Here we go with the fifteenth appointment with Keeping Up With the Thunder and my five takes about the past week of Thunder basketball.
The first week of the season without a win for the Thunder. The Thunder lost all four games without being much competitive in any of them. Last Thursday, Oklahoma City lost at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 102-129. and then on Saturday was Philly’s time to roll into OKC and defeat the Thunder, 93-117. The only close game was in Utah, against the Jazz, where the Thunder lost only by a ten-point margin, 96-106. Yesterday, back at home against the Golden State Warriors, OKC dropped its eighth consecutive game, 109-147.
LOSING AND LOSING
The Thunder have lost now eight consecutive games, nine in the last ten, and it seems very unlikely that in the remaining seventeen games, they will win more than a couple of games. The goal is to be bad. It’s working. But also, it isn’t very productive to be smashed every single time. With the talent and some of the raw talent already on the team, next year should be a better and different situation. So let’s hang in there for a few more weeks. The Thunder are now 20-35, and they own the 5th worst record in the league.
WELCOME BACK DORT
Lu Dort played only two games in the past week after missing time due to the concussion protocol (and due to rest against the Warriors). But yeah, two games were enough to show why he shouldn’t play too much for the remainder of the season if the Thunder want to keep losing games easy. Dort averaged 28.5 points while shooting 51.2% from the floor and 60% from behind the arc. He added 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.5 steals, and 2.5 turnovers. Obviously, his masterclass in Utah is also the reason for these big numbers. Against the Jazz, while guarding Mitchell all the time, Dort scored 42 points and shot the ball at an incredibly high percentage: 16/31 FG (51.6%), 7/11 3PT (63.6%). Dort’s improvement on the offensive end might be the best surprise of this season for OKC.
AND WELCOME BACK BAZE
Finally, Darius Bazley is back on the court! The second-year player had a quite positive week, also considering the long absence. Baze played three out of four games and averaged 15.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists.
It is a strange season for Darius. Many ups and downs, and probably fans (and not only) expected him to take a bigger leap in comparison to last year. But we don’t have to forget that Bazley is only in his second year in the league. He is not yet twenty-one years old and has shown that he has all the tools to be an important piece of Oklahoma City’s future.
BROWN AND JEROME
Both players had a solid four games stretch this past week. Moses Brown averaged a double-double (not that this is news anymore) with 12.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. Impressive that he does it in only an average of twenty-six minutes per game. He is part of the raw talent I mentioned above, a lot to improve, but he showed he can play in the NBA. The same goes for Ty. In the four-game played and in less than twenty-four minutes per game, Jerome averaged 14.8 points while shooting 42.9% from behind the arc on seven attempts per game. Since he joined the team, twenty-two games played, Ty, is shooting 42.9% from three.
- The Thunder tied their 8th longest losing streak in franchise history with 8 straight losses.
- Lu Dort is the 2nd player in Thunder franchise history to score 40+ points in a game at age 21 or younger, the other one? Kevin Durant.
- Dort is also the youngest player in franchise history with 40 points & 4 steals in a single game.
- The Thunder signed Gabriel Deck from Real Madrid. The player will join the team already during the current season.
- Friday, 16th April: Thunder at Pistons
- Sunday, 18th April: Thunder at Raptors
- Monday, 19th April: Thunder at Wizards
- Wednesday, 21st April: Thunder at Pacers