Tony Parker hit a shot at the buzzer to hand the Oklahoma City Thunder an 86-84 loss in their season opener last night.
The Thunder did not play a very good game at all shooting just 37.7 percent from the field and turning the ball over 11 times in the second half (18 in total).
The Spurs won despite being without Manu Ginobili and going 5-for-19 from 3-point land as a team.
San Antonio was the more experience group totaling 27 assists in the game while the Thunder looked as if it will take some time to figure out how all of their new pieces fit.
On to the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 41 minutes, 23 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists – B+
Durant’s box score looks better than his actual performance last night. He came into the game very loose and relaxed looking, trying to play the distributor role from the start of the game. Durant isn’t best when doing this and it resulted in a few turnovers from him (4 total). It also meant he was shooting less and he only ended up taking 18 shots and five free throws which simply is not enough especially with the offense struggling so much. It’s nice to see Durant trying to do more other than score but last night it became clear at some point he needed to shoot, and he just didn’t do it quite enough.
Russell Westbrook – 37 minutes, 18 points, 5 assists, 8 rebounds, 6 turnovers – D+
Westbrook had an awful night. Not only did he go 6-for-21 from the field but he completely lost sight of Parker on the final play leading to him getting wide open for the game-winning bucket. Westbrook struggled against the Spurs all of last season so this wasn’t a huge surprise. He took a lot of questionable shots like he did last year and a few of his misses were really close to going in which would have been a huge difference for him had they. Westbrook gets better every year and through one game, we haven’t seen the improvement yet.
Serge Ibaka – 31 minutes, 4 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks – C-
Ibaka came out looking for his shot with the obvious game plan that he would help replace some of the offense the Thunder lost in James Harden’s departure. It didn’t go so well as Ibaka’s jump shot wasn’t falling and he was also having a hard time catching while rolling to the rim. Ibaka was also often out of position defensively trying to stay with the ultra crafty Boris Diaw and being taken to school a few times by Tim Duncan. It looks as if Scott Brooks plans on giving Ibaka more minutes but he’s going to need to earn that time with better performances than this.
Kevin Martin – 33 minutes, 15 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds – B
Martin got all of the minutes that Harden would have last night. He gave OKC points and went 3-of-6 from deep. He was hesitant looking for his shot in the first half though and overpassed a few times. His role with the Thunder is to get buckets. It was nice to see him score 15 though in his debut, he’ll become much more of a threat the more comfortable he gets with everyone.
Kendrick Perkins – 28 minutes, 2 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists – C
Nothing special from Perkins last night. He did a solid job when defending in the post but did foul a few more times than you would like. The Spurs basically didn’t cover him on offense though and it led to the ball finding him so many times and there was nothing he could do with it.
Thabo Sefolosha – 27 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist – B-
Sefolosha got a few more minutes than we are used to seeing with him. He was more aggressive looking for his shot and it didn’t translate into much. He made 2-of-3 threes, all of which were pretty wide open attempts. But he missed all four of his 2-point attempts. His defense is always solid and you wonder if Brooks made a mistake not putting him on Parker in the final possession instead of Westbrook.
Nick Collison – 20 minutes, 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 block – B-
Collison was another Thunder player looking for his shot more in the game. He went 2-of-6 from the field with all of those attempts coming in the first half. In the second half, there were two straight plays in which he fumbled the pass in the pick-and-roll and both times it led to a turnover. There were some early signs that Collison will be able to develop good chemistry with Martin though.
Eric Maynor – 11 minutes, 7 points, 0 assists, 3 rebounds – B-
It was great to see Maynor on the floor again and he looked 100 percent. He finished with 0 assists but moved the ball well in the offense nonetheless. The highlight of his night was a 66-foot heave at the end of the third quarter that he made to tie the score headed into the final quarter. He also made a nice floater in the lane and a pull-up midrange jumper which were nice to see.
Hasheem Thabeet – 12 minutes, 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1 block – B
For Thabeet, he played well. You don’t expect much from him and he wasn’t terrible. He is something to account for on defense although he is pretty bad all in all. He got a lot of minutes which rookies Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb didn’t play. That won’t be the case all season.