Naturally, some of the blame might fall to Russell Westbrook. The Thunder was 15-2 in its last 17 games before the All-Star break. OKC is 0-2 since his return, with his shot (7-of-25 combined in two games) looking a bit rusty.
But defense was clearly the problem on Sunday.
And in Brooks’ opinion, Westbrook was one of the few who actually defended in the loss to LA.
“He takes the challenge of guarding players, and that’s what we need,” Brooks said. “We need to find a team full of guys to get back to doing that.”
At 43-14, the Thunder remains comfortably atop the Western Conference. And with four straight home games coming up against teams with a combined record of 95-129 — Cleveland, Memphis, Charlotte and Philadelphia — a get-well stretch is on the horizon.
“Every team goes through a stretch (like this) throughout the season,” Durant said of OKC’s recent struggles. “Every game is not going to be great. If we let you guys come in and beat us up all the time, talk negative to us, we’re going to think that way. So we got to keep our heads up, keep getting better.”
That needs to start on the defensive end.