Following a franchise-altering summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder reclamation project began with a high scoring but forgettable performance. During the opening leg of OKC's preseason European tour, the Thunder were stunned 142-137 in overtime by Real Madrid.
Sergio Llull was the contest’s improbable hero, forcing overtime at the buzzer with a fortuitously corralled offensive rebound and subsequent game-tying three pointer. In total, Llull (22) and teammate Jaycee Carroll (24) led seven Real Madrid players in double figures.
A shell-shocked Oklahoma City squad was paced by Victor Oladipo (34 points) and Enes Kanter (29 points). All-NBA guard Russell Westbrook added 18 points in 24 minutes of action.
In the contest’s opening frame, Oklahoma City’s aggressive back-court duo of Westbrook and Oladipo reigned supreme. Meanwhile, Billy Donovan’s probable regular-season rotation assisted on nine of fifteen field-goal makes. After one, OKC held a commanding 35-22 lead.
However, during a pivotal second quarter, the Thunder’s fortune soured as Steven Adams suffered a right-ankle injury with 3:11 remaining in the half. Adams did not return, and will require further evaluation.
At the half, Victor Oladipo (16 points) led all scorers. Real Madrid was led by Sergio Llull’s 11.
As the third-quarter commenced, a recharged Real Madrid unit showcased grit in outscoring Oklahoma City 37-30. Jaycee Carroll added nine as his team came roaring back to cut the OKC advantage to 95-87.
Real Madrid’s electric momentum continued into the fourth. With the game set to expire, Sergio Llull found the ball — and bottom of the net — to force overtime. During overtime, riding a surge of adrenaline, Spain’s celebrated basketball heros were raucously propelled to victory by their frenetic home contingency.
Though a pre-season contest, an Oklahoma City loss still serves as a major shock throughout the NBA community. While OKC showcased solid ball movement and defensive continuity in the contest’s opening quarter, the team’s lack of focus and depth down the stretch raises immediate concerns.
Interesting questions and fallout from this historic loss will reverberate throughout Thunder Nation ahead of OKC’s next outing on Oct. 5 vs. FC Barcelona Regal.