Desmond Mason identified a developing issue for the Thunder roughly 90 minutes before Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. By the time the Clippers walked off the Ford Center floor with a 98-88 victory, L.A. had undeniably proven Mason’s theory correct.
"You have to play basketball, not your opponent,” Mason warned. "That’s what teams tend to do. We’ve done it a couple of times this year. We play great against good teams but then play down against bad ones.” Tack on Tuesday’s defeat to the growing list of evidence. The Clippers, despite winning three of their past four, entered the Ford Center at 6-17. But the Thunder trailed by as many as 14 and never pulled closer than nine in the final 6 minutes. The loss extended Oklahoma City’s losing streak to eight games and dropped the Thunder to 2-24. The Ford Center faithful haven’t witnessed a home victory since the Thunder’s first win of the season on Nov. 2 against Minnesota. Ironically, Oklahoma City is now 1-12 under coach Scott Brooks, the same mark it held when coach P.J. Carlesimo was fired after a 25-point home defeat against New Orleans on Nov. 21. "We just have to play together and come together as a team,” said Chris Wilcox, who returned from a two-game absence due to a dislocated finger and scored 13 points off the bench. "We just have to keep each other going. Times are rough right now, and we just have to stick with each other.” Of the past 12 losses, the Thunder has played its best games against New Orleans, Phoenix, Orlando, Dallas and San Antonio, all playoff teams last season. OKC’s head-scratching performances — defined by blown leads and being bullied by banged-up opponents — came against Minnesota, Memphis, Golden State and the Clippers, teams with combined records of 27-71. "We sometimes bring intensity throughout the game, and we sometimes lay off a little bit,” said Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 25 points.