The Oklahoma City Thunder have gotten off to a rough start to begin 2020-21

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Lu Dort (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Lu Dort (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have gotten off to a slow start to the season

On March 11, 2020, the Oklahoma City Thunder were set to take on the Utah Jazz inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, however, the game was postponed due health concerns (which would later lead to the NBA shutting down for four months), that was the night that changed the world and the sports world forever.

Unlike in March, there were no immediate health concerns that was going to delay this matchup, the game went on, but the arena was empty and loud city has never been so quiet.

Following in other team’s footsteps, the Thunder covered sections in the lower bowl with sponsors, such as longtime partner Riverwind Casino, along with OU Health, Enable Midstream, American Fidelity, and local electrical company OG&E, the latter covers both banners on each baseline.

It was a close contest between the two clubs, in the end, thanks to some late heroics by Jazz starlet Donovan Mitchell Utah edged out Oklahoma City 110-109. In the waning seconds with his team trailing by two, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had an opportunity to hit his second-consecutive game-winning shot and lift his team to 2-0, but alas his floater fell short. He finished with 23 points on 9-21 42.9 percent shooting, however, SGA did go 1-7 from beyond the arc, he must improve from long-range moving forward.

Although Shai got the last shot of the night, it was his teammate Lu Dort who stole the evening. Dort went off for a regular-season career-high 26 points on 9-11 shooting, impressively he put up such prolific offensive numbers while being Mitchell’s primary defender.

Yes, Mitchell did hit the shot that mattered most, overall he had a rough evening both offensively and defensively. Mitchell posted 20 points on 8-23 shooting, including an abysmal 2-10 from distance.

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It was not long before the Thunder had another chance to win on their home floor, they took on the Orlando Magic the next night. Without Steven Adams due to his departure to the New Orleans Pelicans and Al Horford sitting for rest, Nikola Vucevic was too much for the young and thin Oklahoma City Thunder frontline.

Vucevic went off for 28 points on 12-19, 66.7 percent shooting from the floor, lifting the Magic to the 118-107 victory. The win gave Orlando their first 4-0 start in franchise history.

Like Dort in the Utah game, it was 22-year-old Isaiah Roby who impressed for the Thunder. The young Center made his first care Thunderer start and notched 19 points on an efficient 9-12 shooting. Another bright spot from the loss, was SGA posting seven assists, the third-year guard has registered 23 helpers through the franchise’s first three games.

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The Thunder, Magic, and Jazz will all be back in action on New Year’s Eve. The Oklahoma City Thunder will battle the New Orleans Pelicans, the Magic will take on the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Jazz will face the Phoenix Suns in the final game of 2020.