The story of the game has been pretty simple and very similar to the one in Phoneix on Sunday night. The first half has been balanced, while the second one has been a terrible display of all Thunder’s issues. Oklahoma City was slow, sloppy, without emotions, and without any energy. Portland on the other end, even without their best player Damian Lillard, kept its composure and stuck to their game plan through all the forty-eight minutes.
The Thunder have now lost four of their last six games, while their record is now 22-19 (6th in the West).
Oklahoma City played another game without its defensive specialist Andre Roberson, and yet again the defense looked completely lost. The Thunder are now 3-4 without Roberson on the court. In these games, the Thunder gave up an average of more than 110 points. If you are wondering, it is bad. Like the bottom of the league, really bad. It’s obvious that Roberson is an important piece of the Thunder’s puzzle, but it’s hard to justify another bad loss like this one by pointing out the only absence of Roberson.
Russell Westbrook is always the last one to give up, and also tonight it was the case. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Westbrook finished the game with 22 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and 6 turnovers. As reported by Royce Young (ESPN), Westbrook left the arena before the locker room opened without speaking with the media. I can’t blame him.
Raymon Felton is the only trustable player coming out of the bench. Also tonight he played at the right pace, he was under control on offense and defended well. Felton finished with 13 points while shooting 4-8 from the floor, 2-4 from behind the arc, and 3-4 from the free throw line.
Beside Felton, Oklahoma City does not have a reliable bench. Patterson has been disappointing all season long, Abrines as well, Ferguson (who started the past four games) is a young rookie, and the combo Huestis/Grant has too many ups and downs to be always trusted. The trade deadline is a month away, and Sam Presti has to work some magic to fix it.
The Thunder have shown two faces all season long: one night they look like the best team in the league, and the other night like a bunch of random players who don’t know what to do. Oklahoma City still doesn’t have a clear identity. After forty-one game, the exact half of the regular season, it is hard to accept for the fans. This team showed times after times its real potential, and that’s why performances like the ones against the Suns and the Trailblazers are so hard to understand.
- FG% 44.0, 3P% 41.9, FT% 73.1, ASSISTS 20, REBOUNDS 38, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 14
- FG% 53.1, 3P% 43.5, FT% 80.8, ASSISTS 19, REBOUNDS 42, STEALS 10, TURNOVERS 16
The Thunder will play tonight in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tip-off 7 p.m. CT
Cover Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images