Despite only squeaking out a one point victory over Melbourne United, Sunday’s matinee gave us the Thunder’s most realistic contest of the preseason thus far. It’s difficult to admit that after a poor offensive showing, and of course this team is capable of much more on that side of the ball. However between second half minutes for Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, regular season minutes for Paul George, and a solid defensive effort across the board, we finally got our closest thing to a true glimpse of the 2017-2018 Oklahoma City Thunder.
The focus of yesterday’s game for most people is going to be the work in progress that is the Thunder’s offense, which it should be, and we’ll get to that. But let’s first turn our attention elsewhere.
Steven Adams (or Khal Drogo, still new here so I’m not positive) was awesome on both ends of the court against the gritty NBL squad. Billy Donovan is going to need Adams to be a stronghold on defense and on the glass this year, and his 34 minutes of action yesterday were a nice little preview of what’s to come. Adams finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, 6 of which were offensive. With a shift in responsibilities, the seven footer is going to be looked at as the go to guy for crashing the boards. Andre Roberson will be doing a lot of the same, but Adams will be leading the charge. Tonight was a great impression of that.
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony have played a total of roughly 30 minutes together this preseason. They were below average on offense tonight. Things were not flowing smoothly. Eventually things will flow smoothly. It doesn’t happen overnight. Ok. Glad we got that covered.
- Josh Huestis is ALIVE! And yesterday he came to save the day.
- Russ wore the perfect shirt for his postgame interviews. It was tremendous.
I will always admire & root for Russell Westbrook’s commitment to pettiness.— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) October 8, 2017
“He couldn’t win with those cats.” pic.twitter.com/WV3KOxDv79
- Westbrook also received a technical foul yesterday. Pre-season techs are the best techs.
- Paul George got to the free throw line 9 times against Melbourne and converted all 9 attempts. Keep an eye out for PG to be at the charity stripe quite a bit this season.
- When needed, it looks like Donovan prefers to have Anthony run with the second unit. Of course its still early October, so this involves a lot of speculation.
- The NBL is not to be taken lightly.
A Look Ahead
Looking forward, the Thunder conclude their postseason schedule on Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets. One would think that the final postseason game involves the starters getting near regular season minutes, but keep in mind the altitude factor. That could impact how much we see the OKC regulars at the Pepsi Center tomorrow night.
Denver lost their first game of the preseason on Sunday afternoon, dropping one to the Spurs by a score of 100-122. Tomorrow night will be their preseason finale as well.
What’s on the top of your mind following OKC’s win over Melbourne?
This poll is closed
Thunder defense was strong!
Donovan’s offensive scheme is worrying me.
Do we need a back-up center or a 3rd string PG more?