In their first official game as the Big Three, all three players looked the part as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 102-91 on Friday night to earn their first preseason win.
Paul George led all scoring with 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting in only 27 minutes. He was the only Thunder player to finish in double figures.
Russell Westbrook also made his first seasonal appearance since being crowned the MVP. He only played nin minutes but really shined with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, getting to the line five times and a pretty two hand dunk that made SportsCenter. He also four assists and one rebound
Westbrook played for the first time this preseason after getting a platelet rich plasma injection in his knee. He missed the team’s Blue-White scrimmage and the preseason opener against Houston in Tulsa on Monday. Westbrook has said that he is fine and the injection is something he does each year, but he did it later than usual this year because he spent a lot of time at home focusing on his newborn son.
Anthony added nine points and six rebounds.
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 14 points and seven rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins scored 13 points and Ian Clark and Jrue Holiday each scored 11.
What to watch for
How the big three play together: B+
It was a very small sample size as Westbrook only played nine minutes, but it was enough to see that should have the Thunder fan base very excited. With Anthony, George, and Russell all out there, the ball movement was smooth and crisp. Scoring the ball came at ease and the offense flowed very well. We will see more as the preseason goes on and Westbrook gets more minutes, but tonight was a very good start.
How OKC guards Boogie and AD: C
With Davis and Cousins both only playing a handful of minutes, this is also hard to grade but it was a very average performance from Oklahoma City when guarding these two all-stars. Both finished with double digits points and made their presence known when on the floor. Thunder’s low post defense will be an interesting thing to watch as the season gets started.
Hey bench, show up: A
The bench was very impressive tonight, especially with closing out the fourth quarter the way they did. Billy Donovan pulled all starters midway through the third and the reserves answered the bell the rest of the way. It was impressive play from guys like Terrance Ferguson, Josh Heustis and even Semaj Christon. The bench held New Orleans to just 18 points in the fourth quarter and led the Thunder to a double-digit win. Obviously Oklahoma City is still without Patrick Patterson and Abrines, but it was impressive nonetheless without them.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!