Bricktown Beat

Thunder @ Bulls Game Preview: How to Watch, and Who To Look Out For

Oklahoma City Thunder (1-o) @ Chicago Bulls (1-1)

Tip Off: 6:00 CST

How to Watch:

Thunder Website- https://www.nba.com/thunder/live

Note: Game may be locked depending on location.

Game Notes:

The Thunder have four players not active for the game.

  • Darius Miller
  • Josh Hall
  • Ty Jerome
  • Trevor Ariza

More info on that here

The Bulls have six players not active for the game.

  • Thad Young
  • Denzel Valentine
  • Garrett Temple
  • Tomas Satoransky
  • Devon Dotson
  • Adam Mokota

Current Roster Heading into Wednesday’s Game:

Point Guards: Shae Gilgeous-Alexander, George Hill, Frank Jackson, Theo Maledon

Shooting Guards: Luguentz Dort, Hamidou Diallo, Admiral Schofield

Small Forwards: Isaiah Roby, Justin Jackson, Kenrich Williams

Power Forwards: Darius Bazely, Aleksej Pokusevski T.J. Leaf,

Centers: Al Horford, Mike Muscala, Moses Brown

Key Matchup:

Lu Dort vs. Zach Lavine

Lavine poses a different threat to Dort than what he is used to from guarding Harden in the playoffs. Both Lavine and Harden are some of the best penetrators in the game, but he is nowhere close to the speed and athletic ability of Lavine. Seeing how Dort is able to respond to Lavine’s ability to drive inside will be a point of notice.

Dort capped his season off going a surprising 6-12 from 3 in game 7 of the First Round after being ice cold the whole playoff series from beyond the arch. Will he be able to pick up where he left off from distance?

Who To Watch:

Theo Maledon– PG/SG

Topping the list for the second game in a row, Maledon impressed in his debut with 20/5/2 splits. His performance out of the pick and roll was at an elite level on Saturday, so fully expect to see him being the ball handler on screens. He and SGA hardly had any run together against the Spurs, but I’d expect Daigneault to throw the pairing together at some point tommorow.

Frank Jackson– PG

Consistency is key. Frank Jackson struggled all of last year maintaining a high level of play, having spurts of both brilliant and godawful outings. You do not want to speak too soon as two games is nothing relative to a season, but it will be a nice sign if he is able to draw up a nice second game. Jackson displayed a great deal of offense at all three levels on Saturday, so we’ll if he stays true in all those areas.

Darius Bazely- PF

Bazley has not played a “real” power forward since the NBA bubble play in games, as his mashups often consisted of undersized 4’s or stretch bigs such as Robert Covington or Jeff Green. Chicago’s roster is stacked to the brim on players at the position. Lauri Markannen stands 7’0″ and his projected backups are Daniel Gafford (6’10”, 234) and Simsola Shittu (6’10”, 240.) This is a good test for Bazely as Markannen is really an oversized stretch 4 while Gafford and Shittu are inside bigs who are not overwhelmingly big but do pose a good challenge for him.

Fans have also flocked to the idea of Bazley being a secondary ball-handler with SGA. I love it as well. Bazley’s speed with the ball with his athleticism makes him extremely hard to guard, especially when his matchup is likely going to be a PF in those situations. Well see if Mark gives him the greenlight to do so.

Honorable Mentions:

Aleksej Pokusevski- Deserves to be in the “Who to Watch” category really, Poku ended the game on fire from 3 making three in the span of just over a minute. He had his moments passing the ball and playing in transition.

Isaiah Roby- SF– Roby was the most underrated player from Saturday’s game, he did perfectly fine guarding PF’s and Centers and boxing them out for rebounds. He was active on defense picking up three steals and most importantly he was the perfect screen setter for Theo Maledon. Not sure if he will still be playing a similar role with Horford and Bazley back, but you never know.

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