The Oklahoma City Thunder finish up their home preseason run against Melbourne United on Sunday afternoon. This is the first time the Thunder new Big 3 (Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George) were going to play significant minutes together. Russell Westbrook doesn’t want the media to worry about chemistry but that is one of the most important things that will lead to the success of the OKC Thunder all season. The Big 3 showed that they can play together and make each other better along the way. Paul George led the way for the Thunder with 22 points against the Aussies and looked amazing out there with the first unit. Coming into the season Paul George stated that he would love to have a crack at MVP and his play in the preseason looks promising. Melbourne United didn’t know how to contain Russell Westbrook as he was able to get 9 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in 28 minutes. Westbrook was focused on learning his new teammate’s hot spots and where they want the ball. It’s going to be a process but the Thunder have embraced that overall. Carmelo Anthony has been able to get to his spots and create his jumper any time he wanted against the Aussies. Melo finished the game with 19 points on the day and showed a lot of promise on the defensive end as well.

Coming into the season with the additions of Melo and PG everyone expected the Thunder to be great offensively but they want to be great on both ends. OKC had 10 blocked shots on the day against Melbourne United and saw a glimpse of what this team can do if they apply themselves on the defensive end on a consistent basis. Josh Huestis only played 10 minutes against Melbourne and made the best of his moment on the defensive end. Josh had 4 blocks and had two blocks that saved the game as Melbourne United tried to score being down by one point. Josh Huestis deserves a spot on the Thunder roster and has been able to make his presence known on both ends of the floor. The growth that Josh has shown overall shouldn’t be overlooked and his teammates Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Steven Adams feel the same way.

Melbourne United came into the game with a lot of confidence and Casper Ware Jr. definitely wanted to prove he belongs with the big names. Casper finished with 20 points for Melbourne United and was the main reason that the Aussies were even in the game. Melbourne came in and gave the Thunder a scare and didn’t back down at all as both teams shot 34% from the field. The Thunder needed this game to get ready for the season because it showed that they can take care of the defensive end when they need a stop. Melbourne United hung in there and took some of the Thunders best shots and kept coming back. Josh Boone looked really well and made a huge impact in the paint as well adding 15 points and 9 rebounds. Every year the Thunder play teams overseas and get tested and it continued today in OKC.

The Thunder will be in Denver on Tuesday playing the Nuggets as they will be tested again on the road.

 

Photo Credit: NBA Australia

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