Last night, the Thunder looked like a shell of themselves from the moment they ran out the tunnel. As I was sitting in my seat, an arena that is usually one of the loudest and most energetic in the league, fans were…less that hype when the team ran out. It was honestly a bit embarrassing for me to experience, not only as a reporter but also as a fan. At times, everyone looked completely lost except Chris Paul who put up 31 points and 7 dimes. While at one point being down double digits, OKC tried to make a comeback, however it was too late. With that being said, here’s the facts:
- CP3 is making SGA grow up and it’s beautiful…even with this L.
Chris Paul has been forcing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to take on a franchise player mindset and I for one am loving it. I think last night’s game is just what the 2nd year man from Kentucky needed to understand aggressiveness in a different light. Last night, SGA did not make an attempt to score until late in the second period. Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 17 points, 5 boards on 64% shooting. Despite the slow start for him, SGA finished strong by showing the aggression OKC needs from him on a regular basis to win games.
- Not trading Danilo Gallinari is the best thing Sam Presti did even with his bad shooting clip.
Gallo finished with 15 points, 8 boards and 3 assists. While it’s a few points shallow of his season average, Gallinari looked like he wanted to be out there and that helped bring the rest of the team some form of energy late in the first half and the start the third quarter.
- The Refs SUCKED!! But that is NOT why the Thunder lost.
The Thunder’s IQ & energy was off from the beginning and that was apparent from just about everyone who touched the floor. Steven Adams looked lost and still managed to get a double double. Dennis Schröder couldn’t buy a bucket and at a few crucial moments looked like a defensive liability. And Billy Donovan couldn’t figure out his rotation so he played 14/15 players. This game really seemed lost before it began which is sad considering where the Thunder sit in the ranking considering their preseason prediction.
- Adams & Ferguson are playing scared. And that’s not okay.
The greatest tragedy with Steven Adams, I think, is that he doesn’t realize how dominant he could be. To start the game, he looked hungry until he realized he wasn’t going to get the calls he wanted. At that point, he looked less like the man who was voted the NBA’s “toughest player” by coaches and more like a timid big man who was unsure of his talent level. Meanwhile Terrance Ferguson (I know he’s not a prolific scorer), has seemed allergic to putting the ball in the hoop over the last few games. Taking less than 10 shots total in the last three outings combined. Simply put, Oklahoma City needs more from these two players. A lot more.
- It’s still hard to be a Greg Popovich team no matter who’s on the roster.
First let me say, seeing Tim Duncan coach is weird. Seeing him coach in dreads is even more weird. With that being said, Coach Pop is one of the best coaches to ever touch the game. And he’s got style (check our Instagram posts). A team with less talent, and not as much speed or IQ played well against the Thunder. Granted there were stretches where they could not miss and some fouls were borderline blasphemous; however, you could see the impact that Pop’s coaching had. And the bigs have the best power forward to ever live to learn from in Tim Duncan.
Overall, the Thunder did not play up to potential. Hopefully this all-star break will be what they need to not only revive themselves but also catch that fire they seemed to have lost last night. See y’all in Chicago.