Thunder Pistons Basketball

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul (3) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) talk in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Detroit, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Not much is normal in the NBA these days. Although, a preseason scrimmage between Oklahoma City and Boston at least provided some Friday afternoon.

The NBA rebooted its 2019-20 season this week with 22 franchises competing in Orlando, Florida, to finish the regular season and playoffs.

The Thunder won its first of three scrimmages, topping the Celtics 98-84 at Visa Athletic Center on Friday, before seeding games begin next Saturday. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Steven Adams led the Thunder with 17 points each in the tune-up exhibition. Gilgeous-Alexander struggled from the perimeter but made 6-of-8 2-point attempts.

Adams made an efficient 8-of-11 shots from the field. The only strange part of his performance was the three he took on the Thunder’s opening possession.

The Thunder mixed in most of its roster against the Celtics. Abdel Nader had 11 points in 12 minutes, Danilo Gallinari knocked down three 3-pointers, Luguentz Dort had nine points and Chris Paul had five assists and just two points.

The highlight of the scrimmage came in the third quarter, however, when Andre Roberson checked in.

Roberson hasn’t played since rupturing his patellar tendon in his left knee on Jan. 27, 2018.

The Thunder players and staff stood and clapped as Roberson entered the game. They were even more thrilled to see Roberson, who finished with five points in 11 minutes, drain a fourth-quarter three.

“A lot of emotions. Anxious. Happy,” Roberson told reporters following the scrimmage of making his return. “Just overly ecstatic just to get back out there on the floor.”

Former Thunder center Enes Kanter led the Celtics with 11 points. Boston forward Jaylen Brown had nine points and former Oklahoma State guard and current Celtic Marcus Smart had eight.

The Thunder resume action against Philadelphia at 11 a.m. Sunday. The game will be available on NBA TV, okcthunder.com and WWLS 98.1 FM.

Joe Buettner is the Norman Transcript's sports editor. You can contact him at 405-366-3580 or jbuettner@normantranscript.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ByJoeBuettner.

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