The Oklahoma City Thunder began the NBA preseason last night from Paycom Center facing the Charlotte Hornets. OKC saw fans in the newly named Paycom Center for the first time in over 500 days. However, Charlotte took OKC out of the game early, turning this preseason game into practice with a final score of 113-97. By the end of the first quarter, the Hornets led the Thunder by a score of 34-18. OKC would have a 27, 26, and 26 point quarter for the remainder of the night.
Among the listed out for OKC were Derrick Favors, Kendrich Williams, and Vit Krejci.
According to Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault, Krejci is currently not with the team due to a visa situation.
The starting lineup for OKC included rookie Josh Giddey, who quickly became the highlighted part of the evening. In 29 minutes, Giddey finished with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, seven rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers. Giddey led OKC in scoring, with only Lou Dort and Aleksej Pokusevski scoring in double digits with 11 each. Unfortunately, OKC did not shoot the ball well in this game, particularly from the three-point line where they were 15-47 from beyond the arch. However, 33-86 from the floor doesn’t do them any favors either.
LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists. The Hornets also saw double-digit scoring from Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier, Jalen McDaniels, and P.J. Washington.
Keep in mind; this is the first game of the preseason. It’s doubtful that OKC will be down 15-20 points by the end of the first quarter on a nightly basis. You would expect a better defensive presence when Favors and Williams make their season debuts. It’s never a good idea to get too high or low on the preseason. However, if OKC continues to shoot 47 three-point shots and connecting on 15 of them, it will be a long season. OKC’s next preseason game is Sunday night against the defending Champion Milwaukee Bucks on ESPN.