- When: Wednesday, 03 October 2018 at 7:00 pm CST
- Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
- TV: None (Streamed at OKCThunder.com and the Thunder app)
- Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
- Line: -4.5 OKC
A journey has to start somewhere. And for the Oklahoma City Thunder, their journey into the 2018-19 season starts tonight. Thankfully, it’s at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in front of what should be a raucous home crowd. The Detroit Pistons come into town looking to kick-start their preseason docket of five games, and bring with them a pair of familiar faces. While Reggie Jackson will likely illicit some boos from the crowd, hometown boy Blake Griffin should receive the opposite.
In Sunday’s Blue & White scrimmage, Thunder head coach Billy Donovan may have teased us with what may be the starting line-up for this game. The White team, which was basically the NBA squad in the scrimmage, started Dennis Schröder, Steven Adams, and Paul George. Those were the expected starters. Joining them were Terrance Ferguson at shooting guard and Patrick Patterson at power forward. While Andre Roberson is expected to start at shooting guard once he is cleared to return from his patellar tendon tear, the power forward position will likely necessitate this preseason to decide who ultimately starts at the 4 on October 16th.
Patrick Patterson was great in the Blue & White scrimmage, scoring 20 points on 5/6 from deep. Jerami Grant was given a bit of a raw deal in the first half of the scrimmage, having to play on a Blue team that mainly featured G-League players. Having to play a role that was unfamiliar to him, Grant struggled in being “the guy” for the Blue team and never got into a good rhythm. For now, it seems like Patterson will be the starter for the Thunder at the power forward position.
- Russell Westbrook (knee) – Out
- Andre Roberson (knee) – Out
- Abdel Nader (knee) – Out
- Richard Solomon (knee) – Out
- Alex Abrines (back) – Doubtful
- Reggie Jackson (ankle) – Questionable
- Jon Leuer (knee) – Doubtful
3 Things In This Game
1. Wing Questions
The absence of Alex Abrines and Abdel Nader over the past few days have clouded a question the Thunder were hoping to answer during training camp and in the preseason. The question, of course, is ‘what would the wing rotation look like?’. Their absence has forced Billy Donovan to play guys who likely wouldn’t get rotational minutes if the other guys were healthy.
But the silver lining is, this is the preseason and it’s a great time to develop your young talent around your established players. Hamidou Diallo and Deonte Burton will get their opportunities this preseason and could prove to be something revelatory.
2. Behemoths in the Paint
The match-up between Steven Adams and Andre Drummond has always been a fun one to watch. Two large men doing battle close to the basket. It’s the NBA I was raised on. But it’s almost foreign, nowadays, to see two traditional centers face off against each. With that said, Drummond has been trying to buck the “traditional center mold,” and will likely attempt a couple 3’s tonight.
3. Protect yourselves
Zaza Pachulia now plays for the Pistons. Maybe it’s a good thing Russell Westbrook is out for this game.