Mostly, I wanted to see who Billy Donovan started in this first preseason game. Not too surprising, perhaps: Russell Westbrook at the point, Victor Oladipo at the two, Andre Roberson moving to small forward, rookie Domantas Sabonis at power forward, and Steven Adams in the middle. Not entirely unexpected. What I didn’t expect, perhaps, was the sheer ferocity of Real Madrid, who after falling behind by 22 points jumped out to a one-point lead with 4:35 left. (It did not help that Adams was gone before halftime with an ankle sprain.) Donovan had said that he wasn’t going to play Westbrook in the fourth, and he didn’t; it’s somehow wonderfully apt that Alex Abrines, a Spaniard in the Thunder works, took over towards the end, hitting two treys in a row to put it out of reach, or so it seemed. But Sergio Llull, who’d ended the second and third quarters with buzzer-beating treys, ended the fourth with, you guessed it, a buzzer-beating trey, and overtime duly ensued. Real Madrid pushed their way to a six-point lead with half a minute left, and wound up winning it by five, 142-137. If that sounds like a lot of scoring, well, it was. But, as I always say, it’s preseason. Don’t jump to any conclusions.
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