Thunder: Worst game of the year
The Thunder played its worst game of the season Sunday night. Oh, maybe something was uglier in November, back when the team and the city and the NBA didn’t know what it had on its hands. Or maybe there was a bigger clunker in December, but the stakes weren’t quite as high.
But I say Sunday night was the worst, because the stakes were huge and the Thunder does indeed know what it is, which is a really good basketball team. So how did the Thunder produce a 120-117 loss to a hapless Golden State squad?
The Warriors play street ball and don’t play it very well. Golden State plays no defense and bad offense, throwing up 3-pointers at every turn. The Warriors play like a summer AAU team, as if they have no coach, which in reality they don’t, since Don Nelson has offered no direction in three years, though he still collects victories, hence his passing Lenny Wilkens last week as the NBA career victory leader.
So what did the Thunder do after taking a 42-25 lead after one quarter? The Thunder trumped the Warriors. Golden State wanted to play AAU? OK, said OKC, we’ll play street ball. What’s the traveling basketball show that apparently is some kind of cult rage? And !? That’s what the Thunder looked like.
The Thunder in the second quarter, with the chance to put this game away, got careless. No. That’s not correct. Careless doesn’t come close to describing it. The Thunder tried to turn the game into a style show. Fancy passes. Wild drives.
Thunder announcers Grant Long and Brian Davis said the Thunder in the third quarter began settling for jump shots, which it did, but this game was way worse than that. Settle for jump shots, and the Thunder probably still wins. The Thunder seemed to decide that victory wasn’t enough and that it had to act cool in the presence of a no-care team like the Warriors.
The Thunder kept flying into the lane with no pretense of what would come next. No path to the basket, no teammate to throw to. The Thunder kept throwing ridiculous passes. Here was my (least) favorite example. Russell Westbrook makes an inbounds steal after a Thunder basket. Kevin Durant streaks back into the lane. Trouble was, the Warriors miraculously got back on defense and three were surrounding Durant. Westbrook wisely looked away. Then Westbrook unwisely threw the ball anyway, and Golden State had a steal.
This was a game given away. With a chance to avoid the Lakers in the first round, the Thunder instead resorted to the kind of team you expected OKC to be a season after going 23-59. A team that appeared to be trying to have fun while a wayward season trickles down.
Maybe the Thunder will learn from this. Maybe the Thunder will realize that with simple, fundamental basketball in the second and third quarters, it would have led Golden State by 30 points and the regulars could have sat the final 12 minutes, awaiting tonight’s showdown in Portland.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 24384Oklahoma baseball: Joe Simpson 'thrilled' that Sunny Golloway left OU
- 14430Classen School of Advanced Studies valedictorian disappears while hiking with family in Ecuador
- 10043UPDATE: I-40 reopened at Shields after fatal wreck
- 8936Tom Ward is out as SandRidge's CEO
- 7944Oklahoma State football: A stunning success story at the box office
- 7183Oklahoma State football: Mike Gundy lifts Wes Lunt restrictions, but too late
- 6372Prosecutors say stolen car was at heart of 2011 fatal shootings in Oklahoma City
- 6313Get App-y: Google Glass to offer heads-up computing
- 6107Team Blake's Danielle Bradbery wins "The Voice"; The Swon Brothers finish in third place
- 5639OKC Central: Architectural "Worsts"
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients