They did not only lose against one of the worst teams in the league but gave up in a very frustrating way, to say the least. No effort on the defensive end or any sense of urgency on offense. Yesterday’s game showed one more time that when the shots aren’t falling, this team has the tendency to transform into a selfish hero-ball machine. It doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says in terms of results or how much time is left in the game: someone wants to be the hero and he will try to solve the situation in one shot. This obviously translates into a lack of essential ball movement on offense which has never been good.
Who’s at fault?
Billy Donovan is the one who’s receiving the most blame, and not only after the game in Dallas but for the slow start overall. Obviously, as a coach, he has to keep his players accountable, but it’s naive to think that it is a cakewalk to manage three players like Westbrook, George, and Anthony, especially after only two months together.
It’s the players’ fault then?
Probably they have more responsibility than the coach because, at the end of the day, they are the one on the court. The point is if they really bought into Donovan’s system or not. Whenever the team follows the game plan (i.e game against the Warriors, strong first half of each game) they are unstoppable, but whenever they don’t play as a whole together, they transform into the team who lost in Dallas last night, a borderline awful one.
What’s the solution?
There is no reset button to press which could fix all the problems. The whole team (players and coaching staff) has to make a point to speak out loud about what is working and what is not working. Probably they are doing it already. However, once they figure out all the issues, which appear obvious for an outside observer but apparently not for the team itself, they should stay away from them and try to do the right thing for forty-eight minutes, even if it is outside of the specific player’s comfort zone.
Is time to panic?
Probably not. Even if 19 games it’s a large sample size, it feels like this team could take off to a big winning streak any time now. The schedule will be pretty much softer in December, and the Thunder should take advantage of it. If by the end of the next month they are not set well above the .500 mark, then yes, something is really not right and what should have been an exciting season might become a nightmare.
- FG% 46.3 3P% 37.1, FT% 76.9, ASSISTS 24, REBOUNDS 47, STEALS 12, TURNOVERS 17
- FG% 49.3, 3P% 42.9, FT% 72.7, ASSISTS 25, REBOUNDS 48, STEALS 11, TURNOVERS 17
The Thunder will have three days off and will be back in action on Wedsnday night in Orlando against the Magic. Tip-off 6 pm CT.
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