It’s déjà vu for a Thunder team that looked like it had solved its defensive woes the past two games, but instead reverted back to the plodding form that now has OKC 5-6 since the All-Star break.
“Just an overall theme of not good enough on the defensive end,” Nick Collison said. “I’d like to see us be a lot more consistent here finishing up the year.”
Moving forward, defense remains the area of concern. But on Sunday, the offense was equally at fault.
The Thunder shot 36 percent overall and only scored 38 points in the second half. And a brunt of those struggles fall on OKC’s bench.
With Russell Westbrook resting on the front end of a back-to-back, Durant and Serge Ibaka remained productive, combining for 49 points.
But the Thunder reserves went a brutal 8-of-29 from the field and 3-of-16 from deep. Derek Fisher and Caron Butler, two of OKC’s steadiest players of late, went a combined 4-of-15 with a plus/minus of minus-38.
This loss, combined with a Spurs win on Sunday, drops the Thunder two games behind San Antonio for the top seed in the West.
OKC gets an immediate bounceback opportunity, facing the Bulls in Chicago on Monday night. Westbrook is expected to play.
But will the defense return?