action.  He had tough match-ups all night, but he didn't look good.

Sioux Falls Skyforce 115, Springfield Armor 109 (Box Score)

  • I didn't watch this game, but it at least had highlights, so I figured I'd include a bit about it anyway.
  • Sioux Falls is without Reggie Williams, which I assumed would decimate their chances of winning for the rest of the season.  It hasn't - at least not against the Armor.
  • David Bailey, the 5-foot-6 point guard out of Loyola-Chicago, had 32 points and eight assists.  He's a good veteran and a great minor league point guard, but I can't say I saw that coming.
  • Alexander Johnson seems to be embracing his role coming off of the bench for the Skyforce.  Actually, I don't know that, but since he scored 27 points and added 12 boards, he can't be too upset about it.
  • Greg Stiemsma didn't miss a shot (5-of-5 from the field, 1-of-1 at the line) to finish with an efficient 11 points and six rebounds. Oh, he also had six freakin' blocks. That is all.
  • Justin Hawkins is good. I told you this last time. He poured in 28 points and added four assists, four boards and four steals.
  • Dante Milligan got the start at center. As far as I knew, he wasn't a center, but Dee Brown started him their anyway.  Unlike some of Brown's decisions this year, it worked (Sorry, Dee!).  Milligan scored 24 points and added 11 rebounds.  Interesting.

The other game from last night, Los Angeles at Fort Wayne, didn't have highlights uploaded as of this writing and since I didn't watch, I probably would have said something that was wrong.  Therefore, check the box score if you're interested in that game.

Unfortunately for D-League bigmen fans, it didn't include Jared Reiner (left Fort Wayne "due to personal reasons"), Rob Kurz (leg injury that just won't get better) and Diamon Simpson, who took a job in the Phillipines.

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