The Oklahoma City Thunder open the 2016-17 campaign with a 103-97 road triumph over the the Philadelphia 76ers. It wasn't pretty, but Russell Westbrook's rage, Enes Kanter's offensive rebounding, and all of Steven Adams' body hair was ultimately too much for the Sixers to overcome.
Westbrook arrives in a kilt! It's so good to have you back basketball — along with your weird fashion.
Russell Westbrook (32-12-9 in 36 minutes) immediately set the tone by attempting to get everyone involved following the opening tip. He had an alley-oop lob for Adams on the Thunders’ first play which did not connect. On the second play, Westbrook drove and dished to a corner shooter, however there was an off-ball foul called on the play. The Thunder remained scoreless until Westbrook connected on a pull-up jumper almost three minutes into the game.
Oladipo (4-16, 0-5 3P) struggled to find an early rhythm, and was mostly a liability throughout his first game as a Thunder. OKC Head Coach Billy Donovan even staggered Westbrook and Oladipo’s minutes at times to try and get VO5 in any sort of offensive flow, but this strategy did not work.
Joel "The Process" Embiid was the story for the Sixers. The emergent rookie put early skillful moves on Andre Roberson. Led by Embiid, this potent 76er frontcourt is going to be a two-way nightmare for opposing teams all season long. The Sixers outscored OKC 10-2 during Joel Embiid's first four minutes of playing time. However, following myriad injuries, the 2014 lottery pick was on a minutes restriction by Head Coach Brett Brown .
Joel Embiid is offering stout two-way efficacy. The functional rookie has made his mark in the mid-range and in protecting the rim as well.— Joshua Broom (@BroomSports82) October 27, 2016
The Thunder finally settled after a Russell Westbrook and-one and went on to close the quarter on a 16-5 run. The internet had fun with a lovely Sixers fan who gave Russ the double middle fingers after the play. Royce Young reported that the fan was escorted out of the game.
Russell Westbrook finished just one assist shy of a triple double. Had Oladipo converted on either of Russ’ pin-point passes near the end of play, “Brodie” would’ve garnered his tenth assist. Enes Kanter had 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Steven Adams put up 16 points and 5 boards.
Donovan showed a few interesting lineups throughout the night, but it will take several games to locate the most efficient Thunder grouping. The 76ers put up a tough effort while controlling the start of the game, as well as most of the second half, but could not hang on when the final buzzer sounded.
For OKC, a glaring issue was shooting only 27.3% from three. Although this perimeter inefficiency did not spoil their winning effort due to Philadelphia’s equally inept 29.2% from downtown. Westbrook & Co. owned Philly in the paint (46 to 32) and in transition (23 to 9).
It's only one game, and the average NBA fan might say something like, "OKC let Philly hang around like that?!" But Philadelphia did not look like a dumpster fire at all in the season opener. In fact, the Sixers gave fans a real reason to hope for the future and possibly even this current season. The Thunder, on the other hand, got away with a W on the road but will have to take a long look at the film to breakdown what went wrong for them and how they can adapt and survive in their new way of life.
Welcome To Loud City also covered tonight’s game on Facebook with a ton of fun stuff. Be sure to follow along with us all season.