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OKC Thunder falls to Rockets in preseason opener

Cole Aldrich got his first start at center in the Thunder's 107-105 loss to the Rockets. He finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: October 10, 2012

Aldrich's rough start included ill-advised fouls that seemed to stem from a result of being out of position. He got beat in transition once by Asik, allowing the Rockets' new big man an uncontested dunk. And he botched a handoff pass to Russell Westbrook on the wing, resulting in a Jeremy Lin turnover.

But Aldrich showed improved awareness in defending the pick-and-roll, a nice jump hook with both his left and right hand and a relentless effort on the glass, even if he couldn't corral every ball that ricocheted off the rim.

“It's still early,” Aldrich said. “Everybody is going to be not quite ready yet. It's the first preseason game. We're just going out there and trying to figure out what we can work on in practice (Thursday) and go from there and get ready for Friday's games … We're working toward Nov. 1 when the season starts and then beyond.”

Thabeet, meanwhile, impressed by finishing dump-off passes with authority, pounding in dunks on several occasions after a wing player drew his man away from the basket. While catching passes and slamming home baskets might sound simple for a 7-foot-3 player, Thabeet admits that he has had trouble fumbling the ball and squandering easy scoring opportunities.

“I was bobbling the ball a lot the past few years,” Thabeet said. “But getting better every day, that's my goal. Every time I step out there I want to get better at something that I wasn't able to do … We got great young guys that compete all the time and push each other, so this is a great situation for me, a great environment for me to be in. I just got to work hard.”

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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