Defense lets down Thunder in loss to Grizzlies

Lacking trust on the court, Oklahoma City drops exhibition game in Tulsa.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: October 13, 2010 at 5:06 am •  Published: October 12, 2010

TULSA — The film on this one won't be fun to dissect.

But it will serve as the perfect instructional video of what not to do.

Whatever principles Thunder coach Scott Brooks is stressing on the practice court again failed to carry over onto the game floor. This time, it resulted in an embarrassing 116-96 exhibition loss to Memphis at the BOK Center in Tulsa on Tuesday night.

And what made this defeat, the second straight after a four-point victory in the exhibition opener last Wednesday against Charlotte, so discouraging is that the Thunder failed to properly perform so many fundamentals.

Oklahoma City's man defense was dreadful, its post defense was helpless and its transition defense was next to nonexistent.

Rudy Gay drained jumpers in Kevin Durant's face without Durant raising a hand. D.J. White fouled offensively challenged Grizzlies center Hasheem Thabeet 15 feet away from the basket rather than playing straight up. Elijah Millsap gambled in the passing lanes, allowing Sam Young a wide open wing jumper on one possession and a backdoor alley-oop dunk on another.

“The film never lies,” Brooks said. “We call it the truth box. It tells you the truth. And we didn't execute. We didn't stick with our principles defensively. That's something that we're going to have to continue to rely on. We can't rely on individual play defensively.”

A lack of trust by the Thunder found its way onto the court for the second consecutive game. And while it's far too early to draw any conclusions, a two-game trend is reason enough for concern.

Against Miami on Friday in Kansas City, the Thunder tried to work itself out of an offensive funk with imprudent individual attacks. On Tuesday, it was the defense that suffered from selfish play.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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