The Thunder is 0-2 after its first two dress rehearsals.
And while the record is indeed indicative of how the team has played this preseason, in no way does it reveal anything about what's in store in 2012-13.
In the exhibition opener against Houston, the Thunder was without three starters in Thabo Sefolosha (quad), Kendrick Perkins (wrist) and Serge Ibaka (quad). In game two at Utah on Friday, the Thunder was without Sefolosha, Perkins, Russell Westbrook (rest) and James Harden (groin).
In their absences, the Thunder struggled to defend with any consistency, giving up a truckload of points in transition and offensive rebounds, and was plagued by turnovers and bad shot selection.
But the ball movement was crisp at times, a few individual performances stood out and the team has remained largely competitive despite being down a few players and mixing and matching lineups.
“I thought we did some good things the first two games,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “There's no question we have our work cut out for us. But we've got plenty of time. It's not like we're 0-2 and the panic button is being pushed.”
ROTATIONS STILL NOT REGULAR
Because of so many injuries, the Thunder has yet to trot out its starting lineup. OKC might not be able to at all this preseason with Perkins expected to be sidelined until the start of the regular season.
Brooks has used the unfortunate circumstances as a chance to tinker with more lineups than normal and analyze how players perform in different units.
“We've played a lot of different guys … but everybody had an opportunity to really see what they do for our team,” Brooks said.
At times, the lack of chemistry has been brutally obvious.
“We've had a lot of times where we had guys that did not play with one another for any periods of our preseason practices,” Brooks said. “But that's no excuse. We're all NBA players and we have to figure out ways to compete and ways to stop them from scoring.”
SEARCHING FOR POST SCORING
Westbrook played in the post on several possessions against the Rockets, and the Thunder made a concerted effort to get Ibaka and Perry Jones III touches on the low block against the Jazz.
It was all a part of trying to develop a post presence.
“There's opportunities to go into the post,” Brooks said. “It's hard to be a good post player when you only go there once or twice a game. So we're trying to figure out ways to get guys down there more often.”
Rookie forward Perry Jones III on playing his first two games last week — “On Wednesday my heart was beating fast when coach said ‘Perry, you're getting in in the second half.' I'm not even going to lie. But I think (Friday) I was more prepared. I was ready, and I felt like I had some experience under my belt.”
Brooks said the team's communication still needs work. “That's something that hasn't improved as much as we like,” Brooks said. “But it's something that we can continue to talk about and get better with.”…After not playing in the first two games, Daniel Orton is expected to make his preseason debut with the Thunder against Charlotte … The Thunder will resume practice Monday after using Saturday as a development day and taking Sunday off.