The Oklahoma City Blue entered Friday’s contest with high hopes of remaining unscathed in the win/loss column with a victory against the highly-regarded G-League Ignite. Those aspirations were shot down however as the Ignite pulled their way to victory in the closing minutes to wield a 103-109 victory over Oklahoma City.
The Ignite lit into flames to begin the contest as they blazed out to a 7-0 run after three quick Pokusevski turnovers in the first 90 seconds of the frame. Poku and his teammates put out the Ignite’s quick streak with one of their own— posting 9 straight points to command a lead. Upon the Blue’s jolt, neither side could find any more quick runs as they were deadlocked at 20 through the first 12 minutes. The second period saw Moses Brown come into his own, tallying 8 points in the period off 4-of-5 shooting, and help propel the Blue infront of the Ignite for the majority of the quarter. Major separation came in the ladder part of the half when Thunder assignees Ty Jerome and Aleksej Pokusevski got in sync, as Jerome went on to have 3 assists in the closing minutes along with Poku’s two triples to give them a three-point— 48-45 advantage by half. Statlines through quarter’s one and two reflected almost identical styles of play the Ignite and Blue shot 38% from the floor with the only point differentials coming off two more Ignite threes and two more Blue layups (which can could anywhere from 1-to-3 points.)
One of the Ignite’s top prospect’s in guard Jalen Green ran the table in the third collecting 11 of his 21 points in the period off of 4-4 shooting, while another big name in Jonathon Kuminga, contributed on 2-0f-4 shooting to boost his 24-point performance. Oklahoma City found their response to the 19-year-old from behind the arch plastering 6-of-10 deep-range attempts inside the cylinder to build a 78-72 advantage entering the final act of the contest, looking to close this game away. But that’s when the Ignite went on a scoring tangent to take the lead in the first the minutes and remain on the high side for the conclusion of the game. With Oklahoma City given a chance to tie with just over two to go, Pokusevski dialed up a 30-foot stepback that fell way off the mark— inadvertently turning clutch time into a free-throw contest— in which the Ignite breezily conquered, outscoring the Blue 37-25 on 55% field goal shooting to the Blue’s 36% to finish the match.
With 16 ties and lead changes in this ball-game the status of this game had never been imminent— but a tough performance late etched this result into stone.
Despite the loss, Oklahoma City placed four men in double-figures for the night against the Ignite. Chasson Randle led all Blue players in scoring, marking 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting, hitting 4 of his 13 threes. Moses Brown made it be known his season-debut was no fluke, as he followed up his 15/17 outing with 20 points (6-of-10 FG), 8 rebounds, and a game-high 4 blocks. Brown’s assertion inside was evident from the get-go as the 7-foot-2 big slashed into the basket and forced his way inside to collect buckets, showcased by his second quarter posterizer on Donta Hall right off a backdown. Antonious Cleveland shot an efficent 6-of-8 from the field for his 14 points, and his on-ball pressure created 3 steals to source the other end. Thunder assignee Ty Jerome looked more comfortable in today’s match dropping 11 points and 5 assists in 21 minutes of run. Jerome shot just 1-of-7 from outside but his play passing created a barrage of open looks in-and-out as he made great reads to find the open man, including a baseball pitch from the right-wing home to an easy layup.
Aleksej Pokusevski is still yet to warm up to the Orlando sun, as he marked just 6 points off 2-of-13 in the game (2-of-8 from 3.) The Serbian Assassin had a tough going, producing 7 turnovers and 5 fouls in 26 minutes, however he gunned a couple of sweet jump passes in the game to clock 5 assists.
The Blue will have their next shot to break the .500 mark against the 1-1 Canton Charge on Sunday.