The Thunder return to Chesapeake Energy Arena for the home opener of the 2018-19 season, but things didn’t go as expected.
The highly-anticipated return of Russell Westbrook ended with a 131-120 Kings win and the Thunder going 0-3 to start the season for the first time in franchise history.
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson and Patrick Patterson
Things looked to be going just as expected after PG buried a 3 to put the Thunder on the board first, but the Kings took off after that keeping the lead for the rest of the game.
- The Thunder defense allowed way too many opportunities for the Kings to look dominant on offense. For a team that finished with one of the worst records in the NBA last season, the Kings looked like a top five team getting plenty of good looks on offense, having a lot of open shots they were able to execute, and enough leverage to set up plays and complete them.
- Russ was the same Russ we all expected, except he wasn’t. Westbrook did what he did best in crucial moments where he took matters into his own hands and finished plays to close the Thunder deficit. Russ, however, noted in his postgame presser that this was not his best performance, and he acknowledged that he still had room for improvement. He finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, so he was only two assists short of finishing with a triple-double, which is pretty impressive for his season debut after undergoing a knee surgery.
- The energy among the team increased with Russ back in the rotation, but it still wasn’t enough to secure a Thunder win. Stamina seemed low, and chemistry looked incredibly off. The Thunder need something new to pick them back up, but Thunder fans still shouldn’t panic just yet.
The Thunder look to fire up the win column this Thursday against the Boston Celtics in Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Watch below for a Thunder postgame wrap-up, as well as full postgame presser from Head Coach Billy Donovan:
Billy Donovan FULL postgame presser: