The Big Picture
The Thunder’s second preseason matchup of Training Camp was all about carryover. With one exhibition already under its belt and a full week of practice in between matchups, the Thunder used its matchup against a full-strength Milwaukee team to solidify the lessons it has worked to establish thus far. Despite the loss, OKC showed improvement in terms of ball security while earning a valuable touchpoint against a championship-caliber team to build upon throughout Training Camp.
Moments from the 48
Sharp-Shooting Dort Thunder third-year guard Lu Dort got off to a fiery start offensively with 15 points in the first quarter by shooting the ball with confidence going 4-for-5 from deep and 5-of-7 from the field in just 12 minutes of play. By the end of the night, Dort led all scorers with 19 points in 19 minutes.
“I'm starting to know how teams are guarding me,” said Dort after the game. “I'm getting ready and watching film. It's just reading the defense and when I'm open, shooting with confidence."
Improved Ball Protection Taking its lessons from Charlotte, the Thunder carried over an emphasis on ball protection into its matchup with Milwaukee. After committing 22 turnovers in its game against Charlotte, OKC only logged four in the first half against Milwaukee and nine for the game without sacrificing the ball movement and pace of play the team has worked to make a part of its offensive identity.
“I thought we made marked improvement from our first game against Charlotte,” said Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault. “I thought our attacks against the switch were much better than they were against Charlotte.”
Options at the 5 Throughout preseason, Coach Daigneault has toyed with various player combinations on the floor and the rotation at the five position is one that the coaching staff has kept an eye on in these first two preseason games. Thunder rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl got the start against Milwaukee after Isaiah Roby started against Charlotte with other forwards such as Mike Muscala, D.J. Wilson and Mamadi Diakite logging time at center. With multiple options on the roster, the Thunder has been able to take looks at how different big-men in different lineups affect the style of play on the floor.
The Last Word
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl on playing against the reigning NBA champions: “It was a great experience for us young guys really kind of get a feel for what the NBA really is all about. It was kind of like a wakeup call for us to kind of see where we're at from all the work we've been putting in during the week and what we need to keep working on and what we need to get better at.”Coach Daigneault on the value of playing the Bucks: “There are a lot of good teams, obviously [Milwaukee is] of the best and we’re a really young team who wants to stick our nose in the competition every single night. Tonight’s a good reminder of what we need to do in order to do that. For the guys that haven’t been around, it’s a good first impression of what you need to do to compete against a team like that.”
The Thunder will return to OKC where it will have two days of practice before closing out preseason with a back-to-back. OKC will host Denver inside of Paycom Center on Wednesday and then again in Tulsa on Thursday inside of the BOK Center.