By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City dropped its season opener on Thursday night, losing 86-84 in San Antonio. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Tony Parker drilled a corner three with 28 seconds left, tying the game and foreshadowing the future. It forced Scott Brooks to draw up a late game offensive set, something he’s struggled with in the past, which eventually turned into a Russell Westbrook turnover.
It was over when…
…Parker parlayed that turnover into a 20-foot dagger, splashing it through as time expired and sending the Thunder home as opening night losers. Parker played facilitator most of the night, with 14 assists, but when the game was in the balance, he played hero.
Not the prettiest of openers for Oklahoma City’s high-energy star. Overall, he went 6/21 shooting, forcing at times, and committed six crucial turnovers. The effort was there, the touch and flow were not. But I’d be willing to guess the confidence isn’t shattered. And knowing him, 30 shots may be going up Friday night. And he might make 22 of them.
The key piece in the James Harden deal slipped into the former Sixth Man’s role quite nicely. Behind KD and Westbrook, he was third on the team with 15 points, hitting a pair of big second-half threes, and also added five assists. His shot-put release is about as hideous as it gets (and will likely make Thunder fans cringe), but he’s always shown an ability to make plays. Just like he did Thursday in his OKC debut.
Unsung hero – Tim Duncan
The 36-year-old seems a bit rejuvenated, putting together a pair of solid performances in back-to-back nights to open up the season. He went for 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, mixing in a ferocious slam on Serge Ibaka, who may find himself on a poster.
The sign of an MVP candidate. You go for 23 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two steals, yet nobody seems to notice or talk about it. A career night for most is a quiet night for the 24-year-old star.
Stat of the game
The Thunder shot only 34 percent in the first half. Per ESPN, that’s lower than any half from last season.
Tweet of the game
An interesting way to win some cash.
The Thunder return to Oklahoma City for a quick turnaround, facing Portland Friday night in the home opener. The Blazers are 1-0, coming off an impressive home win over the Lakers on Wednesday.
The best part about this Eric Maynor 60-foot heave is the noise Kevin Harlan makes when it splashes through. Whatever it is.