The Oklahoma City Thunder were blown out on Tuesday night in Denver, a game that outside of the first quarter was not particularly close. Even in that first quarter, where the Thunder took a tie into the second, it took OKC making half their shots, and the Nuggets only making a touch over 30 percent of their shots. However, if you are like me, you hardly realized the score. It took until the 23-minute mark on the Locked on Thunder podcast recapping this game to even mention it. Say what you will about tanking, but it is a nice reset to have a season that is valued in more than just the box score.
While the box score will not say it, there were bright spots in this contest. Isaiah Roby tried his best and kept attacking Jokic who totally overmatched him. That sounds like me handing out participation trophies, but it isn’t. Did you expect a 6’8 Isaiah Roby to truly bother and play impactful defense on an MVP-caliber 6’11 big man who does things on the floor we have never seen before? Did you expect the man who is averaging a triple-double entering this game, not to have a big night? If you did, that is unfair to Roby. The Thunder just simply do not have the size to compete with the Nuggets, but they have the grit to try.
For a young player like Isaiah Roby to get dominated on the defensive end, it could have zapped his confidence. It could’ve made him throw his hands up and give up. Instead, not only did he keep playing his game and remain confident on both ends, but defensively he kept attacking the superstar. He kept looking for new ways to try and gain an advantage. Later in the game, you could see Roby change his approach from trying to defend Jokic after he has the ball vs trying to deny Jokic the ball to avoid the mismatch entirely.
If you know me, you know it is not shocking I lead this story with Isaiah Roby and not Lu Dort, but we can not look past the monster game the second-year player who is not yet 22 put up. Not only did Lu Dort totally frustrate the NBA darling and supposed rising star Jamal Murray, but Dort has turned into a legit offensive contributor.
For a full break down including Lu Dort is an all-star level player praise, check out the Locked on Thunder podcast!