The Oklahoma City Thunder got their first win of the preseason, with a 102-91 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. It was the preseason home opener, Russell Westbrook’s first game back, which made it everyone’s first look at the big three in action even if it was only for a small portion of the game. Here are some interesting digits and stats from tonight’s preseason win:
Only nine minutes logged for Russell Westbrook, but man, were those nine minutes a lot of fun. Westbrook put up nine points, four assists, and one rebound in that little span of playing time. The chemistry between him, Melo and George was surprisingly pretty good for their first real playing time together. All three got wide-open shots on different possessions, and all were the right amount of unselfish.
It was a really productive night from Paul George who played the most minutes out of the big three. He finished with 25 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor. He was also very active on the defensive end, with a lot of deflections on help defense and also added two steals to the stat sheet.
Oklahoma City had their largest lead late in the second half, up by 16 points at one point. They let New Orleans creep back in, and even let them lead briefly in the second half, but essentially won the game by double digits after it was all said and done.
It was another turnover-prone game from Oklahoma City, as they turned it over 20 times. They turned it over 18 times in their last game, and the turnover bug was back tonight. The Thunder turned it over 14 times in the first half, and limited their mishaps to just six turnovers in the second half. So if there is a silver-lining with all the turnover problems, at least they got better as the game went on.
As Billy Donovan brought in the reserves in the fourth quarter, it was an impressive defensive outing from them as they held the Pelicans to just 18 points in the fourth quarter. It was just a four point lead for Oklahoma City after three quarters, so the bench did a good job of playing discipline defense in the fourth to lead the Thunder to a nice double-digit win.
Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins both barely played 14 minutes tonight, but they were both very productive in the time they were out on the floor. They combined for 27 points, and just thrashed the Thunder low post defense. Those two will be a tough matchup for Oklahoma City, and pretty much every NBA team this season.
This game seemed to drag on at times, as the officials seemed to blow their whistle at every little contact they’d see. There was a total of 45 fouls called tonight, as both teams shot over 25 free throws each. Paul George has had nine total fouls called in his first two preseason games, four of those coming in tonight’s game.
Another bright spot in Thunder’s win tonight was Terrance Ferguson. The rookie was impressive tonight, as he led the bench with 24 minutes played. He shows a lot of confidence on both ends of the ball and is not shy to pull the trigger from three. He has been very active on defense in these first two games, and is a guy that will definitely get meaningful minutes this season.
A bunch of Thunder players saw minutes tonight, 14 to be exact. There was a lot of young guys who had some very positive minutes including Josh Huestis and even Dakari Johnson. The Thunder organization has a lot of guys that show promise, which is a great problem to have. It will be interesting to see who gets more minutes off the bench as the preseason and training camp continues on.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!