OKLAHOMA CITY — If the 46 points the Thunder allowed in the third quarter can be glossed over as something other than the primary takeaway from Oklahoma City’s final preseason game, a 124-119 loss to Memphis Wednesday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, then Devon Hall can be.
The rookie, playing under a two-way contract that allows him to spend 45 days with the Thunder this coming regular season — the rest of the time with OKC’s G-League Blue until and unless he’s awarded a full NBA contract — finished with a team-high 19 points and, more than that, gave fans who stayed for all of it a reason to remain engaged to the buzzer.
“I’ve always really liked him as a player,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “He has a really, really high basketball IQ.”
The 53rd pick in the 2018 draft, Hall's feel for the game was on display as he put together a very efficient night off the bench.
He made 6 of 9 shots, 3 of 6 3-point attempts and all four of his free throws. He didn’t grab a rebound or dish an assist. He turned the ball over only once in 23 minutes.
He looked like he belonged.
His answers to postgame questions were as serious as his game.
“You go out there and compete to win,” Hall said. “So, you go out there and you try to do whatever you can to win. That’s my job, whatever it means [whether] it means one minute for me, 20 minutes, if it means two.”
How was he so unfazed?
“Preparation,” he said. “If you put a lot of work in, you trust your work.”
He was sharp in the first half, netting seven points in nine minutes. He was electric down the stretch, netting 12 fourth-quarter points.
The Thunder deficit ballooned to 15 points with 6:52 remaining, but a Hall 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds remaining made it a four-point game and another, with 6.5 seconds remaining, made it a 3-point game.
Because of Hall, OKC was fouling hoping to get the ball back in the final seconds.
“He was aggressive,” reserve forward Mike Muscala said. “I thought even in the first half he was coming off those dribble handoffs really aggressively, and he’s a great defender, too.”
The Thunder opted to play without Chris Paul, Terrance Ferguson and Nerlens Noel, which likely contributed to their poor third quarter, when they were outscored 46-28.
Still, Steven Adams played eight minutes in the frame, as did Danilo Gallinari. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played nine and Dennis Schroder played seven. Those four players likely represent three Thunder starters and a sixth man.
“They had an energy to them,” Donovan said of the Grizzlies when they pulled away, “and we never really had that kind of energy.”
Hitting 4 of 6 3-point attempts, Muscala finished with 17 points, matching Gilgeous-Alexander, who made 7 of 13 shots. Gallinari finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Thunder shot 46.1 percent (41 of 89) from the field, 40.5 percent (15 of 37) from 3-point land and 81.5 percent (22 of 27) from the free-throw line.
“We made some strides … offensively,” Donovan said.
Memphis got 30 points from Dillon Brooks, 18 from Jaren Jackson and 16 from Tyus Jones.
The Thunder open the regular season Oct. 23 at Utah.
Hall may or may not be in the lineup.
“When you’ve got opportunities,” he said, “you’ve got to make the most of them.”
Perhaps he’ll get some more.