Last night we were able to see two sides of the Thunder: the very good one and the very bad one. Nothing in the middle. Unfortunately yesterday we saw most of the negative one. It translated into the first loss at home of the season.
The Thunder started the game in the best way possible: 12-0. They were moving the ball on the offense, they were finding open players, Westbrook kept everyone under control, and the defense was excellent.
Until 9 minutes into the first quarter, the Thunder were perfect, leading the Raptors 23-10. Then everything started to go south.
The quarter ended with Oklahoma City up by 7 points (27-20) but the way they finished the first 12 minutes was only the prelude of what did happen in the second quarter.
The offense was still there. Oklahoma City scored 28 points, 1 more than the previous quarter. The problem was that it did not come as easy as the first 9 minutes of the game. They lost their rhythm. Plus, on the other end, the Thunder gave up 42 points. They did not play defense anymore. Toronto was able to get what they wanted and they took advantage of it. At the half, Toronto was leading 62 – 55.
Thunder fans expected a fresh team to start the second half. The players had time to talk, to see what went wrong in the first half and should come back ready from the locker room. That expectation wasn’t met.
The third quarter was similar to the previous one. Oklahoma City was not able to create any kind of useful offense while Toronto was doing enough to keep the control of the game. The Raptors were able to add few points to their lead. 13 points to enter the last twelve minutes: 88-75.
In the last quarter, the Thunder were able to make a push. It felt like they could have won the game. Oklahoma City, led by Westbrook, Adams, and Oladipo, cut the lead to only 4 points with 4.48 left on the clock. That was it. Russell Westbrook lost control and had four terrible possessions in a row. Two unnecessary turnovers and two, even more, unnecessary three point attempts with a lot of time on the clock to create something better. Toronto scored 8 straight points out of it and the lead went back to 12 points. The game was over at that point.
Before the season Russell Westbrook said that he wants to take less three pointers. Yesterday night he finished with 12 attempts (scored only 3 of them) from the long distance. For a career 30% shooter, that’s not ideal.
The Thunder this year, more than ever, need to move the ball and get everyone involved on both sides of the floor. Whenever they did it, they won.
Interesting stats from last night:
- The Thunder had 18 assists and 21 turnovers.
- Enes Kanter played 19 minutes and did not grab any rebound.
- The Raptors (without Valanciunas) outscored the Thunder in the paint 46-32.
Up Next: at home, Friday night, vs the Los Angeles Clippers