The Thunder’s 105-101 overtime loss to Memphis the other night absolutely qualifies as a bad loss. Home game. Mediocre opponent playing without two of its top four scorers, including Rudy Gay, and playing its fourth game in five night.
The Thunder had three nights off after that game, so it’s had plenty of time to stew. So have the fans. A victory over Memphis would have been the Thunder’s fourth straight and set up Oklahoma City for a potential long winning streak going into the all-star break.
What have been the worst defeats this season for the Thunder? Several factors have to be taken into consideration. Quality of opponent. Opponent’s health. Site of game.
Here is the Thunder top five:
5. Jan. 1: 101-74 at San Antonio. Hard to put on the list a road game against the NBA’s best team, but the Thunder was so totally non-competitive, it was discouraging. The Spurs led 77-53 after three quarters.
4. Nov. 3: 107-92 at the Clippers. The season was just a week old, yet we already knew the Clippers stunk. They were 0-4, and Victory No. 2 wouldn’t arrive until Nov. 22. Yet the Thunder were run out of the Staples Center. The Clips led 85-66 with 10 minutes left.
3. Dec. 3: 111-99 at Toronto. The Raptors are 14-39, including 9-16 at home. The Thunder played without Kevin Durant, but OKC has fared well without Durant the last two seasons. Not this night. The Thunder led 59-50 late in the second quarter, but the Raptors outscored OKC 34-18 in the third quarter, and the Thunder never got closer than eight points the final 11 minutes.
2. Feb. 8: 105-101 vs. Memphis. The Thunder had a 13-point lead in the second quarter, the Grizzlies were short-handed and tired, and OKC was at full strength. Yet the Thunder squandered the lead and lost the game late. Inexcusable.
1. Dec. 19: 113-110 vs. Phoenix. The day before, the Suns had completed a huge trade with Orlando. Out went Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. In came Vince Carter, Martin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus. Yet the new Suns hadn’t reported by Dec. 19. The short-handed Suns took a big lead, then the Thunder rallied and regained the lead in the fourth quarter. The Suns should have been gassed. Instead, Phoenix made the plays down the stretch.