Thunder Stories

Thunder Can’t Hold On To Another Big Lead, Spurs Win 104-101

After leading by 23 points with 8 minutes and 54 seconds left in the second quarter, the Thunder stopped doing what was working so well, blew once again a big lead and lost another close game. 

Five Thoughts

  • The story has been the same for the biggest part of this young season: The Thunder dominate the start of the game, their defense is perfect and their offense is fluent. However, at some point, something clicks (in the wrong way) and this team suddenly seems to forget how to play. The defense softens up, while on the offense the ball movement disappears. It’s hard to find possible reasons for this, it could be deconcentration, missing stamina, or just bad players’ habits that reemerge during difficult stretches of the game. If the Thunder want to succeed in this season they will have to find a way to overcome this weakness.
  • Thunder’s defense on the three points line was appalling last night. The Spurs shot 40% from three and most of these shots were wide open looks if we exclude the first quarter. Some miscommunication on defense and some hunting for steals caused the Thunder to give up open shots and eventually all their advantage.
  • This season, the Thunder are 1-7 in clutch time (Clutch time is defined as games with less than five minutes remaining, and neither team ahead by more than five points). For a team with so many offensive options, this is an awful performance. Last year, thanks to an amazing Westbrook, the Thunder were one of the best clutch teams in the league. This year the tide has turned and he is one of the reasons for this low start for Oklahoma City.
  • Russell Westbrook and Paul George combined for 10-38 from the floor. This will definitely not help Oklahoma City to win any game against good/average teams. If George’s shots seemed to be mostly good looks, we can’t say the same about Westbrook’s. His shot selection has been questionable also yesterday, where he finished with only a 22.7%. In these first 15 games, his shooting percentage is 40%.
  • Steven Adams came back after missing three games and I thought he did an excellent job on both offense and defense. He finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds (6 on offense). The team should use him more often on offense, he proved that he can be trusted and Adams for sure can score.

Stats

OKLAHOMA CITY

  • FG% 43.0 3P% 39.0, FT% 66.0%, ASSISTS 24, REBOUNDS 41, STEALS 7, TURNOVERS 8

SAN ANTONIO

  • FG% 44.0, 3P% 40.0, FT% 78.0%, ASSISTS 23, REBOUNDS 44, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 13

Up Next

The Thunder will play on Monday in New Orleans against the Pelicans, tip-off 7 pm CT.


Photo by Mark Sobhani | NBAE via Getty Images

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