This, once again, has been a painful game to watch from a Thunder point of view. The team led by Westbrook played an excellent first quarter (32-22), a good second quarter (54-43) and then completely forgot how to play efficient basketball. On both ends of the floor.
The Mavs were able to cut the Thunder’s lead to only one point after the third quarter, and from there on it has been an exchange of leads and tie-game situations.
The Thunder weren’t able to stop Powell, who also scored the buzzer beater that sent the game into overtime, but somehow they were able to get away with another win.
Adams praised Carlise during the “walk off” interview. He said that Rick is a great coach, who’s able to make perfect adjustments during the halftime. This is indeed true, but what is also true, it’s that, for a team built to be a top team in the West like Oklahoma City, is inexcusable to struggle, time after time, against bad teams.
Steven Adams is the most valuable player on this team, and it’s not even close. Who is telling you differently, well, they are wrong. Last night, he kept the Thunder in the game with all his “dirty” work, he fought for every rebound, and he defended well. Still, he took only four shots and made all of them. Adams finished with nine points, twelve rebounds (nine on offense), two assists, and one block. It’s mind-blowing how the team is not looking for Adams as a consistent offensive threat, and I wonder how long it will take before Steven starts to be upset about the situation.
Russell Westbrook had one of these crazy games where he plays a great half, an awful one, and then saves the day in the clutch. Westbrook scored 20 points in the first half, didn’t’ make a shot in the second, and finished 3-3 in overtime. The issue with Russell is that he looked completely disconnected from the game in the second half: no defense, no smart offense, bad shots selections, and turnovers.
Carmelo Anthony playing time remains a mystery to me. He is struggling with his shooting (5-14 FG, 2-7 3PT 0-0FT), and considering the fact that besides scoring he doesn’t add much to the team, I wonder why Donovan is playing him so many minutes. I understand that he is a star caliber player, but lately, he is hurting the team with his shots selection and his inability to defend, at an average level at least.
The bench provided some solid minutes again. Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton scored both in double digits and contributed also with rebounds and assists. The bench players are starting to play better, in fact, pre-All-Star Break, the bench was scoring only 25.1 points per game (29th), since the break, in the last four games, they are up to 32.5 (21st).
The race in the Wild West for a playoff spot is crazy. There are eight teams fighting for six spots, and all of them are separated by only a few games. The Thunder are in the middle of the mix. After last night, Oklahoma City is 1.5 games behind the third spot, and 2.5 games ahead of the ninth spot. Every game matters now, that’s why is so frustrating to watch the Thunder struggle against tanking teams.
- FG% 45.2, 3P% 27.8, FT% 89.5, ASSISTS 19, REBOUNDS 56, STEALS 7, TURNOVERS 22
- FG% 48.4, 3P% 36.1, FT% 60.0, ASSISTS 30, REBOUNDS 36, STEALS 11, TURNOVERS 17
The Thunder will continue their road trip in Phoenix on Friday night. Oklahoma City will face the Suns, tip-off 8 p.m. CT
Photos by Danny Bollinger