McGary Back At Practice, Thunder Seem Ready To Go
By Randy Renner
It's been a long NBA dry spell for not only Thunder fans, but Thunder players too. Neither are used to going this long without watching or playing a meaningful game.
Thankfully that stretch is almost over.
"I was just sittin' at home the other day thinking the season's Wednesday and it's a big game," Anthony Morrow said.
Opening Night is always a big game no matter who the opponent is but Wednesday the San Antonio Spurs will be in town and a national television audience will be watching on ESPN so 'a big game' it definitely is but Kevin Durant was quick to point out it's not a be all, end all kind of game.
"I'm not looking at it as our championship, I'm just looking at it as another step in the direction we wanna go," he told reporters after Monday's practice.
"We know this is a great team and they're gonna challenge us," he said, "but I'm not putting too much pressure on myself and the guys aren't putting too much pressure on themselves. Yes it's a huge game and yes it's in our building but at the same time it's just one game in the grand scheme of things."
The Thunder should be back to full strength Wednesday night. Forward Mitch McGary has recovered from a concussion and will be able to play against the Spurs.
"He's been good, today he did contact drills and was out there for the whole practice," said head coach Billy Donovan.
The Thunder have mostly focused on getting themselves better these last few practices after preseason ended last Tuesday night. Now the focus is shifting toward preparing for a Spurs team that may look a little bit different with the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge and David West.
"I haven't seen them play in the preseason," Durant said, "but they've got better players now. LaMarcus Aldridge is an All-Star, David West is a former All-Star. Adding players always helps and Gregg Popovich is a really good coach."
"I think they're moving around a little more," Donovan said. "They're playing (Aldridge) in wing pick-and-rolls a lot more and finding ways to throw him the ball in deep post ups. I think he's utilizing his skill set inside their system.
"They've still got their nucleus of guys," Morrow pointed out, "but it's not so much about them it's about how we deal with any type of adversity through the game and just playing through anything. I think we'll be fine."
After the longest summer the Thunder and their fans have spent without basketball since the team's first year in Oklahoma City there's nothing like getting things cranked back up again than a game at home against one of your biggest rivals.
After several seasons spent on losing teams, playing in a meaningful game at any time during the season is still something Morrow isn't quite used to.
"To be on a team like this, big game, huge magnitude, we just wanna come out and play as hard as we can."