Life without Kevin Durant began for the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 142-137 overtime loss to Real Madrid in its first preseason game in Spain on Monday.
Thunder’s revamped team was in control for the first three quarters but allowed the nine-time Euroleague champion to rally for the victory in front of a raucous local crowd in the Spanish capital.
Russell Westbrook, newcomer Victor Oladipo and forward Enes Kanter led the way for the Thunder in the team’s first game since Durant’s departure.
Westbrook had 18 points from 22 minutes, Oladipo added 34 points and five assists from 33 minutes and Kanter had 29 points and 10 rebounds from 33 minutes.
Real Madrid sent the game into overtime with a three-pointer by Sergio Llull at the buzzer, then pulled away in the final minute of overtime. Llull had five of the 20 threes scored by the hosts. Guard Jaycee Carroll led Madrid with 24 points, two more than Llull.
The Thunder made their fourth Western Conference finals appearance in six years last season but Durant, who played eight seasons in Oklahoma, left in July to join theGolden State Warriors as a free agent. Serge Ibaka also departed in a trade to the Orlando Magic on draft night, leaving Russell in charge of leading a group of new faces.
Oladipo, a sharpshooting guard, seemed to fit in nicely in his new team, doing a good job controlling the game along with Russell. Oladipo finished 14 for 24 from the field.
He was one of the players traded for Ibaka, along with forward Ersan Ilyasova and draft pick Domantas Sabonis, a move intended to improve the team’s depth and shore up its inconsistent shooting guard position.
Russell, now the team’s lone star, played only in the first and third quarters and finished 7 for 14 from the field.
The Thunder arrived in Spain with coach Billy Donovan saying the overseas trip would be crucial to help his new group of players bond ahead of the new season.
In addition to playing Real Madrid, the Thunder will also face 18-time Spanish League champion and two-time Euroleague champion FC Barcelona Lassa on Wednesday in Barcelona.
The Thunder then return to the U.S. to play four preseason games in October. They start their season at the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 26.