Thunder head coach Scott Brooks reacts during game 3 of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA basketball playoffs between the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the OKC Arena in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 21, 2011. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
“You're going to make a run and eventually they're going to make some plays. You need to be almost perfect at that point when you get that big of a hole.”
The Thunder has toyed with this disturbing trend throughout the playoffs. Oklahoma City has trailed after one quarter in 11 of its 15 games this postseason. But this was as bad as it's ever been.
“Tonight, we didn't trust each other,” said Kendrick Perkins. “We just got to have trust in each other. That's the bottom line.”
But Perkins continued.
“When we get down, I don't like our body language,” Perkins said. “We got to do a better job of holding our heads up and continuing to keep pushing.”
For the first time this series, the Thunder couldn't rely on Kevin Durant. He scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and five assists, but went just 7-for-22 from the field and missed all eight of his 3-point tries. Westbrook bounced back from a well-documented fourth-quarter “benching” in Game 2 to score a game-high 30 points on 8-for-20 shooting but had seven turnovers. This time, Westbrook played the entire second half and scored 14 points in the final frame.
But no other Thunder player scored in double digits. After getting 50 points from its reserves in Game 2, the Thunder's bench tallied just 16 points Saturday, all from Collison and James Harden. The Thunder shot just 36.5 percent and had more turnovers (14) than assists (11) while knocking down just one of 17 3-pointers.
“Frustrating,” Durant said.
Game 4 is Monday.
“We just need to find a way to be more locked in when the game starts,” Collison said. “Once the ball's in the air, we can't ease into the game. I don't know why we do that. We have to be much (sharper) when the ball is thrown up. That's what they were tonight. They took it to us.”