New faces will be tested in Thunder's preseason opener

Thunder has worked on offense during training camp, but communication on defense is also important.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 9, 2012

To further improve the defense, players are talking about, well, talking. The word communication has bounced off the walls so much at the team's training center over the past week that it sounds like the newest company line.

“We could have been a lot better (last year) just by us talking,” said Kevin Durant.

Asked on Tuesday what would make Wednesday's exhibition opener a success, forward Nick Collison immediately pointed to communication.

“I think if we can communicate,” Collison said. “If we can execute some things offensively and defensively is big. Try to defend their sets. And communication is big, talking more and moving as a unit. That would be a good start.”

As has been the case in the past, Brooks doesn't plan to give his stars too much work. Durant and Russell Westbrook, Brooks said, likely will be limited to 16 minutes. Serge Ibaka could play as many as 18 minutes. It's possible none of those three players take the court again after halftime.

“I think everybody is going to get an opportunity,” Brooks said. “Our starters are not going to play heavy minutes. I can't imagine those guys playing over 16 to 18 minutes. Maybe right at that number. But guys are going to get lots of opportunities. It's a great time for them to get out there and show what they can do and how they do it within team concepts.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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Thunder vs. Rockets

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: State Farm Arena (Hidalgo, Texas)

TV: None

Radio: WWLS-FM 98.1, WWLS-AM 640

Three things to know

* This is the preseason opener for both teams.

* Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) and Kendrick Perkins (wrist) will not play due to injury.

* Thunder coach Scott Brooks has said that none of his starters will play more than 20 minutes Wednesday night.

Projected starters

Thunder

Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast.

G, Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 23.6, 4.6, 5.5

G, Daequan Cook, 6-5, 5.5, 2.1, 0.3

F, Kevin Durant, 6-9, 28.0, 8.0, 3.5

F, Serge Ibaka, 6-10, 9.1, 7.5, 0.4

C, Cole Aldrich, 6-11, 2.2, 1.8, 0.1

Rockets

Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast.

G, Jeremy Lin, 6-3, 14.6, 3.1, 6.2

G, Kevin Martin, 6-7, 17.1, 2.7, 2.8

F, Chandler Parsons, 6-9, 9.5, 4.8, 2.1

F, Patrick Patterson, 6-9, 7.7, 4.5, 0.8

C, Omer Asik, 7-0, 3.1, 5.3, 0.5

* All stats are from the 2011-12 regular season.

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