The Thunder took control of the game early in the first quarter, they lead with up to of 17 points and closed it out 25-10. Everyone expected Oklahoma City to keep pounding on the Kings but instead, they stopped and let Sacramento back into the game. With the bench players scoring 29 points, Sacramento finished the first half with a one-point lead.
The start of the second half didn’t show any type of reaction from the visiting team. The Kings took advantage and improved their lead to 10 points by the end of the 3rd quarter. As they did in Portland, also last night the Thunder tried to rail back, but the attempt fell short, once again, in a close game.
Thunder’s offense is bad. Like, really really bad. I can’t wrap my head around it. I obviously understand that there are new players, that Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are used to be a first offensive option so it might be a bit difficult to adjust, but scoring 86 points only against one of the worst teams in the league leaves me stunned. The ball barely moves, the “big3” seem to take turns at shooting and at “leading” the offense, too many shots are coming early in the clock, no trust within the players, basically it’s a mess. There is just one excuse: We are only 10 games into the season and there is still much time to figure things out.
Wile the Thunder closed last season as an average defensive team, this seasons changes had a positive impact on their performance. The Thunder are for now the second best team in the league for points allowed (96.5) and for defensive rating (96.9). Also yesterday, the defense was their strength: The Thunder could steal the ball 16 times and forced the Kings to 21 turnovers. Surely, there is still room for improvement, there are some blackouts, too much gambling for steals (read Westbrook), but overall, they should tackle their offensive issues by building on their defensive performance.
Besides the defense, the other positive takeaway I have from this game is Jerami Grant. He had another strong performance with 10 points and 6 rebounds. A spark, and a surprise, out of the bench.
Russell Westbrook has to become Russell Westbrook again. He has been passive for most of the first ten games and last night was no exception. His words after the game “I love nights like this. it does nothing but bring you closer, as a unit, as brothers. I’m encouraged by the group of guys we have in that room, and I will be better.” He also added, “We will be better, because I will be better, and I am not worried”. Obviously, I trust Westbrook and his words, it definitely starts with him, he has to be the leader of the team and it’s time for him to show it.
I didn’t understand Donovan’s rotations last night. I know he likes to experiment, but he played Abrines only five minutes in total, despite the fact that nobody could buy a bucket. He kept Adams out almost the full fourth quarter, why? I have no idea. Josh Huestis played eight minutes, scored a three-pointer and was taken out. He decided instead for the rookie Ferguson who wasn’t able to add anything to the game. I am sure he is not preaching to play iso ball, so why are they playing just that type of offense? Are the players not listening to him? That would be, indeed, a big problem.
- FG% 33, 3P% 27, FT% 78%, ASSISTS 15, REBOUNDS 44, STEALS 16, TURNOVERS 14
- FG% 46, 3P% 37, FT% 91%, ASSISTS 21, REBOUNDS 47, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 23
On Thursday night, the Thunder will play in Denver against the Nuggets. Another late tip-off, 9.30 pm CT.