Every game is a must win for Thunder

By Mike Baldwin Published: November 19, 2008
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The Thunder’s first season in Oklahoma City was expected to be filled with many losses.

But a 1-10 start?

General manager Sam Presti warned fans a methodical approach to building a winner around young players would take time. But even Presti is disappointed the Thunder has trailed by 20 or more points in several games.

"We’ve hit a rough stretch to start the season,” Presti said. "We’re capable of playing much better basketball. Our focus is to get better. We clearly have some work to do.”

The Thunder has lost eight consecutive games. After tonight, the next four games will be against the Hornets, Suns and Cavaliers. That’s why some view tonight’s game against the 1-9 Los Angeles Clippers as the closest thing to a must-win as an NBA team can have in mid-November.

"I’m sure both of us are looking at it the same way, this is one we have to get,” said Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo. "When you’re not winning, every game is a must win. I wouldn’t minimize the importance of it. But we still have 70 more games after this one.”

A week from now, the schedule is more favorable. OKC’s losses have come against teams with a combined 59-39 record. Starting Nov. 28, only two of 11 games in a three-week stretch will be against teams with winning records. That’s why ending the losing streak tonight could provide some needed momentum.

"Absolutely,” Carlesimo said. "There’s no guarantee what it would mean the next time.



Looking ahead

The Thunder’s schedule has been challenging the first three weeks. It doesn’t get any easier in the next week. But starting Nov. 28, only two opponents over an 11-game stretch currently has a winning record.

Oct. 28-Nov. 26

Opponents’ record: 81-49 *

Nov. 28-Dec. 19

Opponents’ record: 41-63

* excluding Minnesota, which is the Thunder’s only win

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