Last night, The Oklahoma City Thunder lost their 3rd consecutive game. This time the Philadelphia 76ers were able to defeat the Thunder, 108-104 the final score.
This game looked a lot like the one against the Denver Nuggets. The Thunder start slow, let the opponent gain a double-digit lead, and then little by little come back into the game. But as it happened already against the Nuggets, Oklahoma City wasn’t able to finish the comeback.
Obviously, Paul George’s absence (sore shoulder) didn’t help, but it’s also true that Philadelphia was without Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic, and the Thunder should have exploited that better.
Oklahoma City played a really bad first quarter. Plain and simple. The 76ers scored at will and the team lead by Butler and Harris scored thirty-seven points. Despite adjusting the defensive end of the floor, the Thunder still couldn’t score consistently on the offense. Philadelphia took an eleven points lead into the half time break.
The second half has been a little different story. The Thunder played better defense for most of the period, while the offense, despite some bad shots (mostly by Westbrook), started to work more fluently. Oklahoma City made a game out of what it early looked like a blowout, but once again, it fell short.
- Russell Westbrook, the good and the bad
The story of Russell Westbrook, the good one and the bad one, you never know which one will show up and for how long. The only sure thing is that he will battle to get the win. Against the 76ers, Westbrook didn’t shot the ball well and took some questionable shots early in the clock. Also, Philadelphia didn’t guard him outside the three points line and this translated in Westbrook shooting too many threes (1-9 from the long distance). It will be interesting to see if other teams will use the same defensive scheme against OKC. Despite Russell didn’t have a great night, he still contributed: twenty-three points (8-24 FG, 1-9 3PT, 6-9 FT), eleven rebounds, eleven assists, one steal, and one block.
- Dennis Schröder, shooting struggles
Another disastrous shooting night for Dennis Schröder. The German point guard finished the game with fourteen points and seven assists, but he shot only 4-15 from the floor and 2-5 from behind the arc. Defensively Schröder doesn’t provide much, and that’s why he is so important on offense. However, last night, without George, it shown once again how poor is the second-unit production.
- Jerami Grant & Markieff Morris, positives
Even in defeats, there might be some bright sides. For the Thunder, these are named Grant and Morris. Last night, Grant proved once again to be a solid player, on both ends of the floor. Jerami finished the game with twenty-three points (10-17 FG, 2-5 3PT, 1-2 FT), six rebounds, and one block. Grant is able to finish in multiple ways, he is a sure extra weapon for the Thunder offense. Markieff had his first big offensive game for Oklahoma City. In his first start as a Thunder, Morris finished with seventeen points (7-12 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, and one steal. There is indeed room for improvement, especially on the defensive end for Markieff, but as the season goes by, he can only get better.
- Steven Adams must be better
Steven Adams is not having a good stretch in the past month. Yesterday, it was expected a better performance from the big Kiwi but he kinda failed to deliver it. Without Embiid and Boban, Adams should have killed it in the paint, but he certainly didn’t. Adams finished with eleven points (4-9 FG, 3-6 FT), fourteen rebounds (eight on offense), one assist, one steal, and three turnovers. Steven Adams will always fight during every game, but sometimes he should take the game to the next level.
- Time to panic?
Not quite yet, but considering the schedule ahead for the Thunder, it’s not safe to relax either. From here on there is no easy game for Oklahoma City, and the team needs to play with a 100% effort night in and night out. There is no other way out if OKC wants to keep a good positioning in the final standing and make a run in the playoffs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will play on Saturday night in San Antonio against the Spurs. Tip-off 7.30 PM CT.