The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped their first preseason game on the road vs. the Houston Rockets last night 107-105.
The Thunder were without three of their starters for the game as Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins were all sidelined nursing injuries. Cole Aldrich started for Perkins, Daequan Cook started for Sefolosha and Lazar Hayward started for Ibaka pushing Kevin Durant over to the four spot.
Hollis Thompson, Andy Rautins, Daniel Orton and Walker Russell all did not play for the Thunder.
Kevin Durant – 20 minutes, 13 points, 3 rebounds
The Thunder came out of the gates looking to get the ball into the post a lot which is a good sign. Durant made his first basket from the post and overall went 5-for-10 from the field and 2-for-4 from three. Head coach Scott Brooks played Durant all 20 of his minutes in the first half and let him sit the entire second.
Russell Westbrook – 16 minutes, 19 points, 3 assists
Westbrook looked like the best player on the floor last night having his way with Jeremy Lin on the other end. Westbrook was posting up a lot in the game which was rumored to be emphasized on offense by the Thunder this year. He did not disappoint scoring a few times from the post. Westbrook’s jumper was on which makes him unstoppable. He scored 16 of the Thunder’s first 21 points. He hit two threes and looked like someone who is ready for a breakout year.
James Harden – 21 minutes, 9 points, 3 assists
Harden did not look as sharp last night. He was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half and turning the ball over. He wasn’t attacking the rim as much as usual and instead pulling up for midrange jump shots (something that was not really in his arsenal last season). The only worry with Harden is that every time he plays poorly, people are going to point at his contract situation as a possible reason why. He just looked rusty in his first preseason game. There’s no real reason to worry.
Cole Aldrich – 34 minutes, 10 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks
Aldrich played by far the most minutes of any Thunder player last night. He looked a lot better than he did in Summer League, finishing better around the rim and defensively as well. Four of Aldrich’s rebounds came on the offensive glass and he went 5-for-7 from the field. If Aldrich can keep up performances like this, the backup center minutes will surely all be his.
Daequan Cook – 15 minutes, 5 points, 2 steals
Cook got the start but didn’t play much. He looked like the same player as last year for the most part going 1-for-4 from deep. His one made three was an impressive example of his range however. Cook said he wants to expand his game and penetrate a little more this season. He tried that some but it’s not his best stuff.
Nick Collison – 21 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds
Collison looked his usual self as well. He took two charges which is so Collison-like. It would have been nice to see him and Harden go off with that second unit and flex their great chemistry but Harden was too off for that to happen.
Lazar Hayward – 24 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds
Hayward as usual did not do a lot to jump out at you. He is a solid basketball player though in games like this but don’t expect him to amount to any more than a 15th man for the Thunder.
Perry Jones, III – 18 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds
Jones III did not play in the first half which was surprising and it meant he did not get any run with the first string guys like Durant and Westbrook. He was solid in his time out there but didn’t really wow at any time. It would be nice to see him get a chance to play with the first string in some of these preseason games.
Reggie Jackson – 16 minutes, 4 points, 5 assists
Jackson got into the game before Eric Maynor which was interesting. Brooks has said that Jackson and Maynor will split the backup point guard minutes most likely. This has to say that Jackson is really progressing from the player he was last season. Jackson was solid last night. The five assists were nice and he looked more decisive than he was last year. He is such a great athlete too that he brings a little different dimension to the floor than Maynor does.
Eric Maynor – 15 minutes, 7 points, 4 assists
It was great to see Maynor back in action after he played only nine games last season before the injury. He looked fine in terms of injury and was shooting a lot (3-for-10 from the field). He didn’t turn the ball over at all. It will be very interesting to see if he continues to be the second point guard entering the game for OKC.
DeAndre Liggins – 25 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds
Liggins looked very good out there last night. He is a great athlete that moves well and can defend. He scored all 10 of his points in the first half and really looked like a guy that could blossom into a solid player with the Thunder. The question with Liggins is his lack of an outside jumper. Sure, the Thunder would gladly invite another athlete that can defend to their team but to truly crack the rotation, you need to be able to knock down a three which Liggins has yet to prove he can do.
Hasheem Thabeet – 14 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds
Thabeet fouled out in the 14 minutes that he played. Right now he is the third strong center on the depth chart and should probably stay there. The 10 points were nice to see. Sometimes when he scored he makes it look very easy in particular one wide open dunk he made down low. His hands are pretty horrible though and the fouls are no big deal but at the same time a little disheartening.
The Thunder will play their next preseason game at Utah Friday at 9 p.m. EST.