Sorry this is late getting up, folks. My computer started making a loud noise as I was writing it last night, which I took to mean "turn off the computer now." But anyway, I also attended last night's Spurs vs. Thunder game, which was played in Austin but which was considered a Thunder home game. It was very odd, and I can only guess that they did it because Kevin Durant went to UT, and they thought people would root for Oklahoma City just because of that. I saw maybe one OKC jersey, the rest were all silver and black. Or maybe they just didn't care and wanted the gate money, which is fine. Whatever the case, it got me ready for the season to start so that I can write about games after watching them, and not just write "so-and-so grabbed three rebounds in three minutes." Not that you shouldn't read that if I write it.
So let's talk about this one first. Most of what I saw has to do with players this website doesn't really care about, so I won't bore you with them here, but Shaun Livingston, Curtis Jerrells, Tre Kelley and Malik Hairston all got some playing time, and they looked okay to varying degrees. Livingston had a hard time keeping up with George Hill, but he was decent on the offensive end (he finished with four points on 2-4 shooting). Jerrells played pretty good defense when matched up against Livingston, but his biggest issue was fighting through and/or getting around screens. The Thunder ran him threw several of them and he got lost on all of them. Tre Kelley also was able to take him off the dribble several times, and Kelley made both of his field goals, which came getting to the basket for layups or dunks. Hairston probably played the best of the group, though he took a few minutes to settle down. He made two of his three shots, picked up an assist and generally looked good within the flow of the Spurs offense.
Utah Jazz 108, Portland Trailblazers 97
Kyrylo Fesenko had a solid game, with eight points (though it came on eight shots), six rebounds and three blocks...except he also fouled out in 13 minutes and turned the ball over four times. Oh Kyrylo. Kosta Koufos gave the Jazz the solid rebounding and no turnovers but also no offense. Five boards in a little over 14 minutes and zero points. Oh Kouf. Ime Udoka was okay, 11 points on 3-7 shooting in 16 and a half minutes, although he didn't have any of the rebounding or assists/steals that he'll probably need to regularly produce in order to make the team.
Dontell Jefferson didn't have a great night last night, 0-2 shooting with two turnovers in six minutes, but the big story was Raja Bell spraining his wrist. Now, I never root for guys to get hurt, because I'm not a monster. But certainly the opportunity is now there for Jefferson to get more playing time as a lockdown backcourt defender, particularly on a Larry Brown-coached team, and I hope he's able to take advantage of it.
All J.R. Giddens does is rebound. 0-3 shooting in a little over eight minutes, but he also grabbed five rebounds, including four on the offensive end (who knows how many of those were off his own misses). I have no idea what it's going to take to get him to find a passable offensive game on the NBA level, but if he's given a shot in the NBA I think he could be the greatest rebounding guard ever.
Jared Reiner finally got some playing time, and while the offense wasn't good (two points on three shots), the rest of it was decent, as he grabbed three rebounds and picked up an assist in eight minutes. No fouls, either.