Thunder Bench Rocks Portland

Erik Gee

The Thunder finished the scrimmage portion of the NBA restart 3-0 with a  131-120 win over the Portland Trailblazers.  For the second straight game, Oklahoma City's bench made up for a shaky performance by the starters. 

By the end of the third quarter, Thunder reserves had accounted for 56 of the Thunder's 102 points. Darius Bazley and Hamidou Diallo continue to show they deserve more minutes when the season resumes on Saturday. 

Bazley finishes with 20 points in 27 minutes, while Diallo was seven of nine from the field with 16 points. Billy Donovan credits Diallo and Bazley's Improvement to using the time off to process information and incorporate it into their games. 

"I say this all the time with young players when you have a period of time that these guys play a lot of games and there is a long layoff; they have a lot of information that they are going through for the first time that they can process and get better at and I think Hami is no different." 

"He's just gotten better, and it's been good to see that."..."And I think the same thing with Darius."... "Darius has gotten physically stronger, and he's done some good things."

"So it's nice to see that those guys have improved when we're all away from the game for several months."

Andre Roberson and Lu Dort also had big nights. Dort is proving he can be consistent on the offensive end of the floor.  Dort was three of five from beyond the arc with 13 points. 

Roberson was inserted into the starting lineup because Chirs Paul rested, Roberson's not only looked confident while shooting the ball, he's still one of the most active players on defense.  

Donovan says if Roberson wants a spot in the Thunder's regular rotation, he'll need to work on his conditioning." He's in good shape, but I know he can be in better shape."

"He's held up very well through these first three weeks."...." And I'm just praying and hoping this continues like he's doing right now because if it does, there's no question he can be an import piece to our team and he can help contribute. 

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.