The Thunder improved to 3-2 in the preseason with a solid 108-101 win over the Nuggets. It’s the first game of the preseason that the Thunder’s regular starting five and rotation appeared as Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden all were in action.
Kevin Durant led the way for OKC with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Russell Westbrook had 11 points and nine assists while Serge Ibaka and James Harden each added 16.
Unfortunately due to a personal matter I wasn’t able to attend or watch the game, so you’ll just have to make due with the box score and the video highlights. Sorry about that.
After the jump postgame quotes via Thunder PR:
Opening statement: “I thought we passed the ball well. It was another step in the right direction for us. The last three games now our passing has been really good. We’re moving it. We’re sharing, we’re coming off our screens hard. We’ve had good spacing so it’s allowed us to make easy decisions. I thought our passing was really good tonight.”
On the tempo tonight: “I think having Thabo (Sefolosha) and Perk (Kendrick Perkins) back obviously helps us. They’re good players that know how to play and know how we play. It did give us a little of a lift in that starting five. I thought they were good. Perk hasn’t played in a live game since last year’s Finals and I thought he was good in his first showing. He missed a couple of opportunities around the basket but other than that I thought he did really well defensively, screen setting. Thabo came in and did the same thing. He had some good shots, good spacing, and he did well defensively.”
On James Harden’s first showing of the season: “I thought he played very good. He helps us move the scoreboard; he helps us get easy shots for our team. Defensively, I think he took another step in the right direction there. The last three years, I saw the improvement and I see it again now this season. I thought his all-around game was good.”
On the Thunder taking 32 3-pointers tonight: “I really look at if we were open. I thought we were open. If we’re driving and shooting 3’s that with a contested hand, then that’s not a good shot. If we’re getting 3’s that aren’t contested then I have no problem with that. Serge (Ibaka) can make corner 3’s. Nick (Collison) can make corner 3’s – he didn’t take one tonight. We’re good at shooting 3’s when our feet are set and we really make that drive and kick pass for a 3 and we really did that a few times tonight.”
On how he thought the team looked tonight: “I think we did a good job of moving the ball against a team that is very hard to stop and has lead the league in points in the last few years.”
About the Nuggets playing starters in the fourth quarter: “They played their starters in the fourth, they are really good and have so many shooters, creators and athletic guys and our second team did a good job of playing hard and making it tough on them.”
On starting five back together: “To have the whole group back and play the way we know how to play was great. I think we made a conscious effort by coming out strong with the defense and I think we did that very well.”
On playing tough even in pre-season: “The season is right around the corner so it is good to show that kind of performance tonight. It is good to show that we are back, that the energy is back, and the effort was there tonight.”
On getting closer to the regular season: “It feels great to be back out there. We’ve got two more preseason games that we can get more of a feel for each other before the regular season.”
On first-half performance compared to the second half: “Like I said, it’s all practice and playing against other people, trying to get a feel for how to play and find each others’ spots. So this was a good game for us.”
On how practice carries over into games: “I mean we compete so hard during practice and now we get the opportunity to play against somebody else as one team. It was our first time all of us getting back out there together since last year and like I said it feels great. Now we just have to move forward and get better.”