1. Carmelo Anthony and Paul George had sterling debuts to their respective tenures in Oklahoma City. Paul George especially showed out with a 28-6-6 line in 39 minutes. George nailed 6 of 13 of his attempts from beyond the arc and along with Andre Roberson caused trouble all night for a clearly outmatched New York backcourt. George also showed plenty of promise bring the ball up the court with Russy resting. Sure it didn’t show in terms if assists but with Melo in that same lineup it proved too much for the Knicks to figure out. I expect that will be the case for many teams.
Melo looked great at the 4 on both sides of both sides of the ball. Notching 22 points on 8 of 20 shooting was a comforting thing as it shows that he is exercising his patience and trusts that he’ll get enough touches. However, Anthony was no short of a revelation on the other side of the ball (relatively speaking). He looked engaged and active even when occasionally getting bluesed by the GAWD (more on him later). His 2 steals and 2 blocks are clearly a bright spot as it would appear that after years of lackluster play he may be looking to address this blind spot.
2. What’s that? Oh, that’s just Russy being Russy again. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook gained his 80th career triple double last night on a 21-10-16 line doing so with an impressive 7 of 12 from the field in 33 minutes. Listen, I know the 30 and 40 point triple doubles look awesome but these are far more sustainable now that he’s paired with two more All-Stars and will be a much better look in the postseason. While it is hard to gauge how well this new look team really is against the Rollin’ Dolans but there weren’t any glaring issues to report last night. The next two games (at Utah and home against Minny) will tell us more but so far so good.
With the OKC 3 combining for 71 of their 35 points it proved to be a rather pedestrian night for the Thunder role and reserve guys. Stephen “Big Funaki” Adams fu-manchued his way to 12 and 5 with 3 blocks on a perfect 5 of 5 shooting and Andre “A-Rob” Roberson had 6 points in 21 minutes while harassing the HELL out of the Knicks. Deeper down the bench Jerami Grant got some run on defense and Patrick “Pat-Pat” Patterson is getting eased back in (a little early in my opinion) with 7 minutes last night going scoreless with 2 boards. Raymond “Fat Felt” Felton was solid running backup point and rookie Terrence Ferguson gave us something to get excited about.
3. The GAWD is back! New York Knicks franchise power forward Kristaps Porzingis exploded for 31 and 12 last night using every trick in his book while introducing a few new ones. No matter who OKC threw at him (and mind you they’re pretty damned good defensively) it didn’t matter. His jumper was wet, he got to his spots at ease, he was active on the boards and he fought double and triple teams ALL NIGHT.
Yeah, all night. Here’s the thing Knicks fans. I can’t pretend to care about the rear of this team and honestly neither can most of you. Your uber-talented big man got swamped all night because he’s surrounded by Tim “The $71 Million Man” Hardaway, Jr. who gave y’all 8 points and 5 could in 29 minutes and Enes Kanter who was the only other Knick in double figures with 10 but is still an aberration on defense (yes despite his 3 steals). And the rest quite frankly aren’t worth mentioning. Good night and good luck.