Jazz 97, Thunder 90
Nuggets from my notebook from Tuesday’s loss at Utah.
- This team’s inconsistency is a full blown problem. There’s no other way to put it. Don’t think for a second that the Thunder is good enough to turn it on 20 games from now and drown its deficiencies. Right now, the Thunder isn’t even playing like the final 20 games are enough to correct the problems.
- The frightening thing is we might not have even seen rock bottom yet. The current 10-game stretch that started tonight could expose the Thunder like we’ve never seen. This is by far the toughest portion of the schedule, and unless the Thunder gets its act together we could be in for several more stinkers.
- It’s hard to say which was the bigger problem tonight, offense or defense. Defensively, the Thunder barely could get a stop when it needed it most, and when it did a turnover or a bad shot was the result at the other end. That’s why the offense was, without a doubt, the ugliest facet of the Thunder’s game tonight. In the fourth quarter, it looked like the Thunder was out there without a plan. It was a bunch of one-on-one and very few sets to get something decent. It looked like the Thunder of three years ago.
- Much of the offensive problems were due to Kevin Durant being as bad as we’ve seen him. He went 0-for-7 in the fourth quarter and 3-for-15 in the final three quarters. “I just couldn’t make a shot,” Durant said.
- Durant also had six of the Thunder’s 20 turnovers and took the blame as the team’s leader for the Thunder’s giveaways. “I just got to be stronger with the ball,” Durant said.
- Something told me that nothing good could come from KD and Russell Westbrook combining to score 23 of the Thunder’s 25 first-quarter points. It’s been proven, time and time again, that the Thunder is at its best when everyone is involved offensively. Tonight, a pair of free throws by Serge Ibaka were the only other points for OKC in the first period. I’d say the first six minutes or so was really good offense. The last six minutes of the first quarter looked like ‘Let’s get it to our All-Stars and let them make a play.” In the end, the All-Stars didn’t have it, and it cost the Thunder the game.
- Westbrook deferred so much in the final three quarters that I think someone got in his ear. Or he was trying to prove a point. Or something. A few of his shots in the opening period weren’t the best, but he had his jumper working and had made five of six from the field. Then he takes five more shots the rest of the game? There’s something to that. I can guarantee you. Three of those final five shots were 3-pointers. And only three of those final five came in the final 24 minutes despite Westbrook playing 18 of those.
- It’s a shame that so many have questioned Westbrook shooting more than Durant, because now that he deferred and did what it seems people want him to do he was wrong, too. He can’t win. But, again, something fishy happened tonight.
- I asked Westbrook about his passivity and he immediately gave a devious laugh. “I was just trying to find the open man. That’s all,” Westbrook said.
- Daequan Cook sprained his right knee tonight on this play. I’m not a doctor but it didn’t look good. He had to be helped off the court and didn’t put any weight at all on his right leg. And he was seen after the game on crutches. The official word is he’ll be re-evaluated Wednesday. I’d be surprised if plays anymore this month.
- Let me be honest. Half of my nuggets that were written throughout the game are no longer relevant. All that matters now is Wednesday night. The Thunder needs to bounce back again and show some pride. We’ll see if they can do that.
- Up next. At home against the Clippers on Wednesday.
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