The Oklahoma City Thunder were coming off their best performance of the year against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. They wanted to continue that momentum and make a statement on Friday against the Detroit Pistons. The Thunder organization announced that the Thunder will be debuting their new jerseys against Detroit. The “Statement” jersey that OKC wore was apart of the Nike Connect program that was incorporated this year once Nike took over the jersey licensing. The jersey lets you connect to the players iPod and music to see what he listens to before and after games via Nike App. The way the techonology is heading there is no telling what could be next for jerseys. What I can tell you is that the OKC “Statement” jersey is one of the best in the NBA that were debuted and the way the orange pops out it makes a bold statement.
The Thunder played a great game on both ends of the floor in the first half and looked to keep it rolling like they did against Golden State. The Pistons had other plans as tonight against OKC. Andre Drummond wasn’t able to get things going in that first half but came out in beast mode in the second half. Andre Drummond finished the game with 17 points and 14 rebounds on the night. The way that he played in the paint tonight against the Thunder bigs was very impressive. The thing that was impressive for the Pistons is the way they hung in the game and competed.
Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony were getting anything they wanted on the offensive end tonight. Carmelo was able to bully anyone that guarded him on the Pistons whether it be Tobias Harris or Avery Bradley. Melo was able to finish the game with 20 points and he was aggressive on the defensive boards and was defending at a high level. When Carmelo has the help like he does now in OKC he can take advanatage of playing defense and offense while taking breaks. When Melo was in NYC he had to carry the load majority of the time and the way that OKC is clicking on all cylinders now he doesn’t have too. The Thunder may have lost but Melo getting in a groove like he’s been on lately is a great sight to see.
The Pistons were able to get everyone involved in this game as they had 6 players in double figures. The bench kept them in the game and was able to score when the Thunder had some defensive breakdowns. Detroit made this a team effort as everyone stepped up but it also took for the Thunder to miss some big shots in order for them to succeed. Reggie Jackson had 12 points on the night but was able to get the ball to his teammates in the right spot and he picked his moments to be aggressive on offense. Reggie Jackson was a true vocal leader tonight and was able to make some tough plays down the stretch against the Thunder. He talked about his time in OKC and how it made him grow as a player and that showed out there on the court tonight.
Russell Westbrook has shown that he can lead this team as a vocal leader and also as the points/assists/rebound man if they need it. Westbrook has shown that whatever the Thunder need him to be on a nightly basis he will do it no matter what and that’s very clear. Russell Westbrook proved that tonight as he was able to punish the Pistons and get to the rim whenever he wanted too. When Westbrook had his moment to takeover he missed some shots that he usually makes in the clutch. The Pistons put Avery Bradley on him for that last stretch and made him for work the 3 pointers that he didn’t make at the end. Russ struggled from the 3 point line going 1-10 from long range but still had the trust from his teammates. Russell Westbroo finished with a triple double of 27 points, 11 assists, 11 rebounds. Paul George didn’t have the best night as he was getting bad calls against him and he wasn’t able to get back in the flow of the game. Paul George had 16 points and was able to defend and get in the passing lanes to help but it wasn’t enough to get the win tonight. PG was talking about defensive breakdowns and what they needed to do better in order to win tomorrow against the Mavs.
Photo Credit: (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)