Thunder Cruise Past Nuggets, Five Players In Double Figures
By Randy Renner
For most of the night the Oklahoma City Thunder's retooled offense hummed along, five players scored in double figures, 25 assists were handed out and OKC cruised past the Denver Nuggets 111-98 Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I was really pleased. I thought we got better from our last game against Memphis. We moved the ball really well,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “We played really unselfishly.”
Point guard Russell Westbrook led the way handing out 12 assists, he also dropped in 17 points for a double-double.
“We’re getting closer to the season so we have to be able to get the guys some shots and get them the ball where they’re most comfortable,” Westbrook said.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 points in 31 minutes on 9-for-14 shooting (64.3 percent). KD also hit two of his three 3-point attempts and told reporters after the game he felt great and was ready for the regular season ahead.
"Next question," he said a couple of times when reporters asked him how he felt, then he smiled and said, "I feel great, I feel great, I'm ready for the season."
Serge Ibaka bounced back from his 0-for-4 night against Dallas on Tuesday by scoring 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting. Enes Kanter had another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Kanter came off the bench but also spent time playing with the starters when Steven Adams left the game after being poked in his left eye. It's wasn't clear after the game how serious that injury might be. Donovan said he would know more at practice on Monday.
Donovan was mostly pleased with how things went in the game, except for one thing.
“We've gotta stop fouling,” he said. “We're fouling too much. Some of that is we're taking ourselves out of position and we reach and lunge a little bit too much.”
The Thunder committed 24 fouls sending Denver to the line 29 times but the Nuggets made just 19 of those free throw tries.
Oklahoma City also had a tough night shooting out beyond the arc making just five of their 23 tries (21.7 percent) and the Thunder turned the ball over 17 times which is actually less than what they're averaging this preseason (18.4) but neither number is particularly good.
“Just trying to make the home run play sometimes, we just gotta make the right play,” Durant said. “We can correct it.”
The Thunder will have a solid week of practice time to work out the kinks after Tuesday's final pre-season game at Utah Tuesday night.
The fine tuning will probably come in handy since the Thunder will officially debut their new head coach and their new offensive and defensive systems against the best head coach in the NBA and the most disciplined team, Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs a week from Wednesday night.