The tenth annual “Blue & White” scrimmage was held on Sunday in Oklahoma City — the community’s first opportunity to get a sneak peek at the new-look Thunder. Russell Westbrook was inactive due to the recent PRP injection in his right knee, but that did nothing to slow down the celebration. The team on the floor had no issues putting on an entertaining show at Edmond North High School.
Check out the highlights below.
“Thunder Fest with Russ”
The first order of business on Sunday was celebrating Russell Westbrook’s newly-signed five-year, $205 million contract extension. Fans showed up in droves, and the organization got things started with a hype video narrated by Westbrook’s younger brother, Ray.
The party continued from there, as Westbrook took the mic to address the mass of fans that showed up to acknowledge the reigning MVP. He chatted with Antonio Daniels for a few minutes, stating yet again that Oklahoma City was always the place he wanted to be.
His full remarks via Sneaker Reporter:
“I’m a part of Oklahoma City. You guys are a part of me and my family… I’m loyal to you guys, and you are loyal to me.”
Pretty incredible stuff. This guy will have a statue outside of the ‘Peake one day.
The scrimmage itself didn’t turn out to be much of a contest, as the white squad — composed of starters/role players — defeated a blue team made up of end-of-bench players and G-Leaguers. The final score rung up at 75-42 in favor of the clear favorites, and the new stars in town did not disappoint.
Led by Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the white team put on an absolute clinic for Thunder fans craving a glimpse of how special the team might eventually be. Even without Westbrook, the lineup of Raymond Felton – Andre Roberson – George – Anthony – and Steven Adams had no problems taking care of business and providing some highlights in the process.
George finished the day with 30 points on 12/14 shooting, and showed nice cohesion with Anthony. Melo put his passing chops on display a number of times, finding George for open looks from long distance.
Via Sam Gannon:
Anthony flashed his own scoring ability, hitting some tough shots and doing so while wearing his signature hoodie beneath his jersey.
A really encouraging development was again seeing how effective Steven Adams can be when surrounded by this type of firepower. There are shades of 2015-16 in the play below — as Paul George uses his gravity in the pick-and-roll to hit Adams for an easy slam. These types of opportunities should be available all season long, and even greater with Westbrook on the floor.
The highlight of the day came from a surprising source — rookie Terrance Ferguson. Leading the 2-on-1 fast break with only Kyle Singler in his way, he casually flipped the ball behind his back to a trailing Paul George. Great awareness by the youngin’ in creating an easy dunk for PG.
All-in-all it was an entertaining day for Thunder fans, and a drool-inducing look at what this team can be capable of. Paul George was absolutely sensational, Melo looked comfortable and perfectly capable of facilitating for his teammates. Westbrook should be back in the fold soon enough, and business will really pick up.
- Alex Abrines did not play in the scrimmage, as he’s apparently dealing with a left knee strain. This is a separate injury than what sidelined him in this summer’s EuroBasket, so he’s now recently dealt with minor ailments in both knees. No word on how this will impact his practice schedule, or if he will play in Tuesday’s preseason opener against Houston.
- Patrick Patterson also missed the scrimmage as he recovers from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. This comes as no surprise, and his status is still considered day-to-day.
- The first 23 minutes of the scrimmage are available on the Thunder’s Periscope channel. Not fantastic quality, but good enough. Check it out.