Once again, the Sixers/Nets fell into an early hole, and couldn’t climb out, as they fell behind the Thunder by as many as 16 in the first half before falling to an OPSL worst 0-4 with an 83-62 loss.
The Philadelphia/New Jersey team, or as the Magic broadcasters called them, “The Scrapple,” had 18 fouls in the first gaffe, including four on Jrue Holiday and three each on Terrence Williams, Jason Ellis and Marreese Speights to go along with 12 turnovers.
B. J. Mullens on the other hand had a great half, going 6-9 from the floor, adding 6 points in the second half to finish with 18.
Mullens was listed in the official statistics Thursday as “Byron Mullens,” a change that he said he wanted to make while still at Ohio State.
“No more B.J., that’s what I wanted to go by in college…they tried for a little bit, but it didn’t work out, so we’re gonna try it again.”
The game got off to a slow start, but picked up speed in the second quarter with both teams looking to run the floor. That clearly benefited the Sixers/Nets as they cut the lead from 15 to just six at the break.
The Thunder got back in control in the third quarter though, pushing the score to 66-47 as Russell Westbrook teamed up with James Harden for a number of flashy plays. Westbrook finished the game with nine assists to go along with his 19 points, while Harden put up 15.
“I’m not the most athletic guy, but I can get there, I can finish around the basket against those bigger and stronger guys,” Harden said. “Russell is a great player, he’s tremendous, athletic can really throw the ball and pass it.”
Holiday was matched up against fellow UCLA Bruin Westbrook in spurts, and even though Jrue held his own, Westbrook’s NBA experience showed throughout most of the game.
Holiday did get the upper hand at one point when stole the ball from Westbrook near half court and went down for a dunk to cap off a 7-0 Sixers/Nets run in the 4th quarter, but the OKC lead was still at 15, so he said it didn’t make him feel too much better.
“No one had energy, that’s what I’m supposed to bring, we had spurts and points where we had it, but you know it wasn’t a full game,” Holiday said.
Speights had 10 points and nine rebounds, but it could easily have been 16 as two potential and-one calls went against him as offensive fouls.
Although he seemed to have some communication issues at times due to the language barrier that he faces, Serge Ibaka had yet another quality game, going off for 15 points with a pair of blocks.
After a strong performance Wednesday, Dionte Christmas reached double figures again, knocking down all five of his free throws as he chipped in 10 points.
The Sixers/Nets wrap up their OPSL schedule on Friday with a 1 PM game against the Boston Celtics.