‘Kumbaya’ in OKC
Perhaps most notable in the Thunder’s 120-98 preseason victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night was how well OKC players meshed despite being thrown into a ridiculous array of lineups.
Ten Thunder players saw at least 13 minutes of action, which isn’t unusual in the preseason. However, six players from last year’s roster didn’t even play and OKC still managed to finish with 34 assists, shot 64.0 percent from the field (48 for 75) and outrebounded the Bobcats 40-31. Now that is unusual.
Sure, Charlotte stinks. But playing against a bad opponent doesn’t guarantee unselfish play from your team. Teams can still look shabby playing against a shabby opponent. Not so for the Thunder, despite the hodge-podge of combinations on display Tuesday night. OKC played a half-dozen newcomers from a group that had practiced together just two weeks.
“We have guys who get along, first of all,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks explained. “We have a team full of competitors that get along, and that’s always good. They all want to play. They all push each other in practice and they cheer for each other in the game. First team, second team, I feel comfortable enough to play anybody out there with each other.”
Thunder regulars continually stood and cheered on new teammates. All-Star guard Russell Westbrook didn’t seem surprised by the cohesiveness on a 19-man roster that must be reduced to 15 maximum on Oct. 29.
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