The game’s storyline has been the same for all the past four matches: the Thunder start strong in the first quarter, the ball moves, the shots are good, the defense is precise, and then? Then they just sit and forget how they have been playing well in the first 12 minutes of the game. The talent this team has should be enough to win games, but apparently, the so-called “big 3” are not on the same page yet.
The Thunder lost all their 6 meeting against the teams in the West. If you are new to the whole NBA concept, this is not good, because the Thunder play in the Western Conference. In addition to this painful number, Oklahoma City lost also all the games decided in clutch time: 0-6.
- The team held a small meeting directly after the game. They probably had to talk it out. It’s good to have these type of talks early in the season before the situation aggravates and hurts the team even more. Despite the talk, Anthony and Felton have two different ways to approach the level of frustration. Anthony said “It’s none. It’s no frustration. We’re talking things through. We are trying to figure things out.” Felton “If we are not frustrated, then that’s a big problem.”
- Russell Westbrook has been really bad in these past four losses, and last night was no exception. He finished with 13 points (6-22 FG, 1-6 3PT, 0-3 FT), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 3 turnovers. His inconsistency is not the only reason the Thunder are struggling right now, but he has to become the leader of this team again. When he gets frustrated he loses all his coolness and the team suffers from it. I understand that he wasn’t getting calls from the officials so far this season, but he should stop himself from going into tunnel vision, otherwise, it kills the team’s flow. He will be better, I am sure, he has to be if he wants the team to succeed.
- I don’t understand why Abrines isn’t getting any shot. Yes, he was struggling with his shooting in these first 11 games, but he wasn’t even involved in the offense once yesterday. He didn’t take any shot, just a technical free throw. I can’t blame him for it. He is moving and he is active. The Thunder’s rotation currently counts on only nine players, so Abrines should be more involved because despite Felton and Grant, who have been very solid, Patterson still looks uncomfortable (recovering from the injury), and apparently, Donovan doesn’t trust anybody else on the floor.
- Coach Billy Donovan changed his rotations last night. He took out George first instead of Anthony and let Paul play with the second unit. I think they played well together. There was less ISO basketball and more movement. Donovan is still experimenting with everything (players rotations, defensive coverage, offense) apparently.
- Oklahoma City is one of the best defensive teams in the paint, however, Denver outscored Oklahoma City 54-38 in that area. When Adams went on the bench, the Thunder didn’t have anyone who could step up and take care of the paint. Donovan went small while the Nuggets went big and played both Jokic and Plumlee at the same time, that didn’t help.
- FG% 42.2, 3P% 36.7, FT% 50%, ASSISTS 16, REBOUNDS 44, STEALS 15, TURNOVERS 16
- FG% 46.3, 3P% 33.3, FT% 77.3%, ASSISTS 27, REBOUNDS 45, STEALS 7, TURNOVERS 19
The Thunder will come back home tonight to play against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tip-off 8 pm CT.
Photo by Bart Young | NBAE via Getty Images