Oklahoma City Thunder: Bench woes hurting Thunder

What seemed to be a clear Thunder advantage heading into the series and even more so after a Game 1 mobbing — bench play — has suddenly turned into OKC’s biggest weakness.
by Anthony Slater Modified: April 25, 2014 at 12:19 am •  Published: April 24, 2014

“It’s Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka,” Allen said of the Grizzlies defensive strategy. “We just want to be alert when those (three) have the basketball. Basically, make the Derek Fishers of the world, the Sefoloshas, the Caron Butlers, those guys be the ones that beat us.”

But the dreadful offense isn’t even the biggest issue for OKC’s second-unit. Its defense has been torched the past two games.

Beno Udrih has gone from third string to sudden star, backing up his out-of-nowhere 14 points in 14 minutes during Game 2 with 12 points in 14 more on Thursday.

He had 21 points the final 20 games of the regular season. He has 26 the past eight quarters.

“Beno’s been awesome for us,” Brooks said.

And then, of course, there’s Allen.

The Grizzlies high-energy reserve has arguably been the best player on the floor the past two games, disrupting the Thunder’s offensive flow and providing Memphis with a surprising punch on the other end.

He had 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting Thursday night. That’s more than the Thunder’s entire bench.

That’s a problem.

“I believe in our guys,” Brooks said. “They’re going to play much better. They’re going to get opportunities Saturday night.”

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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