Throughout the early season, the prevailing area of concern surrounding this Thunder team has been its lack of 3-point shooting.
Its Achilles heel. The one glaring hole that might haunt OKC come playoff time.
But on Monday night, when the Thunder's typically reliable defense failed repeatedly throughout an unenergized three quarters, it was the typically shaky long-range shooting that kept OKC in it, eventually leading to a 115-113 comeback win over the Nuggets.
“That's a bright spot,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said postgame.
Overall the Thunder made 13 threes, four more than its previous season-high. And 10 of those — on an efficient 17 attempts — came in the first three quarters.
The Thunder trailed by nine heading to the fourth, when it finally turned up the defense and turned the game.
But without the long-range barrage, it could have been a lot worse.
So in some ways, this was an encouraging night, building outside confidence for a team that entered shooting 30 percent from 3-point range, fourth-worst in the NBA.
But in other ways, it was discouraging.
Through 10 games, the Thunder has seven wins. But none have come in dominant fashion.
The defense shows up, the offense disappears. The offense shows up, the defense disappears.
“We can't continue to do that and put pressure on ourselves,” Russell Westbrook said of the inconsistency. “Most of that is my fault. We got to start the game a lot better.”
It might not be hurting them much now, with the on/off switch flipping to the correct side just in the nick of time.
But come late in the season, playoff-time, OKC won't be able to get away with it.
“I think we just have to have more urgency on both ends,” Nick Collison said. “It has to be more of a priority. Just consistency of our effort and our concentration. (But) it's November. We have a lot of time left in the season.”