OKC Thunder: OKC Blue immediately feels the absence of Justin Patton

OKC Thunder (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Jack Arent/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Despite the return of Abdul Gaddy, the OKC Blue lost to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. They really felt the loss of ex-OKC Thunder assignee Justin Patton

The OKC Blue welcomed back point guard Abdul Gaddy in the loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The point guard only played 12 minutes off the bench but it was the lack of height that ex-OKC Thunder assignee Justin Patton gave the team that was missing for this game.

There are not many teams in the G-League who have an impactful center who is 7’0″ as most teams tend to use small-ball. Even the Blue, who had Patton assigned to them, now do not have a player who is over 6’9″ on their roster thanks to the trade.

Isaiah Hartenstein, the Houston Rockets assignee, is such a player. In a game where the OKC Blue lost by nine points, they gave up nine offensive rebounds to Hartenstein alone. There is your difference right there.

In fact, Hartenstein had 27 points and 21 rebounds to go along with three assists, three blocks, and one steal. He shot the ball from the field extremely well going 13-15 from the floor. His presence was too much for the Blue to handle.

Kadeem Jack started at center and battled manfully for 15 points and seven rebounds but it was not enough. The Blue play best when Jack’s energy comes off the bench. That is when he is able to impact the game the most.

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Scotty Hopson was again solid with 21 points, including 5-of-10 from deep, six assists, and four rebounds. He did have five turnovers which is something that he has to work on. Tyler Cook was second high scorer with 16 points to go along with six rebounds.

The Blue had another statistical anomaly where they had four players score 15 points in a truly balanced effort. Myke Henry, Jack, Devon Hall, and Markel Brown all managed to hit that number. OKC Thunder assignee Isaiah Roby struggled with only four points and going -19 on the night.

The loss moves the Blue back to seventh in the standings but it is simply an aberration. They do not match up well against the Drive who are well out of playoff contention.

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Fortunately, the Blue have their fate in their own hands as they play multiple playoff teams in the last ten games. Win them and they are still a good shot for home-court advantage, lose them, and they are out.