Though superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are enjoying their time back on the floor together, the Oklahoma City Thunder are far from a polished product.
The Thunder can iron out more early wrinkles while trying to remain undefeated Sunday night against the visiting Denver Nuggets.
Westbrook and Durant have combined for 146 points and 31 rebounds, but Oklahoma City hasn’t had an easy time starting 2-0. The Thunder needed a 33-point fourth quarter to rally for a 112-106 win over San Antonio on Wednesday, and Westbrook’s 3-pointer from just inside midcourt at the end of regulation Friday lifted them to a 139-136 double-overtime victory at Orlando.
"We’re still a work in progress," first-year coach Billy Donovan told the Thunder’s official website. "We need to keep getting better and improving. The biggest thing I’m looking for is if how we’re playing is sustainable."
After missing the playoffs while Durant was limited to 27 games by an ailing right foot last season, the Thunder are certainly confident with their two stars side by side again. Westbrook had 48 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists while Durant added 43 points and 12 boards Friday as Oklahoma City rallied from 18 down, displaying the grit it will need to be a serious contender in the Western Conference.
It was the third time Durant and Westbrook scored at least 40 in the same game.
"That shows a lot of guts on our end," Durant said. "(Westbrook and I) tried to come through for the group and make huge plays. They needed us (Friday) and we were able to come through."
But the pair can likely use some help.
D.J. Augustin, Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka are the only other Thunder players to score in double figures, and the team has committed 40 turnovers. Oklahoma City allowed 67 first-half points Friday and went 8 of 27 from 3-point range for the game.
Durant, however, was pleased to sustain himself physically through Friday’s marathon.
"This game helped me a lot. Just being able to play a double-overtime game, and just getting used to that again," he said.
Durant scored 40 in his only contest against Denver last season, a 124-114 road win Feb. 9.
Oklahoma City, which last opened with three straight victories in 2011-12, has won four in a row at home against the Nuggets (1-1).
After shooting 50.6 percent in a 105-85 win at Houston on Wednesday, Denver took a big step back in making 30.5 percent of its shots during Friday’s 95-78 home loss to Minnesota.
"I think it was us coming out with no sense of urgency," said coach Michael Malone, whose team scored 16 points in the first quarter and 15 in the fourth while going 5 of 25 from 3-point range overall. "No pace to our game, no purpose to our game. The team we saw Wednesday night in Houston was not the team we saw (Friday).
"There was no energy. When you have to coach effort you’re in trouble."
Denver rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has 32 points and has shot 5 of 10 from beyond the arc in two games. He had four turnovers Friday after committing 11 at Houston.