Bricktown Beat

Blue outshine Stars, close baseball set with 114-81 victory

With the Oklahoma City Blue placing Isaiah Roby, Tre Mann, and Vit Krejci on assignment — the Blue toppled the Salt Lake City Stars 114-81 to close off their baseball set. Oklahoma City’s win on Sunday placed the topper on an impressive baseball that saw the Blue seize victory by an average of 44.0 points. They now sit at a perfect 2-0. As for the Stars, their blowout loss marks the second of the season, however, with the season anew — they’ll have an opportunity to climb back from their 0-2 starting point.

The Stars and Blue felt each other out for the first segment of the first frame as sides tampered between four ties in the opening seven minutes — but the Blue’s outpour of assignments showed up big. In the Blue’s opening period, the Thunder’s assignments in Isaiah Roby, Tre Mann, and Vit Krejci totaled the team’s first 13-of-17 points while two-way add-on Paul Watson Jr. tipped in the missing four marks. It took the Blue until the 2:19 mark for an exhibit-10 player to net a bucket in Melvin Frazier Jr., and as other bench members chipped in — the lead swayed into Oklahoma City’s court — up 27-17 through one.

Oklahoma City’s bench mob hounded Salt Lake City in the second quarter’s onset, posting the frame’s opening four buckets for a 10-0 run through two minutes, and a 37-17 stronghold. As Salt Lake City began to weed in their starting core, they found some rhythm with three-consecutive hits, however, the Blue’s bench continued to churn out points as a DJ Wilson floater coupled with a Melvin Frazier Jr. catch-and-shoot prevented any damage. Both sides pressed off the gas pedal as the quarter hit the midway point, but as the game tapped into the final five minutes, an 8-2 Blue outburst, led by five points from Paul Watson Jr., hung the game up to 21 points with three to go. The tempo slowed as the clock hit the two-minute warning, though Isaiah Roby made bank off of a catch-and-shoot three in the final minute — keeping Oklahoma City up 58-42 by half.

The Blue sent out a well-rounded attack in the first half shooting a ripe 50 percent (24-of-48 FG) from the field while staying precise from distance with a 36.4 percent clip (8-of-22 3PT.) Isaiah Roby made an imprint in the first 24 minutes clocking 12 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes while six other members tallied five or more points in the half.

Salt Lake City found their touch around the basket shooting 42.5 percent (17-of-40) overall, however, once they ventured to the perimeter — the cohesion was lost — shooting a paltry 4-of-17 (23.5 3PT) from distance. The Stars surfaced a backcourt duo in Pedro Bradshaw and Macio Teague, who placed 13 and 10 points, respectively, but there were little support pieces early. 

The Stars glistened to tee off the second half as they posted a 7-2 stint to cut the margin to 11, but the Blue responded before things got murky. Zavier Simpson fended off the Stars’ push nailing a reverse layup and his hallmarked 9-foot hook shot to extend the lead to 13 before an Isaiah Roby 29-foot three ran the score up 67-51. As both teams tapped into their benches, Oklahoma City’s wing group in Aaron Wiggins and Melvin Frazier Jr. exploded, posting the Blue’s final 13-of-18 points in the frame in what became an 18-12 closing run, handing the Blue a 20-point, 85-65 lead heading into the fourth.

The Blue’s pair of wings took flight in the infancy stages of the fourth as a Wiggins turnaround paired with a Melvin Frazier Jr. spot-up three spelled a 25-point lead, only to be swung to 27 a play later off an Isaiah Roby floater. Oklahoma City blew the doors open to a 30-point advantage at the eight-minute mark as Vit Krejci nailed a three-point free throw before Scotty Hopson elevated the lead to 31 off of his triple. The Blue’s activity around the three-point arch rallied the group to a 30-plus-point margin for the remainder of the game, as charged by five made threes in the frame — they captured a 33-point, 114-81 victory. 

Salt Lake City stood tall against Oklahoma City for the majority of the contest, but with defensive slip-ups in the sunrise and sunset stages of the game, they weren’t on the same schedule when it mattered most. The Stars posted a much better piecing than their season opener as they shot a solid 37.1 percent (33-of-89 FG) from the field, but a barren 8-of-35 (22.9%) shooting gallery from three placed them a few steps backward. Salt Lake City found hefty production off the bench with Pedro Bradshaw tallying 23 points (9-of-14) alongside Macio Teague’s 16 points (8-of-17 FG) as a starter, but with flaky starting efforts such as Derrick Alston Jr.’s shooting 4-of-16 and Brendan Bailey going 3-of-10 — the consistency was not there.

Oklahoma City fired on all cylinders Sunday shooting 51.8 percent (43-of-83 FG) on the game to pair with a 16-of-44 (36.4%) venture from distance on the game. As an added incentive, the Blue harvested 12 points at the line off a 7-of-9 clip. The Blue have emerged through the first two games as the G-League’s top passing team as with 32 assists on the game — they are currently leading the league in assists at 32.5

Isaiah Roby impressed in his first assignment of the year, placing 19 points (8-of-13 FG), 11 rebounds, and 5 assists in 29 minutes as the starting five. Roby’s 6-foot-8 frame has oftentimes been an issue at the NBA level, but against the Stars, Roby posed an unsolvable problem, killing the group up top with two threes while also babying the roster’s smaller defenders on drives. 

Aaron Wiggins and Melvin Frazier Jr. jolted the Blue’s bench recording 15 points apiece on Sunday. Wiggins overpowered the Stars inside for a plethora of turnarounds and mid-range pull-ups, but he also cashed in on 1-of-2 triples while he was at it. For Melvin Frazier Jr., the 25-year-old recorded his top game in a Blue jersey, feasting from three with a 3-of-5 piecing from the perimeter to add to a 6-of-9 clinic. Frazier Jr. tapped in from multiple levels Sunday, utilizing his shot to blow by defenders for breakaway jams while also using his 7-foot-3 wingspan for 5 boards and a steal.

Paul Watson Jr. and Zavier Simpson rounded out Oklahoma City’s core of double-digit scorers as the two chopped up 13 and 11 points, respectively. Watson Jr. made his name from distance as the guard shot 3-of-7 from distance, whereas Simpson shot just 1-of-2 from beyond-the-arch, instead of slashing inside for reverse layups and skyhooks for his slice of the scoring pie.

Vit Krejci boasted a decorated stat line in his second appearance with the Blue logging 9 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals in 28 minutes. Krejci took a backseat role as a shooter going 2-of-4 overall, though the 21-year-old did do a remarkable job getting to the line — going 2-of-3 at the stripe. Krejci’s work as a distributor popped off the page Sunday as he gunned off multiple jump passes in addition to bounce passes inside for open cuts. 

Tre Mann looked to be hobbling a bit in the first quarter of the game, prompting Grant Gibbs to pull the Florida alum nine minutes into the contest — sitting him for the remainder of play.

The Oklahoma City Blue (2-0) will take four days off before squaring off against the Santa Cruz Warriors (0-2) on Friday. 

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