Thunder 97, Bobcats 93
Jeff Green didn’t need to put up huge numbers to impress his
coach – but he did, anyway.
Green scored 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter, then had
the rest of the night off as Oklahoma City beat the Charlotte
Bobcats 97-93 on Wednesday night in the Thunder’s preseason
”He was really having a good shooting game – obviously, if this
was a regular-season game, he would have played the fourth
quarter,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ”It wasn’t one of
those situations where we just needed to see what happens. We want
to win the game. Any time you step on the floor, you’ve got
something to prove as a professional and as a team, and I thought
the guys in the fourth quarter really showed that.”
James Harden had 16 points, Serge Ibaka had 12 points and 11
rebounds and NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant added 12 while
playing only about 17 minutes of the first half for the
Did Durant mind being benched after halftime?
”I was furious,” Durant joked. ”They’re just looking out for
me. I had a long summer (playing for the U.S. team), at least
that’s what they think. … I felt good being back on the court
with my guys. Hopefully, I’ll play more next game.”
Oklahoma City never trailed in the fourth quarter and held the
Bobcats without a field goal during the final seven minutes.
With owner Michael Jordan looking on from a courtside seat,
Tyrus Thomas scored 16 points and Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw
added 14 apiece for the Bobcats (0-2).
Charlotte, which shot 48 percent, closed within one when Derrick
Brown’s 3-pointer made it 89-88 with 7:07 remaining. But the
Bobcats’ reserves managed just five points – on four free throws by
Brown and one by Matt Rogers – the rest of the way. A night
earlier, they were held to 25 points in the second half of an 87-72
loss at Cleveland.
”A lot of things we talked about that kind of went south in
Cleveland, I think we made an effort to try and correct them,”
coach Larry Brown said. ”We played harder, shared the ball better,
executed a little better. We’re still playing too fast.”
Things clicked in the third quarter this time, before the
shooting touch disappeared with the backups taking over in the
fourth. The Bobcats used a 20-3 run shortly after halftime to erase
a 12-point deficit, holding Oklahoma City to one field goal in a 6
1/2-minute span and taking advantage of some assertive play at the
other end from point guard D.J. Augustin.
Augustin lofted a pretty fast-break alley-oop to Wallace two
possessions before his 3-pointer made it 71-68 – the Bobcats’ first
lead since midway through the first quarter.
”We just tried to do what (his coach) told us,” said Augustin,
who added that he watched film of the Cleveland loss earlier before
the game. ”I saw some things I could have done better. That’s all
I focused on today, trying to do better, and I think the whole team
did the same thing.”
Brown finished with 12 points and Augustin scored 10 for
Charlotte, which is adjusting to life without Raymond Felton – who
left via free agency this offseason – and once again played without
Shaun Livingston missed his second straight game with soreness
in his left knee. Larry Brown said Livingston developed some fluid
that wasn’t discovered in previous examinations, and is being
cautious with him.
Center Nazr Mohammed, who had been bothered by neck spasms,
finished with three points and three rebounds in 13 1/2
The Thunder return the heart of a rotation that carried them to
the Western Conference playoffs, but they opened the preseason
without three guards: rookie Jerome Dyson (lower back strain),
Thabo Sefolosha (illness) and Daequan Cook (concussion). That’s in
addition to forward Nick Collison, who has a bone bruise in his
left knee, and center Nenad Krstic, who had surgery last month to
repair a broken finger. Ibaka started at center in their place.
The exhibition marked a homecoming of sorts for Thunder guard
Eric Maynor, who played his senior year of high school in
Fayetteville after growing up across the state in Raeford.
Maynor finished with 10 points, and his jumper early in the
second quarter gave Oklahoma City its first double-figure lead at
”It’s just good to come home and play in front of family and
friends, especially at this level,” Maynor said.