Berry Tramel


Oklahoma City Thunder: Where’s the defense?

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm •  Published: April 8, 2013

Russell Westbrook played an offensive game for the ages: 37 points on 15-of -27 shooting, eight assists, 11 rebounds and one turnover.

Kevin Martin found his shoot touch: 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-of-3 on 3-pointers, for 15 points.

Serge Ibaka started hot and stayed that way. Ibaka went 6-of-6 from the field, scored 13 points and had six rebounds and five blocked shots.

Reggie Jackson played his greatest game: 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting, with four assists and no turnovers, in 211/2 minutes.

Kevin Durant wasn’t his usual pristine self but still had 27 points on 7-of-17 shooting.

And the Thunder got rolled by the Knickerbockers 125-120. Can we go back to remembering that defense matters?

One Thunder finished in the positive of plus/minus. Kendrick Perkins. Gran Torino was a plus-one. The Thunder outscored New York by three points while Perk was on the court. Thabo Sefolosha was even. Every other Boomer was in negative.

To combat the Knick lineup, the Thunder went small, which is what we always want Scotty Brooks to do against the Heat. But did Brooks go too small? The Thunder got butchered on the boards; Carmelo Anthony had nine offensive rebounds and 23 second-chance points. The Knicks had only three so-called bigs available — Tyson Chandler, Chris Copeland and Carmelo, and the latter two really aren’t bigs. They are converted small forwards.

But the Thunder small lineup — particularly Westbrook, Thabo, Jackson, Durant and Ibaka/Nick Collison — didn’t respond.

And the entire Thunder defense was no better. The Knicks made 15 of 34 from 3-point range. They committed just six turnovers, which is the best indicator of bad defense.

The Knicks, by quarter, scored 30, 35, 31 and 29 points.

And Ronnie Brewer, a long-time defensive dynamo, didn’t get off the bench.



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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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