The Thunder looked like a much improved team if you just judged the game by the first quarter, or even the first half. Unfortunately the second half was pretty much just yucky preseason ball. The Thunder dropped 33 points on a good Houston defense in the first quarter shooting 54%. They were hitting the boards and hanging on to the ball. They also allowed 33 on the strength of Houston’s 4/5 shooting from the three point line. It looked like a shootout.
Both teams had a tougher time scoring in the second quarter and the Thunder were in the penalty with their sixth foul by three minutes into the quarter. Houston didn’t really make us pay for it though by missing a third of their free throws.
The third quarter was just difficult to watch with the Thunder shooting a very stinky 4/19 (26%) and had 5 turns. Meanwhile Houston re-found it’s stroke and put 26 points on the board. By early in the fourth Coach Brooks began giving Tre Kelley some minutes at the point which seemed to be the ceremonial white flag of surrender.
But again, it’s just preseason and our regular rotations weren’t in use. Coach was definitely trying to force feed Ibaka’s offense, giving Mullens a few touches and giving Ollie some extended run.
Random brilliant observations:
- It seemed like the Brooks was definitely trying to get Durant, Green and Westbrook touches down in the post. Durant is just unstoppable from anywhere, Green is a mixed bag and Westbrook is dangerous down there since he’s also looking to pass out to a cutter.
- Thabo also was enjoyable to watch. He attacked the rim on offense a few times and those long arms are a weapon.
- I thought Kevin Durant was very much improved on defense. He was really working to stay in front of his guy.
- Serge Iblaka (see that?) made a very impressive block on a Rocket driving to the hole, but the play called a goaltend. He can really get up. His offense is just really raw, and he was completely lost on defense more than once.
- Harden looked genius in the first quarter. He uses a little head fake/up-fake and gets his man in the air and then steps around them for clean looks. Later in the game it seemed like he got into a little two man competition with Budinger. Budinger can’t stay in front of Harden, but unfortunately Harden didn’t stay in front of Budinger either. He got loose for a couple of easy open buckets and he also took the bearded one to the rack and drew a foul. Harden also gets too tricky with his dribble right now. He needs to keep it simple. He’ll get plenty of open looks and he can nail the jumper, but trying to carve up the Houston defense wasn’t working for him tonight. He looked very “rookieish” in the second half.
- Mullens showed a little flash of help defense and rotated over for a block but the play was called dead. He also posted up David Anderson and shot a turnaround which just missed but looked good. Those were his two good plays, the rest of the time he was just sort of there, but not there….ya know?
- I think D.J. White was the best looking guy among the bench group. He had a very nice block on Landry to end the first half. I think he is ready for bigger minutes.
I hope tomorrow to see more of what we saw in the first half and less of what was in the second.