Wednesday was the night that Thunder fans have been waiting for. Never before had they seen Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Enes Kanter on the floor together. The new Big Three didn’t disappoint.
Those fellas combined for 70 points and 25 rebounds in the Thunder’s season-opening 112-106 win over the Spurs. Kanter alone finished with 15 points and 16 boards in just 24 minutes.
But while it’s easy to be excited, this was game No. 1 out of 82. What we’re seeing now has no bearing on what we’ll see in April.
Remember two seasons ago when OKC swept the Spurs in the regular season? The Thunder won all four games by a little better than 9 points per. Yet when the Western Conference Finals rolled around, San Antonio rolled the Thunder. Yeah, Serge Ibaka missed the first two games. Valid point. But don’t forget that Tony Parker left Game 6 at halftime, forcing Cory Joseph into the starting role for the second half. The Spurs responded by outscoring OKC by 17 in the third and went on to clinch the series on the Thunder’s home floor.
Both of these teams have a lot of work to do and a lot to figure out before any meaningful games are played.
The Thunder has to figure out its rotations. When to use Adams and when to go with Kanter. When to run the Russ/Kanter pick and roll. When to move the ball and when to let KD isolate. It’ll be a season-long puzzle for first-year coach Billy Donovan.
San Antonio has to get comfortable with LaMarcus Aldridge; the former Blazer looked a little out of sync in his debut. How will they use David West? How will they overcome the loss of Marco Belinelli? Because at first glance, this roster doesn’t quite have the shooting depth it once did.
It was a fun night for the Thunder, but let’s pace ourselves.