In a season where the Thunder were expected to do great things, they’ve underwhelmed. Following their 108-100 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, OKC failed to capitalize on the opportunity to move into third place in the Western Conference with a simple win.
Well, a simple win is a foregone concept for the Thunder this year, who seems to struggle on a regular basis. A simple win surely wasn’t going to come in Portland, OR, where they haven’t won since 2014.
OKC’s Paul George attributes these losses to the team’s aggressiveness late in the game:
“We have to be in attack mode,” George said. “We have to make plays at the rim. That’s what myself and Russ [Westbrook] do. I thought defensively we held in there. It just came down to us not finishing at the basket, us not finishing enough shots.”
Now ranked seventh in the West, OKC’s schedule won’t get any easier. There are a lot of home games coming up but against some pretty tough opponents and without Andre Roberson (which has proven to be terribly detrimental), the Thunder truthfully may not come out on the high side.
Next five home games:
- vs. Houston (49-13) – First in West.
- vs. Phoenix (19-46).
- vs. San Antonio (36-27) – Sixth in West.
- vs. Sacramento (20-44).
- vs. Los Angeles Clippers (34-28) – Ninth in West.
The conference is so stacked, therefore every game matters at this point. With one win, the seventh-ranked Thunder could leap the standings to potentially the third spot, but with a loss, the Thunder could fall to eighth, with the Clippers just a half-game behind them for ninth and not in the post-season.
Time is expiring for the first season of OKC’s ‘Big 3’ experiment and the excuses absolutely have to stop. Through a season full of them, the Thunder seems to know what needs to be done, but putting it all into action is another story.
George is correct; they need to be more aggressive, especially late in these games but once again, this season’s trend proves that it’s easier said than done.