After one of the most interesting off-seasons in NBA history, the rebuilding and young Oklahoma City Thunder squad took down the Spurs 121-108 behind rookie Theo Maledon’s impressive 20 points (7-14, 2-4 3pt, 4-4 FT). After scoring a surprising 73 points in the first half en route to a 15 point lead at the half, the Thunder held off the Spurs late with a strand of long-range daggers by Maledon and fellow rookie Aleksej Pokusevski, who poured in 14 points (5-12, 4-8 3pt).
The two rookies impressed tonight, with Maledon standing out amongst both teams tonight. His versatility with the mid-range, driving layups, and long-range shooting sure made the organization feel pleased with the oft mentioned “steal” in the draft. Pokusevski also looked very much like the high upside pick, hitting three after three down the stretch, though, he often found himself being muscled in the paint, as well as looking lost on defense. The upside is massive, but the progress is still very much in the works for the 19-year-old.
The Thunder got out to a slow start until Mike Muscala (18 points) hit four 1st quarter long-range shots to take the lead. The Thunder were also paced by Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson’s 14 points apiece, with Diallo adding 10 rebounds to cap off a nice double-double. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander only played 19 minutes, but still managed to score 12 alongside newly acquired George Hill’s 11 points. The Thunder shot 48.9% from the field, adding a nice 55% from long-range and an impressive 90% from the charity-strike. The Thunder will host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night in their second preseason matchup.