If you listened to (there was no television) the last two Thunder games, you might have had some small measure of concern. Not to worry, at least tonight. In the comforting and cacophonous embrace of Loud City, OKC disposed of the nowhere-near-as-hapless-as-last-year Charlotte Bobcats, 120-98, on 64-percent shooting. (We remember too many nights when they were lucky to shoot half that well.) They even made eight of 15 trey attempts.
At least one of the ideas behind preseason is to get a look at some of the guys invited to training camp. One of those guys was guard Andy Rautins, who played five minutes for the Knicks two years ago; tonight, he played the role of the hired gun, sinking seven of 10 shots (4-7 for three) for 20 points, leading the OKC bench. With James Harden hors de combat for the moment, Perry Jones III is the designated Sixth Man, and PJ3 turned in a Hardenesque performance: 17 points on 8-10 shooting. If he could hit a free throw now and then they’d let him grow his own beard.
Charlotte sixth man Ben Gordon tormented the Thunder for three of four quarters, scoring a game-high 21, though for some reason he seemed to fade into the background in the third. And OKC expat Byron Mullins, starting at the four, rained down treys on his former teammates, landing four of ten.
It’s worth noting that the starters, except for Cole Aldrich, knocked out 25 minutes or so tonight instead of the 20 they’d been getting. I consider this to be a form of fanservice. (And the big man always gets fewer minutes, at least in Scott Brooks-style rotations.)
Next game is Friday in the BOk Center in Tulsa, against the post-Nash Suns.