Bruised Thunder Battered in New Orleans

By Randy Renner

The full strength New Orleans Pelicans added insult to the shorthanded Thunder's considerable injuries with a 120-86 blowout Thursday night.

The Thunder had only five regular roster players available plus the four training camp signees so the final outcome isn't surprising, still Thunder head coach Scott Brooks wasn't at all happy with the effort his team showed.

"When you come back to an NBA bench from a timeout you expect to be tired and that has to be from the defensive effort. Anybody can take shots. It takes a prideful player to play on the defensive end and we have to make sure we do a better job with that."

Brooks was especially disappointed at his team's slow start, giving up 36 first quarter points, while scoring just 18 themselves.

"It wasn't a good game for us, that's an understatement. We've got to find some things we take from it and learn from it. I just didn't like the way we competed on the defensive end."

Jeremy Lamb led the Thunder in scoring with 20 points in 42 minutes of action. Lamb continues to struggle with his shot, going just 8-for-22 and 1-for-6 on threes. He did pull down seven rebounds.

Sebastian Telfair started at point guard. Russell Westbrook was given the night off and backup Reggie Jackson is out with a bruised wrist. Telfair scored 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting (2-for-8 on threes).

Second year center Steven Adams had his worst preseason game so far but he still managed to score 12 points and grab eight rebounds.

The Thunder just 39.1 percent overall and 21.7 percent from deep. They allowed the Pelicans to shoot a whopping 55.7 percent overall and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

And again, as those numbers show, the Thunder didn't play a lick of defense and that's what upset Brooks more than anything.

"I didn't like the way we competed on the defensive end. That's what we hang our hats on there on the defensive end and we didn't have enough competition on that end to compete at the NBA level and that's disheartening."

The Thunder flew to Wichita after the game and will play a "home" game there this evening against Toronto.

For the first and only time this preseason you can watch the Thunder on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Brian Davis and new analyst Michael Cage have the call. Tipoff is 7 o'clock.

The Thunder will have another "home" game in Tulsa on Sunday against Minnesota before returning to Oklahoma City to host the Utah Jazz Tuesday night in the final preseason game of the year.



Randy RennerComment