The Big Picture
Some Thunder rookies admitted that they had never played a true back-to-back set of games before Wednesday and Thursday night’s clashes against the Denver Nuggets. That inexperience didn’t show up at the BOK Center in Tulsa as the Thunder took the Nuggets down to the wire in a thrilling, back-and-forth overtime game that ultimately ended in a loss. The Thunder dazzled the crowd with its passing, racking up 29 assists as a team.
Moments from the 48
The Thunder’s first 12 points all came on 3-pointers, and each came in a different fashion. Rookie Tre Mann got the action going with an isolation sidestep 3 on the left wing, then Aaron Wiggins took an extra pass off a drive and slung the ball from the corner up the sideline to Josh Giddey for a 3 from the wing. Théo Maledon then buried a trailing 3 in transition from Giddey before the rookie dished to Mike Muscala for a top of the key swish.
Giddey Under Pressure, No Problem
Coming off an excellent performance on Wednesday night where he helped lead the Thunder to victory against the Denver starters, Giddey was again in command of the Thunder’s offense for long stretches of the game. Reacting to Giddey’s playmaking and attacking, the Nuggets started pressuring him full court to try to get the ball out of his hands. The youngster handled it well, racking up 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists compared to just three turnovers in his 28 minutes of action.
An errant shot caromed off the rim to the left. Aleksej Pokuševski was fighting off a Nuggets player on the right side, kept his feet chugging underneath the rim and over to the other side just in time to get a hand on the ball and keep the Thunder possession alive. Between that tap out, a dazzling give-and-go with Jeremiah Robinson-Earl that he finished for a layup and a barrage of 3-pointers, Pokuševski ignited the Tulsa crowd and his teammates throughout the evening on his way to 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, four-made 3s and eight rebounds.
“It was great playing in front of the crowd. They gave us energy when we needed it,” said Pokuševski. “That's going to make me try more. I want to do that every night.”
The Last Word
"We got good shots tonight. We worked for good shots. We ran offense really sharp with pace. The ball really moved." – Coach Daigneault
“We just have to keep doing that every night. We have to keep competing on defense. We have to share the ball, drive and make shots.” - Aleksej Pokuševski
Tonight’s game concluded the Thunder’s preseason slate, leaving three more practices before the team takes off for Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Jazz in the 2021-22 season opener on Wednesday October 20.