The Thunder beat the Bobcats 97-93 behind a strong finish to the third and good defensive fourth, I’m judging this game by Matt Pinto’s decidedly descriptive, detailed and dynamic call and the box score, but here’s five quick things I took from the first preseason game:
- Jeff Green was The Man in the second half for OKC as Kevin Durant didn’t play at all by design. Green was good in the first half with 12 points on 5-5 shooting, but in the second he really asserted himself when he needed to. He finished with 25 points playing mostly at small forward in the second half. He did most of his damage from 3, hitting 5-7 from deep and 9-14 overall. When hit 3 is dropping, boy is he good. When it’s not, boy is he mediocre.
- Serge Ibaka was big on the glass and inside for OKC. At halftime, he had just four points and zero rebounds. He finished with 12 and 11. Ibaka took 13 shots which is I think more than he ever has.
- Having Grant Long on the call with Matt Pinto was seriously nice. The radio call had such a better flow to it. Not anything against Pinto because I think he’s a terrific play-by-play guy, but the monotony of him talking rapid fire for two and half hours is hard to listen to. Just having Long in there greatly improved the radio broadcast.
- With Thabo Sefolosha sick and Durant and Westbrook not playing much in the second half, James Harden had a chance to be an offensive focus. He did OK, hitting 3-8 and scoring 16 total. He was good at attacking and getting to the line though, where he hit 9-10. Harden also finished with five steals and four assists, which is nice.
- Cole Aldrich grabbed seven rebounds, all in the span of about eight minutes before halftime. He was just 1-5 from the floor for three points, but he had a block to go with the quality work on the glass. For his first time out on the floor in a competitive professional game, I think that’s not too bad.
Next up for the Thunder is Friday night’s game against the Heat in Kansas City. That one will be on NBATV.