It’s been a long 592 days since the Oklahoma City Thunder have played a regular season in the renamed Paycom Center.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander saw a return to form and Josh Giddey saw his best performance as a pro as Oklahoma City played their first game back on Sunday, losing 115-103 to the Philadelphia 76ers
“It’s just nice to be back,” said one fan roaming the halls of Paycom Center pregame. “It’s been a long time and we’re just ready to cheer our guys on.”
When fans last cheered on Oklahoma City from what was formerly known as Chesapeake Energy Arena, only Luguentz Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Isaiah Roby and Darius Bazley were present on the team.
It was visibly the Thunder’s best performance of the season following poor showings against Utah and Houston.
Seth Curry got the Sixers off to a white-hot start, shooting 8-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line to finish the first quarter with 23 points and a 36-26 lead.
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Curry would finish the second quarter scoreless, as Oklahoma City outscored Philadelphia 25-23 to stay in the game 59-51.
"We're still in this," another giddy fan said at halftime. "It's great to be here."
Oklahoma City would cut the lead to three in the third quarter, but eventually fell by a margin of 12.
Gilgeous-Alexander looked his old self, finishing with 29 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Rookie Josh Giddey had his best performance yet, finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Luguentz Dort provided 13 points and his pattered, stingy defense.
Curry led the Sixers with 28 points, followed by superstar center Joel Embiid with 22 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Oklahoma City now looks to Tuesday’s matchup with the Warriors at 7 p.m. in Paycom Center.