Al’s Five Facts: Thunder drop second consecutive game

Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder dropped the first home game of the season against the Washington Wizards, 85-97 the final score.

This is going to be a long season for Thunder fans. It was clear since the summer’s trades, but now that reality hit, it’s hard to watch: from the players’ intro (which was very weird without hearing Westbrook’s name) to the quality of basketball.

Against the Wizards, the Thunder showed some good things here and there (SGA is amazing), but it was mostly bad (Adams, Ferguson, bench), especially the last 4.27 minutes of the game. The score was tied 83-83, the Thunder completed the comeback, but let Washington outscored them 14-2 to close the game.

Oklahoma City is still winless after the first two games. The next one is on Sunday afternoon, against the Golden State Warriors.

Here are the five facts about last night’s loss against Washington:

SGA IS THE FUTURE

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is Oklahoma City’s future. The second-year player had another outstanding performance, increased his career-high in points, and showed once again how he can score in multiple ways and against anyone. SGA finished the game with twenty-eight points (10-17 FG, 2-4 3PT, 6-8 FT), seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, three blocks, and only two turnovers. A complete performance on all fronts. It took only two games, but the fans already love him. The Thunder have someone special on their roster.

OFFENSIVE STRUGGLES

After two games the Thunder are bottom of the league (29th actually but the Cavs played only one game) in offensive rating at 88.2. It’s a small sample size, but also the eye test doesn’t lie: the Thunder don’t have many offensive weapons, and if the few they have aren’t scoring, then OKC is in trouble.
The Thunder scored three points in the last four minutes of the first quarter, and only two points in the last four minutes and half of the game. That’s a total of five points in a little bit less than nine minutes, against the Washingon Wizards, not a super defensive team. Some of the issues are with the players on the roster, some with the chemistry within players, and some with coaching. As mentioned many times, it will take time, a lot of time, and a lot of losses before this team is good again. Patience will be the key.

STEVEN ADAMS UNDERPERFORMING

The big Kiwi underperformed again. If against one of the best defensive players in the league (Gobert) it can happen, it’s not very justified against this Wizards team. Steven Adams started out the game with a power play in the post, where he forced his way to the basket and dunked it hard. But that was basically it. Steven struggled on both ends of the floor. He looks confused and out of position. It has been only two games, so nothing to worry about yet. With a lot of new players on the court, it will take some time to adjust the chemistry, especially with Chris Paul.

BAD BAD TERRENCE FERGUSON

On Wednesday night, Terrence Ferguson struggled badly against the Utah Jazz and repeated himself yesterday against Washington. His impact on offense was not existing again: Ferguson took only four shots in twenty-two minutes and missed them all. He looked always confused on offense, while on defense he had again the difficult task to guard the opponent best player, this time was Bready Beal. He did a decent job, Beal finished with only seventeen points on 7-22 shooting from the floor and 3-11 from behind the arc. However, coach Donovan has to find a way to help him get going on offense.

BENCH ISSUES

This will be the major problem this year for the Thunder. The bench is not good. Not yet at least. Sam Presti could improve it very quickly with all the assets the Thunder have, but that’s not the goal of the year.
At one point in the first quarter, the five players on the court were Schröder, Nader, Diallo, Bazley, and Noel. Obviously, Billy is still experimenting with the line ups, but this was an interesting, to say the least, lineup to watch. Against the Wizards, only Diallo (who had another impactful game) and the rookie Bazley (who scored his first NBA points) played above average. The rest of the bench was way below the minimum required to be decent.

Alberto Bodei

Twitter: @euro_thunder

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