The Thunder got smoked in Minnesota on Friday night, falling 100-81 in the season’s second game. Here’s some rapid reaction:
It was over by…
…the first TV timeout. Minnesota controlled this game from end-to-end, jumping out to a 34-19 first quarter lead and comfortably extending it from there. The Thunder had little energy and less of an offensive pulse, missing open jumpers, turning it over at a high rate and showing no willingness to attack the rim. Some obvious concerns were raised in this loss — the Thunder’s worse in more than two seasons (Feb. 25th, 2011 at Orlando) — so it’d be wise to study the tape. Then burn it.
Star of the game – Kevin Love
When healthy, Love can make a strong case as the best power forward in the league. And he certainly looked the part on Friday night, dropping an easy 24-point, 12-rebound performance in 29 minutes, before sitting out the entire fourth. Historically, Love has killed the Thunder, averaging 20.3 points and 12.7 rebounds in 14 career games against OKC’s overmatched frontline. Just another day at the office.
Durant’s uncharacteristic performance
One of Kevin Durant’s worst outings in a long time. In 27 uninspired minutes, he went 4-of-11 from the floor, contributing only 13 points. But more alarming than the shooting struggles is a lack of production in some other needed areas. He had four rebounds and one assist on Friday, bringing his two-game total to 10 rebounds and two assists. But hey, even KD is allowed a clunker every now and again.
Serge’s shooting struggles
With Russell Westbrook out, the Thunder’s supposed second scoring option, Serge Ibaka, has picked an untimely stretch to disappear. On Friday, Ibaka backed up his rough 4-of-15 shooting performance in the opener with a 3-of-13 showing. With the ball in his hands, he has looked surprisingly uncomfortable, often forcing up errant shots. But it’s way too early to start worrying about Serge, a career 55 percent shooter who will benefit greatly from Westbrook’s return.
‘Cover your eyes’ stat of the game
Through two games, the Thunder has 34 turnovers and 25 assists. That’s…uh…not going to get it done.
Silver lining – Jeremy Lamb
It wasn’t all ugly for the Thunder on Friday. Just 98 percent of it. Despite the blowout loss, Jeremy Lamb was impressive off the bench, dropping in a career-high 16 points on 7/15 shooting. A large majority of that production came in a stress-free fourth quarter, with the game out of hand and the Timberwolves backups guarding him. But it was still good for the confidence of Lamb, a second-year guard who needs plenty of it. Moving forward, we’ll see if that translates to more meaningful moments.
Video of the game
Nice play by Thabo. He has probably been OKC’s best non-KD player through two games (h/t Daily Thunder)
Quote of the game
“That just shows you the value of Russell Westbrook. You’re not holding the Thunder to 81 points with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the floor.” -Jeff Van Gundy
After a rough outing, the Thunder should get some much-needed medicine on Sunday, facing the lowly Phoenix Suns in the home opener in OKC. Tip is at 6 p.m.