Caron Butler planted himself in the left corner, a bit out of the fray, as a way to ease himself into his first possession with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As Kevin Durant drove toward the lane, sucking in the defense, he deftly fired a cross-court line drive, hitting Butler with what should have been an open look.
But instead, it drilled an unsuspecting Butler right in the arm.
Welcome to life in Oklahoma City, where a 7-footer passes like a point guard and opposing defenses are forced to lock all their attention on two of the world’s most dynamic scorers.
“I was like, ‘Oh, wow,’” Butler said. “So that’s something to look forward to from here on out, knowing that when he comes off the pick and rolls and that side tags in, be there and be ready to shoot the ball.”
That was just a small part of Butler’s first learning experience, a successful one, during the Thunder’s 125-92 win over Philadelphia.
Butler entered to a raucous standing ovation, from a crowd he compared to his college days at UConn.
“That was unbelievable,” Butler said. “I didn’t expect that. I didn’t know how to feel.”
From there, he had some rough patches.
Butler went 1-of-4 from the field and understandably looked lost at times, playing his first NBA game in two weeks and his first minutes under Scott Brooks’ system, just two days after meeting the coach.
Highlights from NBA TV