Tuesday, October 4 2022

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s two-game winning streak has ended with a 137-101 loss to the Utah Jazz. The Thunder goes back to its losing ways as the franchise tries to keep its fourth-best lottery odds as the Indiana Pacers are just one game back in the reverse standings. With Tuesday’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers, priorities have shifted from trying to sneak into the top three lottery odds to fighting off the Pacers and keeping its fourth-best lottery odds.

The Jazz — who were without Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale — were led by Rudy Gobert’s 20 points and Bojan Bogdanovic’s 37 points in a comfortable win where the result really wasn’t in question for the most part.

Meanwhile, the Thunder — where half of the players who touched the floor were signed just recently on 10-day deals — were able to produce quality offense and score with ease despite having more G League than NBA talent suited up. Let’s take a look at player grades.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: A

With the lack of legit NBA talent, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl was able to put up more shots as usual this game as he sat out the first game of this final back-to-back of the season. Robinson-Earl scored a career-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting in a limited 16 minutes.

Bringing Robinson-Earl back to play the final couple weeks of the season after fracturing his foot was a questionable decision as it runs the unnecessary risk of reaggravating the injury. The decision started to look back when Robinson-Earl missed time due to a sore foot. But a game like this is probably a big positive in that decision as Robinson-Earl looked as good as he has in months.

Jaylen Hoard: A

Jaylen Hoard continues his dominance as he finished this game with 23 points and shot 5-of-8 from three. The outside shooting was a bit surprising as Hoard is a career one-percent shooter from three in three seasons.

Nonetheless, Hoard might not have a future with the Thunder, but he deserves credit for taking advantage of his 10-day contract as he has been one of the Thunder’s better players during this span.

Isaiah Roby: B

Isaiah Roby finished the game with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Roby shot the ball solidly well from outside as he went 4-of-6 from deep. Without any other true big man on the roster due to Olivier Sarr’s release, expect Roby to start the final two games of the season in Los Angeles.

Lindy Waters III: C+

After playing just four minutes where he scored eight points against the Trail Blazers, Lindy Waters III saw an uptick in minutes on the second night of this back-to-back that saw him play 27 minutes. Waters III finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting.

Nine of those points came in a 48-second span during the second quarter that showcased Waters III potential as a microwave score due to his ability to move off the ball and find looks from deep. Waters III has impressed since being signed to a two-way deal and it is a fair assumption to make that the second season of his two-way deal will be picked up by the time in the offseason.

Zavier Simpson: B

In his second career NBA game, Zavier Simpson was able to rack up the assists and finish with 11 dimes. While the shot wasn’t there as he scored just four points on 2-of-10 shooting, Simpson’s ability to play make was in full display this game.

Just like with Hoard, Melvin Frazier Jr. and Georgios Kalaitzakis, the odds of any of these recently signed G League guys sticking with the team beyond Sunday are slim to none. But it’s nice to see the franchise reward guys who are G League troopers and bring a level of professionalism in the developmental level of the team.



Source: Yahoo Sports


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