Preseason: OKC vs. DEN - Oct. 13
With two games in the rear view, the Thunder is officially halfway through its preseason slate of games and will close out Training Camp with a back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets. The first matchup will take place inside Paycom Center while the second will be held in Tulsa at the BOK Center.
What to Watch
Wednesday will be the first night of a preseason back-to-back against the Nuggets for the Thunder. It will be a chance for the Thunder to not only make specific adjustments from one game to the next, but also condition the young players to what it’s like playing three games in five nights.
Signs of Carryover
From its first preseason matchup to the second, the Thunder showed signs of clear improvement on the offensive end. After giving up 22 turnovers against Charlotte, OKC only tallied nine against the Bucks while still maintaining its ball movement and pace of play.
Defending the Joker
After facing the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo in its previous matchup, the Thunder will have yet another test in defending an MVP-caliber big man in Nikola Jokić. Keep an eye on the Thunder’s help defense and the rotation of big men that the Thunder throws the Joker’s way.
Thunder veteran forward Derrick Favors will be available for the Thunder’s Wednesday matchup. Favors, who was dealing with knee soreness, had not played in the Thunder’s first two preseason games but will get his first taste of game action against Denver. It will be a chance for the coaching staff to not only get a look at the 11-year veteran on the floor himself, but also how he might fit into a lineup with multiple big men on the floor together.
Théo Maledon on lessons from the Milwaukee game
“Just understanding that against teams like this who are really efficient, you can’t give them anything easy from the beginning of the game. So you’ve got to play hard from minute one to minute 48.”
Coach Daigneault on the benefit of playing three games in five nights for young players
“I think that’s one of the advantages of going back-to-back in the preseason. I don’t think its necessarily beneficial for the returners, but for [the young guys] it’s 100 percent good. We plan on playing those guys in both of [the games] just for that reason – to get them conditioned to what it feels like when you’ve got to get yourself ready to play on that third night.”
The Nuggets enter Oklahoma City having dropped all three of their preseason games by just two points or less. Most recently, Denver fell to Minnesota 114-112 in a battle forced into overtime. In that game, reigning MVP Nikola Jokić nearly recorded a triple double with 10 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, but it was rookie Nah’Shon Hyland who led in the scoring column with 21 points behind a 6-of-12 shooting performance from behind the arc.