One does not expect flawless play action in the NBA preseason. The Nuggets, who’d already played one game, were a smidgen less sloppy, but only a smidgen. (And they’d lost that earlier game, to the Lakers in San Diego.) The Thunder started out minus four players due to injury — Jones, Ibaka, Collison and Perkins — so big guys were at a premium. Steven Adams, starting in the middle, knocked down seven of eight shots for 15 points to lead OKC; he also collected six fouls. We saw a lot of shots not going in: the Nuggets shot close to 60 percent, the Thunder less than 40. (You want to see a curious line? Jeremy Lamb was 9-10 from the foul line, 1-14 from anywhere else.) And the fouls! Fifty-eight of them, 32 by OKC. (Which means 26 from Denver.) The last OKC lead was four points, early in the fourth; Denver then ran off an 18-2 run to go up 12, and held on for a 114-101 win.
Timofey Mozgov led all the scorers with 20 points; Jusuf Nurkić demonstrated both rebounding (15 boards) and histrionic (quelle flop) talent. And since the Nuggets have only one preseason game at home — this one — it’s probably a good thing they got to show the home crowd some good stuff. As for the Thunder, well, if they’re back at full strength Friday at Dallas, maybe we can figure out something. I’m thinking, though, that the guys who came in for training camp — Lance Thomas, Michael Jenkins and Talib Zanna — really seem to be busting a nut for a roster spot, which is always a good sign.