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Jah Struggles In 102-85 Loss To Thunder, Westbrook Notches Triple-double

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While the Sixers have yet to win a game through the first nine games of this season, I’ve largely felt positive about this iteration of the team versus last year’s, taking solace in the play of Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and the GOAT T.J. McConnell. But Friday night’s 102-85 loss to the Thunder felt very November 2014 Sixers-y.

I don’t really have the energy to write a proper recap of this game, nor do you really want to read it. Instead, here are a few takeaways from the game:

  • Man, the Sixers are just really not fun when Jahlil Okafor is off his game… So far this year, Philadelphia has made it a point to run their offense through Okafor, with Brett Brown even noting earlier today that he will look to slow down the team’s pace to better suit the rookie big man’s strengths. Through eight games, the 19-year-old hadn’t been held to single-digit points once, and in all but one game he scored 18 points or more. Against Oklahoma City, though, Okafor was held to just six points on 3-for-18 shooting, but it felt more like 3-for-50.

  • Thank god Nerlens Noel is back… Even though the Sixers largely looked flat on both ends of the floor in Friday’s game, and it was really nice to see Nerlens Noel back in action. Like basically everybody else in red (they wore red tonight, FYI), he struggled on the offensive end, making just four of his 12 attempts from the field, but he pulled down 11 boards, notched two steals, and helped keep the game from getting too out of hand with his effort on the defensive end.

  • Christian Wood might be an actual player… I’ll be honest and say that when the Sixers picked up Christian Wood this summer I wasn’t as excited as some of the writers on this site. I mean, sure, he was a projected first-round talent coming out of UNLV, but watching him play in the preseason I didn’t really notice any discernible NBA-level skills. But Nerlens Noel’s wrist injury prompted Brett Brown to insert him into the lineup this week after being relegated to garbage minutes through the Sixers’ first five games of the year, and he’s actually looked pretty good! Against the Thunder, he finished with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting (including a three!) with eight rebounds and two blocks.

  • Oh, and Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 21 points, 17 boards, and 11 assists. NBD…

And this thing to make y’all feel a little better: