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Top Performers from Oklahoma City's Preseason Finale in Tulsa

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Denver Nuggets 113-107 in overtime to close out the preseason slate for both teams.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were taken down to the wire and ultimately fell short in their final preseason game.

Playing the Denver Nuggets on back-to-back nights, the Nuggets exacted revenge over the Thunder in Tulsa, outlasting OKC 113-107.

Rookie guard Josh Giddey stole the show in the third quarter and nearly posted a triple-double for the contest. Playing on consecutive nights for the first time in his professional career, Giddey finished with 13 points, eight assists and nine rebounds.

And while Giddey was marshaling the offense for the Thunder, he ended up being OKC’s fourth-leading scorer on the night as a few Thunder players carded their best performance of the preseason.

Aleksej Pokusevski

Aleksej Pokusevski, Denver Nuggets

Aleksej Pokusevski exploded in the second quarter against Denver, finishing with by far his best preseason performance for the Thunder

The second-year big has had an up-and-down preseason, but Aleksej Pokusevski stole the show on Thursday night.

Starting off hot from beyond the 3-point arc, Pokusevski led the team in scoring. On an efficient 9-of-16 shooting, Pokusevski finished the night with 22 points, also tallying three assists and eight rebounds.

The most encouraging thing, however, was how he attacked the Nuggets in an array of ways.

Not only was he great in the catch in shoot behind the 3-point line (finishing 4-of-9 from deep), but he was able to put the ball on the floor and get to the bucket, as well as playing a nice 1-2 passing game at times to carve up the Denver defense and create easy buckets.

And while his passing dazzled at times in Tulsa, the Serbian only turned the ball over two times, showing that he’s learning how to play-make without being reckless with the basketball.

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Pokusevski needs to add consistency more than anything else to his game headed into Year 2, but his display against the Nuggets showed why Thunder general manager Sam Presti fell in love with him last year through the draft process.

Mike Muscala

Mike Muscala, Denver Nuggets

Mike Muscala helped run things on both ends of the floor for the Thunder on Thursday night, continuing to be a leader for this young OKC team

Oklahoma City opted to rest Derrick Favors on the second night of the back-to-back, leaving more minutes to veteran center Mike Muscala.

During the two contests with the Nuggets, the Thunder did a nice job of using both Favors and Muscala to find the soft spots in the Denver defense, opening up easy shots just shot of the free throw line for both bigs.

On Thursday night, Muscala executed that game plan, and was rewarded on the offensive end. Muscala ended the night with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, and stretched the floor a little bit as well by knocking down 1-of-3 from deep.

The Thunder are simply undersized at the center spot as the roster stands, but it can work to OKC’s advantage on the offensive end if Favors, Muscala and Isaiah Roby can convert their easy looks in the flow of the offense just as Muscala did in Tulsa.

Oklahoma City’s defense is a little more cohesive with Muscala on the floor as well, as the veteran is very vocal in calling out the coverages and ensuring everyone is where they need to be. As a result, Muscala ended the night with the second highest box score +/- (+14), second only to point guard Theo Maledon (+19).

With the preseason in the rearview, the Thunder will now turn their attention to their season opener on Oct. 20 at the Utah Jazz. 


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