The OKC Thunder will undertake their second scrimmage game versus the Philadelphia 76ers today at 11 am CT.
The second of three OKC Thunder scrimmages against opponents tips off at 11 a.m. CT today with the Philadelphia 76ers on tap.
Each opponent the Thunder face has very distinct traits. That factor affords Donovan the opportunity to focus on a specific element of their system to tweak through each scrimmage.
Against the Celtics, a bevy of versatile wings all who can create their own shot and are interchangeable was the key defensive assignment. Without Kemba Walker playing, Boston didn’t have their best lineup. But, that’s the beauty of the scrimmages, it’s not so much about the overall game plan as it is isolating on the area OKC wants to work on and measuring their success in that area.
To wit, the Celtics center position is undersized which led to Steven Adams feasting. Enes Kanter had arguably the best game for Boston but most of his production came in the second half with Adams resting and Noel out nursing his sore ankle.
OKC Thunder -76ers scrimmage: Everything you need to know
Key task – dealing with 76ers length :
Today’s match serves up length across all positions with the shortest starter measuring 6’5″.
- Point Guard: Shake Milton – 6’5:
- Shooting Guard: Josh Richardson -6’5″
- Small Forward: Tobias Harris -6’8″
- Power Forward: Ben Simmons -6’10”
- Center: Joel Embiid -7’0″
Embiid is the primary concern on both sides of the court. Rumor is Simmons is committed to taking more 3-pointers, and at least through one scrimmage, he’s upped his output. Simmons took two wide-open attempts versus the Grizzlies, scoring on one and whiffing badly on the second. In truth, this is an increase given the defensive star took six 3-point attempts through 65 games connecting on two and never took two in a game.
The teams completed their season series with each winning at home. The initial match in OKC was won by the Thunder in overtime 127-119 on November 15th. In Philly, the 76ers won 120-113 on January 6th.
The player who takes the hit with the revised starting rotation is Al Horford who was moved to the bench late in the season due to spacing issues with him and Embiid.
Avoid slow start:
In their first scrimmage, the 76ers beat the Grizzlies 90-83 building a huge 25-12 lead in the first quarter and posting a solid second quarter of 29-16. With the starters essentially resting in the second half the Grizzlies fought back with too little, too late.
This huge starting lineup will give the Thunder a challenge and they’ll need to avoid their propensity to start slow. That will be more difficult by virtue of the super early tipoff.
OKC Thunder rotations:
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Following practice, Billy Donovan noted Nerlens Noel would be active today after resting him versus the Celtics. Abdel Nader will remain in the concussion protocol as the only player not likely to suit up.
The coach is trying to ensure minutes across the board so this contest might find Terrance Ferguson gaining additional playing time. Others who didn’t get much run versus Boston are the end of bench guys Deonte Burton, Kevin Hervey, and Devon Hall.
It’s hard to know if these players will be included in the mix for extended minutes or if Donovan will stick with restricting his vets – Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Steven Adams to the first half again or possibly rest Paul or Gallo since getting them healthy to the seeding games will take priority over winning.
Where can fans watch or listen to the game?
The same setup as scrimmage one against the Celtics is in play again today with the OKC Thunder app or on the OKC Thunder.com website live stream access to the scrimmage.
Matt Pinto will be back on WWLS-FM 98.1 for those who prefer to catch the game via radio.
The game will tip-off at 11:00 a.m. Central Time (12:00 p.m. EST)
Future scrimmage, date, time:
Scrimmage 3 takes place on Tuesday, July 28. The opponent is the now healthy Portland Trail Blazers and the game tips off at 5:00 p.m. CT. airing on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
The restart of the season is set for July 30 but the OKC Thunder will play the Utah Jazz on August 1st, in the first of eight seeding games that will finalize playoff seeding.