Oklahoma City Thunder: Time for fans to sulk, not despair

COMMENTARY — The Thunder's five-game series loss to Memphis exposed some warts, but nothing that the healthy return of Russell Westbrook won't cover.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: May 16, 2013 at 12:37 am •  Published: May 16, 2013

Thunder fans started heading to the exits midway through the fourth quarter.

They almost missed the most amazing of comebacks, but hey, who could blame them for heading out early?

This was not a fun night in Loud City.

Grizzlies 88, Thunder 84.

Series done.

Season over.

After an unceremonious end to this glorious season — four consecutive losses after a 60-win regular season — you have every right to be down in the dumps, Thunder fans. Sulk. Lament.

But don't despair.

His team isn't broken. It doesn't need a major overhaul. It doesn't need an offseason of change.

It just needs Russell Westbrook to heal.

I know that sounds simplistic, but if the All-Star point guard would've been on the court instead of in a suite Wednesday night, this series wouldn't be over.

Well, unless the Thunder would've won it.

Just look at how close the Thunder's losses in this series were. Six points in Games 2, 3 and 4. Four points in Game 5.

Think Westbrook could've done enough to make up those deficits?

Yeah, so do I.

“Every game had a chance to go to the other team,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said.

This was going to be a hard-fought series before Westbrook got hurt, and even without him, the Thunder made a series out of it.

“I thought we did a great job of competing,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn't have a lot of shots fall in. We didn't keep our head down and stop competing. That's what our team is built on.

“We gave ourselves a chance to win every game.”

Now, were there some warts in this series?

Sure.

Brooks is going to draw criticism. That's fine. The man gets paid handsomely to coach these guys. He deserves to face the scrutiny.

Was he perfect?

Of course not.

There were times when the Thunder offense was haltingly stagnant. Lots of standing around. Little movement except for Kevin Durant waving his hand around calling for the ball.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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