Clutch Time Issues Remain, Thunder Drop Another Close One

After beating the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, everyone expected Oklahoma City to keep up what worked so well. Wrong expectations. Last night turned out to be another disappointing night for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City lost its 10th game of the season, this time against the Detroit Pistons. The Thunder have now won only eight games out of eighteen.
It’s still early, but we are getting concerned. The same issues, as lack of ball movement in the second half and selfish offense in the clutch time, which cost all these losses are still there, and they seem nowhere around to be fixed.

During interviews, the team is preaching patience. The players are not worried about where they are now, how good they are or how good they can be, but something requires to be addressed.
In the second half last night, the “Big Three” took 41 shots and they scored only on 13 of them. There were definitely good looks which didn’t go in, but there were also a lot of rushed and unnecessary contested shots. The rest of the team shot only 9 times in the second half and scored on 4 occasions. This shouldn’t happen, especially in close games when the trust within teammates is so important.

When Detroit took the lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter, after trailing in double digits at halftime, the Thunder panicked and instead of working their way back one possession at a time, they tried to win the game with big plays. Westbrook and Anthony went into full tunnel vision and took every shot possible in the last five minutes of the game. Paul George’s last field goal attempt came with four minutes and forty-three seconds left on the clock. There is no need to mention that this is disappointing to see, especially for a player like Paul George. The only other player outside of Westbrook and Anthony, who shot and scored in this frame of time has been Roberson. A huge and unexpected three-pointer to keep OKC in the game.

Despite all these issues, and thanks to an amazing last defensive possession by Paul George on Reggie Jackson, the Thunder had the possibility to still win the game.
Oklahoma City had the inbound in Detroit’s halfcourt with five seconds left and down only by 1 point: a lot of options were on the table. A semi-contested long three-pointer wasn’t one of the best shots to take in that situation, but Westbrook thought differently. He took the shot, missed, and the game was over: Detroit 99, Oklahoma City 98.

After the game, Donovan defended Westbrook’s decision: “It was exactly what we wanted… I thought he (Westbrook) generated a pretty good look for himself. I thought that the execution part of it was pretty good”. He also added that he trusts Russell in those situations.

It will be interesting to see how the Thunder will bounce back tonight in Dallas, a match that can be easily underestimated.



  • FG% 42.0 3P% 25.0, FT% 75.0, ASSISTS 22, REBOUNDS 45, STEALS 13, TURNOVERS 14


  • FG% 46.0, 3P% 37.0, FT% 77.0, ASSISTS 22, REBOUNDS 43, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 20

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The Thunder will play against the Dallas Mavericks tonight in Dallas, tip-off 7 pm CT

Cover photo by Layne Murdoch | NBAE via Getty Images


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