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It was a dominant performance, as Oklahoma City had a great second quarter to take the lead away from the Atlanta Hawks and never looked back. The Thunder had four different guys in double figures scoring, led by Paul George who had 22 points while Dennis Schroder finished with 20 points of his own. Oklahoma City is now 2-1 in preseason play, with just one more preseason game left until the regular season starts.

Now, here are three takeaways from today’s solid win by the Thunder in Tulsa:

Competent Bench Play

If there is something that Oklahoma City would love to see an improvement in this season, it’s their bench play. Being able to rely on key reserves each game to being consistent is a major key for teams that make it deep in the postseason. It is an area the Thunder have lacked. However, today versus the Hawks, the bench play was very impressive, with Hamidou Diallo and Alex Abrines leading the way. They both looked very comfortable in their roles, Abrines looking seemingly more comfortable than he ever has in a Thunder uniform. Diallo on the other hand, showing he might be ready for a good chunk of minutes, and looking like one of those great Sam Presti sleeper draft picks.

Not to mention, Nerlens Noel had some great minutes today, with big time defensive plays including an absolutely monster block on an attempted slam dunk.

Schroder is fun to watch 

No doubt Dennis in his young career had his struggles in Atlanta. Today versus his former team, Schroder looked very good. His confidence seems very high, and he seems to have the natural ability to run this Thunder offense. From his mid range game, the nifty floaters in the paint and the slick passing to Steven Adams in the two man game, it is no doubt Schroder will have a major role on this Oklahoma City team.

HAMIDOU DIALLO THOUGH

Alright, we’ve already discussed him in a previous takeaway post, and also mentioned above, but he deserves to be mentioned as his play has been a warm welcome. It seemed this guy would be a draft and stash type player, spending most of his playing time in his first year playing for the Oklahoma City Blue. But after a few preseason games, Diallo seems like the real deal, becoming maybe one of those great sleeper picks. He finished with 13 points in 24 minutes, while also just being all over the court today with his insane athleticism. It is preseason, of course, but Diallo has no doubt earned himself some rotation minutes once the regular season begins in nine days.

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Marshall Clayton

Marshall Clayton is a college student by day, NBA fan by night.

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