With Roberson locking down the opposing team’s best perimeter threat, George was unleashed as a rover, free to wreak havoc all over the floor. He leads the league in deflections per game (4.4) and is tied for the lead in steals per game (2.2) with Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe. Now, OKC coach Billy Donovan might have to use George more frequently as the primary defender against backcourt stars and scoring forwards. But who takes Roberson’s spot?
Arizona got a bit of a break to get the game’s first goal 3 1/2 minutes into the first period when Demers’ passing attempt went off defender Kris Russell’s heel and caromed past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
Khaira’s short-handed goal tied it eight minutes into the game. He followed up a shot by Ryan Strome and tapped the rebound past Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper.
The Oilers took the lead with 6:39 remaining in the first when Lucic scored on a slap shot for his 10th.
To be clear, the Big Baller Brand Challenge is a five-game showcase event with teams full of younger, less talented players than the LKL. LaMelo and LiAngelo both played limited minutes and were shut out in their official Lithuanian league debuts. It’s unlikely they’ll find success against a higher level of competition given that they are unaccustomed to facing experienced professional players.
Follow along with the Facebook Live video stream below to see how the Ball boys fared in their fifth Big Baller Brand Challenge game. (In case you’re looking for them, LaMelo is No. 1 and LiAngelo is No. 3 in the blue uniforms. LaVar is… well, you know who he is.)
“The team likes playing in front of him,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “There have been a few struggles here and there, but he was solid right from the get-go tonight.”
Korpisalo got some offensive help in a tight-checking game that reflected the urgency for the Blue Jackets, who are battling Florida and Carolina — both of which lost Tuesday — for the final wild card.