The Thunder lost its composure late for the second straight game Monday night. This time, it contributed to costing Oklahoma City a win.
On too many trips, Thunder players were slow to get back on the defensive end while complaining to the officiating crew about no-calls. The most egregious example was by point guard Russell Westbrook, who after failing to get a call following a hard attack on the basket turned toward a referee and began complaining before walking back down court. Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari then hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Westbrook’s man, Ty Lawson that pushed Denver’s lead back to nine with 3:05 left to play.
“That’s definitely something that we talked about going into the series,” Brooks said. “We’ve done a good job. We probably got away from that last game. You can’t worry about the calls, especially against a team like the Nuggets because even if you score the basket they run the ball. They’re one of the best running teams after a made basket. We probably were more worried about the calls than doing the right thing and getting back. We will get better at that.”
Tougher defenses come to the forefront during the NBA postseason, which is why offensive numbers slip a bit for every team. How much they slip is the key to success.
The Denver Nuggets are shooting far worse and scoring considerably less than they did during in the regular season, yet contrary to what reserve guard J.R. Smith said last Thursday, his team still has a pulse.
The Nuggets avoided elimination Monday night by winning 104-101 in Game 4 at the Pepsi Center and will attempt to remain alive in Game 5 on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena.
During the regular season, the Nuggets led the league in scoring (107.5), were third in field-goal percentage (.476), third in 3-point percentage (.388), but 16th in free-throw percentage (.765).
Here are the Nugget's numbers so far against the Thunder — scoring (97.5), field-goal percentage (.414), 3-point percentage (.360) and free-throw percentage (.692).
The Thunder's offensive numbers also have slipped, but not nearly as significantly. OKC actually has a better 3-point shooting percentage in the series (.347 to .360).