OKC Thunder: Thunder defense continues post All-Star break tailspin

Cleveland makes only 42 percent of its shots. The Cavs rarely hit 100 points. they were missing three rotation players and have long been on the fast track to the lottery. But they ended up scoring 114 points to beat the slumping Thunder.
by Anthony Slater Published: February 26, 2014

The Clippers dropped 125 on OKC this past Sunday, including a 44-point second quarter.

“If you’re an elite defensive team, 42 points in a quarter should very rarely happen,” Brooks said. “It’s now happened to us in back-to-back games.”

And without defensive anchor Kendrick Perkins this season, the Thunder is now 0-4, giving up 111, 116, 125 and 114 in those contests.

But beyond Perkins, if you ask the players and coaches, it stems from an effort issue.

Little resistance on the perimeter, spotty protection at the rim, lack of defensive pride all around and lots of points on the scoreboard.

“We’re not getting after it enough,” Brooks said. “We’re not taking pride in the basketball. We’re letting guys drive around us. We’re letting guys score in transition and not communicating. We’re letting guys get offensive rebounds. We just have to get better defensively, there’s no question.”

In the grand scheme, this is likely just a minor bump during an extended journey.

But if the Thunder wants to get back to its winning ways, the kind of basketball that staked OKC to a conference-best 43-12 record at the break, it all starts with defense.

“Take individual pride,” Russell Westbrook said, when asked of a possible solution. “Just take individual pride and guard.”

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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