Carmelo Anthony shines in debut as OKC falls to Houston

Photo by Shane Bevel | NBAE via Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points in the first half as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first preseason game is in the books. Oklahoma City lost to the Houston Rockets 104-97 in front of a sold out BOK Center in Tulsa.

Anthony scored the first 10 points for Oklahoma City as his threes and aggressive nature was a nice change of pace for him and the Thunder. With Westbrook sitting due to his knee, Anthony took over and really made the Rockets pay when he was on the floor.

Paul George’s first game with the Thunder probably could have gone better but overall was okay. He finished 6-of-13 from teh floor for 15 points and five fouls. He also pulled down five rebounds in 26 game minutes. George started the game out 1-of-6, finishing 5-of-7.

The Rockets hit a lot of threes and it’s what we expected. There wasn’t much we were going to do in a game where Westbrook was sitting. However, there was no quit from the Thunder. Despite getting down by as many as 20 in the game on multiple occasions, the Thunder fought back and closed to within single digits every time.

Oklahoma City’s largest lead came early in the first quarter, when the Thunder jumped up 19-13 when Steven Adams hit two free throws with 3:28 left in the quarter.

Adams, who was taken down by an unfortunate play by James Harden in the third quarter, left with a back injury. Adams has a history of lower back issues. Harden was issued a Flagrant-1 call for the take down. He finished with four points, four rebounds and four fouls.

Raymond Felton had two turnovers in the first two minutes of the game but played well down the stretch. He had the best plus/minus of all the starters at plus-9.

There were some issues with chemistry. That’s going to happen. Some miscues and missed assignments. The Thunder have plenty of work to do over the next week and will find a way to fix things going forward.

Oklahoma City will be actually home on Friday night as they host the New Orleans Pelicans at Chesapeake Energy Arena. That game is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. It will be available on the Thunder app only.

What to watch for

Melo-PG Chemistry

There were a couple of awkward plays but really they seemed to have it figured out in the second quarter. They’re good friends and it’s not the first time they’ve ever played basketball together. They’ll get it down as the games move on and the season nears.

Rockets Free throw attempts

Chris Paul and James Harden combined — combined — for only 11 attempts. Harden averaged 11 attempts last season. Sure, you could say it was only preseason but the Thunder did a good job of not being baited into those silly fouls we saw in the playoffs last year.

Bench shows up

The bench had its issues but really it was fine. WE’re really not going to see what they’re about until everyone is healthy. You need Patrick Patterson and Co. healthy before we can really judge how they’re doing. There were some bright spots like Isaiah Canaan and Jerami Grant.

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