The (preseason) home opener, where Thunder fans get their first kind-of-official look at Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha, Reggie Jackson and those other guys. It’s against the Nuggets, who have experienced a ton of turnover this offseason and appear to be transitioning from the Thunder’s chief Northwest Division rival into a group battling for the eighth playoff spot.
(The video above is from Game 5 of the 2011 playoffs where KD dropped 41 in a clincher, including a fourth quarter explosion where he closed them out almost single-highhandedly. Maybe my favorite KD game ever.)
KEVIN DURANT FROM SHOOTAROUND 10/15
There are just about two weeks until the season tips off, so time is running out to get prepared. The Thunder improved a lot from their first preseason game to the second, so let’s see what they look like in their third tilt, with a week of practice, too. Three things to care about in this meaningless exhibition:
1. Will Jeremy Lamb make a shot? Better question: Will he hit the rim? His 0-8 performance from 3 against the Sixers was tough to watch, especially as it becomes more and more apparent that the Thunder are pinning a lot of their outside shooting on him. He’s getting looks. He just has to make them. Because in the other areas — defense, rebounding, ball-handling, passing — he’s exceeding expectations. But the thing he’s supposed to be good at — shooting/scoring — he’s been horrific. Is it a comfort/confidence issue, or is it something else?
2. Thabeet or Adams? With Kendrick Perkins out healing a dislocated finger, the door is open for both Hasheem Thabeet and Steven Adams to see big minutes. Adams started the last game against the 76ers; Thabeet is set to start tonight. It appears the competition is still open for Perk’s backup and with Daniel Orton now out of the picture, it’s really up to these two to handle business if Perk were to go out with a long-term injury.
3. How does Durant play? KD’s set to play around 30 minutes tonight and he’s been putting a lot of focus on ball-handling and creating this preseason. But with the team on the floor with him not as effective as its been in the past, is it good for Durant to be the passer, or the shooter? Important to note this is just preseason and KD’s really just working on things, but how does he approach the game tonight? Distributor KD, or Scorer KD?
Tip at 7 p.m. CT. No TV, but it’s on WWLS The Sports Animal.
Audio via Randy Renner