Nuggets from my notebook from Sunday’s loss to New York.
- Not much to say about this one. Not much positive anyway.
- The Thunder followed up its best win of the year, a game in which it played its best defense, with one of its worst defensive performances. This might have been the worst.
- OKC allowed 125 points, an opponent high, and gave up at least 30 points in almost every quarter. New York just missed it by scoring “only” 29 fourth-quarter points.
- “Not a lot of defense out there on our part,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
- The final numbers from this one were hideous. Most alarming is the Thunder allowed 19 offensive rebounds, leading to 23 Knicks second-chance points. Carmelo Anthony had three times as many offensive rebounds (nine) as Kevin Durant had total rebounds. Durant then had the nerve to say he’s “not concerned” about the rebounding. This despite the fact that the Thunder has now allowed at least 16 offensive rebounds in five of its past 10 games and 14 on average over that full span. I’d say that’s a pretty good cause for concern. With just five regular season games remaining, certain aspects like defensive rebounding appear to be getting worse not better.
- “We just have to go back to the basics,” Brooks said of rebounding. “We’re going to talk about it and we have been talking about it. The basics of rebounding is blocking out. It’s not rebounding. The rebound comes after a block out. If you focus on rebounding there’s too many athletes in this league that it’s a 50-50 ball. You block out first and then you go get the rebound.”
So are the players not blocking out enough? “It’s a combination,” Brooks said. “Everybody has to think rebound. We’re such a high, explosive offensive transition team that we can’t think about that until we secure the ball. That’s just something that we will brush up on and try to get better at that the last five games.”
Completing a comprehensive day of defensive frustration was the Thunder forcing a season-low six turnovers and allowing the Knicks to make 15 of 34 3-pointers.
It’s amazing how nobody on the Thunder can cover J.R. Smith.
Wonder if Ronnie Brewer can.
The offensive games of Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson and Kevin Martin were the only positives from this one.
Westbrook attacked relentlessly much like he did two nights earlier at Indiana and finished with a game-high 37 points with 11 rebounds, eight assists and only one turnover.
Ibaka was perfect from the field, going 6-for-6 for 13 points.
Jackson was a fourth-quarter spark, scoring eight of his 13 points off the bench in that period.
K-Mart had his shot falling, scoring 15 on 5-for-7 shooting.
Nick Collison also deserves some credit for the way he was banging in the paint. He got whacked in the face multiple times and even had to leave the game late in the fourth quarter after getting his nose busted and, for the second time in as many games, getting bloody.
I suppose you can’t ignore Ibaka’s five blocks. But four of those came in the first half and the Thunder still trailed by nine at the break.
Scoring race update: With a team-high 36 points, Melo officially surpassed KD, who finished with 27. Anthony is now averaging 28.44 points. Durant is at 28.35.
Anybody think Durant is not going to eventually win this thing?
Even with the way Melo chucks, seemingly gunning for his first scoring title, Durant just seems destined to finish ahead of Melo despite Anthony’s best efforts. Should be a fun race.
How much was Melo gunning today? He had seven shots in the first 7:05. The Thunder had that many as a team.
Those who tend to take it easy on the team will say this the Thunder is in a brutal stretch. Those who are a bit more unforgiving will look at yet another lackluster performance against one of the league’s best teams and question whether the Thunder is a contender or a pretender. Oklahoma City finished 5-11 against the league’s five best teams: Miami, San Antonio, Denver, Memphis and New York.
If you throw the Clippers, which is just a half game behind the Grizzlies record-wise, the Thunder is 8-11.
This win gave New York its 50th win, the Knicks’ first 50-win season since the 1999-2000 season.
This loss knocked the Thunder back out of the driver’s seat for the top spot in the West. San Antonio again controls its own destiny.
Like I said, not much more to say. The Thunder has to go 4-1 the rest of the way to get to 60 wins.
Up next. At Utah on Tuesday.