Friday, March 5, 2010

Professional basketball ... and being professional

While a lot of attention was being paid to the Thunder trio in town (Byron Mullens, Kyle Weaver, and DJ White) last night, there’s another piece of the pie maybe being overlooked … the players who are giving up minutes for the three OKC assignees to play.

At this level, basketball is a business and with the Thunder as the parent club, it’s imperative that Mullens, White, and Weaver get plenty of game time to improve and come back from injuries. But for players like Deron Washington, Moses Ehambe, Latavious Williams, and Marcus Lewis, it’s an interesting time. Williams and Lewis didn’t see the floor last night against Austin, while Washington and Ehambe (both of whom have been starting until recently) saw reduced minutes. I asked Coach Nate Tibbetts about that last night after the 100-88 victory over the Toros.

“Sure it changes everything when you get new guys in here, but the guys in Tulsa have handled it well and I think they’ll continue to handle it well,” Tibbetts told me. “They know it’s part of being in the D-League, but this is also a great group of guys we have here in Tulsa.”

I glanced over to the bench a few times last night and saw nothing but support coming from guys who weren’t on the floor. Professional basketball takes professionals to play it, and the 66ers last night showed there are professional guys on the lineup from top to bottom.

A quick take on the game last night …

Last night, White certainly made it feel like no time had elapsed since early January when he was dominating the paint for the 66ers at the D-League Showcase in Boise. His 27 points was impressive, as was his 10-for-10 shooting performance to start the game.

Tulsa wanted to show its defense last night and it did, holding Austin to less than 39 percent shooting from the floor.

“I thought we did a very good job defensively,” Tibbetts said. “We tried to focus in on preventing rebounds and their transition game, and I think we did that.”

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