Well. It’s finally here. The 2021-2022 NBA Season is upon us. I don’t know about you, but it’s nice to feel like we’re (hopefully) getting a normal, full 82-game season.
The Thunder, a team many suspect could have the NBA’s worst record this season, played the Utah Jazz, a team that is arguably one of the best in the league. It went how it was supposed to go. The Thunder showed some great ball movement at times, and rookies Tre Mann, Josh Giddey, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl got some really good minutes in. The Jazz are just a much better team than the Thunder and owned the majority of this game.
The good news though? I think this team is going to be enjoyable to watch. There’s going to be a lot of losses. A lot. Prepare yourself. But I don’t think we will see much outright tanking. The Thunder will lose by simply being inexperienced and letting their young players play through their growing pains.
Thunder basketball is going to be like a proud uncle watching his awesome 3rd grade nephew play basketball. Sure, he’s traveling every now-and-then, and some of the shots miss the rim by a foot, but the kid’s gonna be goooood.
All in all, it was an okay opening night for the Thunder. We saw some flashes from the young guys, and I’m going to be pretty happy any time we come out of any game without an injury.
Let’s get to the postgame thoughts:
- Derrick Favors started for the Thunder tonight. It wasn’t much of a revenge game though… Favors: 4 pts (2-7), 10 rebounds, 3 assists in 28 minutes.
- Favors actually has @BoomtownHoops blocked on Twitter. So even if he did have any highlights, he wouldn’t have seen them from our account.
- If someone knows Derrick… or sees him around… put in a good word for us.
- He blocked us after we tweeted this a few years ago:
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was better than Favors tonight. I do think Favors will keep the starting spot that way JRE gets to come in and work off the PnR with Mann and others in the second unit.
- JRE is going to be a pretty solid player this season. He’s good. Robinson-Earl: 10 points, 2-3 3PT (13 minutes)
- Giddey was fine, although if the preseason told us anything, he can do more.
- Giddey: 4 pts (2-7 FG), 10 rebounds, 3 ast.
- 10 rebounds in your first game as a rookie. Not bad, John B. Not bad. (That’s an Outer Banks joke.)
- Bazley had a bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde game.
- In the first half looked, Baze like he was settling for a lot of tough three-point shots. His second half was much more aggressive. Oh and he did this:
- Lu Dort defending Donovan Mitchell is a thing. In the first half, Mitchell scored 2 points on 1-8 shooting.
- Mitchell finished with 16 points on 6-17 shooting. (3-10 3PT)
- At one point Lu Dort got tangled up with Whiteside in the lane. The two fell to the ground and a foul was called. Royce O’Neale came over to help and tripped over Lu Dort. The fact that Dort gave O’Neale was hilarious, and would probably cause me to wet my pants.
- There was a person screaming the most horrifying sound I’ve ever heard during free throws. I know the Utah Jazz probably have bigger fish to fry in terms of how their fans behave, but man that was annoying.
- Tre Mann did some really nice things. I’m not as hyped on Mann as some have been, but the young man is winning me over slowly. Mann: 9 pts in 14 minutes (4-7 FG)
- SGA spent a lot of time trying to create for others tonight. That’s probably what this team needed tonight, but I wanted to see Shai try to score more.
- Shai: 18 pts (7-17), 4 reb, 2 ast.
- Once again, I was encouraged about the upcoming season with how Coach Daigneault handled this game.
- With the game clearly out of reach late in the fourth, the Thunder still had minutes with SGA, Dort, Baze, and Giddey on the court. As a fan, I like that.
- Vit Krejci got 3 minutes of garbage time. He grabbed a rebound.
- Next up: in Houston vs. The Rockets on Friday.