Thunder: Avoiding embarrassment vs. Wizards
For the longest time Friday night, I thought the most embarrassing defeat of the NBA season was about to take place. And then it did — 1,500 miles west of Oklahoma City.
While the Thunder inexplicably goosed around with the hapless Washington Wizards on Friday night, finally winning 124-117 in double overtime at the ThunderDome, the Lakers were goofing off against the Sacramento Kings. And didn’t recover, losing at home 100-95.
If it can happen to the Lakers, it can happen to the Thunder, though on this Friday night it didn’t.
But it got me to thinking. How often does this happen. How often does an elite team lose at home to an awful team? Of course, depends on your definition, of elite and awful. And it also depends on the timeline. Do you judge a team by its record when the game was played? I say no. I think when you get past 50 percent of a team’s schedule, you have a good feel for what kind of team it is.
So here’s what I did. I went through the seasons of every team with at least a .600 winning percentage — San Antonio, Boston, the Lakers, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Orlando and Denver. You can quibble on where to draw the line. Should Utah be in? Should Denver be out? Should you go all the way up to Miami or Dallas? I just thought .600 was a nice solid place to start.
Then I listed all the teams with a winning percentage below .400 — Indiana, the Clippers, Detroit, New Jersey, Washington, Toronto, Sacramento, Minnesota and Cleveland.
And I asked a simple question. How many home games has the .600 group lost against a team from the sub-.400 group? That to me defines a horrible loss.
And the answer, as you would expect, is, not very often.
I found just seven games in which a currently sub .400 team won on the road against a .600 or better franchise. Maybe it will make you feel better about the Thunder to know OKC didn’t make the list. Anyway, I ranked them in order of horridness.
7. Nov. 28: Indiana 95, Lakers 92. The Pacers are borderline bad; at 17-26, a .395 winning percentage, they don’t deserve to be lumped in with the likes of Minnesota and Cleveland.
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