With Blue guard Chasson Randle being acquired by the Orlando Magic on a two-way contract, Oklahoma City had a major hole to fill at the guard position for Tuesday’s test against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Randle’s absence did seem to me much a hill to climb as the Blue went on to stomp the Mad Ants 112-105. For the Blue this victory solidified themselves to a 3-1 record while the Mad Ants were left looking for a new queen as they slipped to 1-4 on the year.
The Oklahoma City Blue imposed a clinic under the basket for the full 48 minutes, scoring 72 of their 112 points in the paint (64%) off of abusive attacks to the basket alongside major play from the frontcourt. Moses Brown put up arguably the greatest solo-performance of the G-League season thus far tallying 24 points, 20 rebounds, and 4 blocks across a meager 24 minutes. Not only was Browns scoring outburst the 2nd highest of all the games on the day, both his rebound and block totals were daily bests. Brown was a clear mismatch against the small-ball Mad Ants, as their decision to give 6-foot-7 forward Oshae Brissett a call-up to the starting five proved fatal. Brown had a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards 15 minutes into the contest and stats continued to pour in. The 7-foot-2 center’s coordinated attacks a yard from the iron have only looked to improve over the course of the season he showed no signs of slowing down on 10-for-17 shooting and 9 offensive rebounds. The only ones who could stop Moses Brown on Tuesday were the officials — who put an end to the big’s broadside on six personal fouls. Omer Yurtseven popped off the bench and gave the same production as Brown at the five, this time dropping 16 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. The 7-footer used the same diabolical tactics as his protege, working inside for 8-for-11 shooting and 3 offensive boards.
Frontcourt pieces in Antonius Cleveland and Jaylen Hoard flustered the colony with their performances on the floor. Cleveland had another solid shooting night on 5-for-9 shooting, and still remained a threat downtown — nailing two triples. Hoard shot a less opulent 5-for-15 across his 21 minutes, but he more than made for it on the other end. Hoard kept everything inside on offense, but defensibly he leaked up to rip 3 steals from Fort Wayne. Zavier Simpson assumed starting duties with Randle gone-for-good, and he impressed with 13 points while dropping a team-high of 8 assists. Simpson only attempted one three, but he never needed to leave the interior as Brown-Simpson screens inside left Simpson due for wide open runners and dishes to Moses. Rob Edwards provided a spark off the bench yet again generating 12 points off of four made triples. Edwards’ presence kept the defense guessing leading to the games high of a +/- of 27.
Thunder assignees Ty Jerome and Aleksej Pokusevski could not find any sort of rhythm as the paring shot 2-of-10 and 0-of-7 respectively. Jerome veered inside for the majority of his shots, but his runner proved to be no-dice. Pokusevski on the other hand played as per usual hauling up shots at hasty speeds, but nothing ever came of it. One bright spot for the 7-footer was his passing game as he had needle-threaders galore for 3 assists.
The Oklahoma City Blue (3-1) will shift their focus to tomorrow as they face the Memphis Hustle (2-2) to complete their back-to-back set.