Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost in Los Angeles against the Clippers, 110-118 the final score.
After a battle in Portland on Wednesday night, the Thunder faced another one yesterday in Los Angeles. This time, after trailing for as much as fourteen points, Oklahoma City failed to come out with a win.
The Thunder are now 4th in the Western Conference with a 40-26 record.
- Officials, bad
Players have off nights, coaches have off nights, and obviously, officials will have off nights too. Yesterday the officials had a really bad night, especially on the Thunder’s side. The Thunder shot thirteen free-throws in the first quarter, they will end up shooting thirteen free-throws for the remaining of the game. This itself sounds already crazy, especially considering that Oklahoma City likes to attack the paint, and there is where most of the contacts happen. In addition, the Clippers shot forty-six (46) free-throws. Gallinari and Williams took fifteen each. The Thunder were indeed tired since last night, and this can translate in more fouls, but some of the calls looked extream and one-sided. Paul George spoke about this problem in the post-game interview, he will probably get fined, but it was the right thing to do at this point.
- Russell Westbrook, never tired
Russell Westbrook never gets tired, and every game he will give 100% of his energy. Last night Westbrook played like it wasn’t the second night of a back to back, and he finished the game with thirty-two points (12-23 FG, 2-9 3PT, 6-8 FT), eight rebounds, seven assists, one block, and only one turnover. However, he fouled out with a little more of three minutes left to play in the game. Probably the last call was not correct, but Westbrook committed a couple of silly fouls during the course of the game, mostly out of frustration. This is something he needs to clean up. Also, he reached the 15th technical foul, one more and he will be suspended for a game. Not optimal during this time of the year.
- Jerami Grant, constant
One player the Thunder can always count on is Jerami Grant. He didn’t score any three-pointer yesterday (0-3), but he contributed in the paint, where he finished 5-6. Jerami finished the game with twelve points, four rebounds, and one assist. He always makes his presence felt on defense, and he (with probably Terrence Ferguson) is the biggest surprise this season for Oklahoma City. Also, in the past nine games, Grant is shooting 40.5% from behind the arc. Impressive.
- Shooting struggles
One of the reasons to add to this loss it’s indeed the shooting struggles this team is facing. Against the Clippers the Thunder did a really poor job in shooting the ball from all the areas. Oklahoma City shot 40.2% from the floor, 25% from behind the arc (11-44), and a miserable 65.4% from the free-throw line (17-26). Since the start of 2019, the Thunder are one of the best three points shooting teams in the league (9th at 37.1%). However, since the All-Star break, they are 29th at 31.1%. We can’t say the same for the FT: Oklahoma City is bad at the line since the start of the season, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better.
- The second unit, ups & downs
If Markeef Morris is getting a little bit better each game on both ends and of the floor, then it feels like Dennis Schröder is getting worse. That’s a problem. The Thunder rely on the German point guard as a contributor from the bench. He did a great job until the All-Star Game, but since then Dennis is playing and shooting poorly (31.9% FG, 21.2 3PT%). Noel and Nader provide always different types of performances and last night both were solid on the defensive end: eleven rebounds, five blocks, and three steals combined.
The Thunder will have a couple of days off before facing the Utah Jazz, in Salt Lake City, on Monday night. Tip-off 8 pm CT.
Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein | Getty Images