Russell Westbrook, who has become Mr. Clutch in the last couple of seasons couldn’t produce the same magic that helped win him the MVP award last season. On this occasion, Westbrook air-balled two three-point attempts, one coming at 2:07 in the fourth with the Thunder down 96-91 and the second shot coming with 14 seconds remaining on the clock with the Thunder down 99-96. Westbrook air-balled again to ultimately shoot the Thunder out of the game. He finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a game Thunder fans have learned to live with. Paul George was the best Thunder player after rediscovering his shot, shooting 45 percent from the field and an important 50 percent from deep on six attempts. The Thunder falls to the fifth seed as the Spurs move to the fourth seed after defeating the Thunder.
George has been in a brutal slump since the All-Star break after shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from three-point range before the All-Star break George has been shooting 38 percent from the field and a staggering 28.6 percent from three. Against the San Antonio Spurs George seemed to have found the light at the end of his brutal tunnel he has been in as George shot 45 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. The Thunder need George to finally be over his recent slump as they are in a real fight to be in playoff contention after this loss to the Spurs the Thunder sit in fifth in the Western Conference three wins up on the ninth-place Denver Nuggets who they face next.
Felton has been tremendous for the Thunder this season giving them great support and another scoring option when Westbrook takes his rest on the bench. Against the Spurs, Felton gave the Thunder 10 points, three rebounds and an assist on 50 percent shooting from the field and a solid 2-of-4 from three-point range. Felton has been the Thunders best recruit this season when you look at the upgrade he has been on the backup point guard position from Semaj Christon and Norris Cole from last season. Felton has given the Thunder 7.1 points, 2.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds off the bench.
Tonight was the perfect example of what Russell Westbrook loyalist and Thunder fans talk about when they say you live with his flaws because his upside is as big as Mount Everest. Westbrook has the ability to win a game all by himself, the positive of that is he knows it. The negative of it is that he knows it. Westbrook had two chances to put the Thunder within a possession of taking the lead but he fell short. Literally. Westbrook air-balled his two attempts and finished the game shooting 36.8 percent from the field and a devastating 0-of-4 from three-point range with two of those misses coming in the clutch. Westbrook wasn’t the sole reason the Thunder lost this game to the Spurs but he had the opportunity to put his team in a position to win and he wasn’t able to get the job done this time. And he has to wear that.
Free Throw battle
The Oklahoma City Thunder loss by five points to the Spurs. The Spurs made eight more free throws than the Thunder as they shot 22-of-30 at 73.3 percent. The Thunder continued their troubled season from the free-throw line as they sit 29th in the league shooting 71.3 percent for the season only above the Los Angeles Lakers who are shooting 70.9. Against the Spurs, the Thunder shot 14-of-21 from the free-throw line at 66.7 percent and shot themselves in the foot once again. The Thunder need to find their way from the free-throw line, they can’t get into the playoffs and leave all these points at the line and expect to win a close game in the playoffs especially against the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets or the Spurs as it showed in this game.
Thunder fans understood they weren’t getting Carmelo Anthony the scoring phenom who could drop 60 points on any given night, but they didn’t expect an Anthony that can’t score double digits either. Anthony finished with nine points on six shots in 31:55 minutes, Anthony shot 100 percent from three-point range on three attempts which is fantastic but it’s not enough to impact a game like he is still capable of doing. Anthony has displayed he can still impact a game this season you just have to go back and watch his performance against the Atlanta Hawks back on the 13th of March. A player of Anthony’s quality can’t shoot only six times in a game especially a game of this magnitude with such grave consequences. If Oklahoma City is going to mount any kind of challenge in the playoffs Anthony needs to have an impact at the moment he isn’t doing that and the Thunder are sliding down the standings.