While the loss against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday might not have been uncharacteristic for the Thunder, the explicit display of emotion certainly was.
The Thunder was whistled for five technical fouls in the loss, all of them coming in the third quarter. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said that can't happen.
“We have to do a better job of controlling ourselves, our emotions,” Brooks said. “But that's what this game is about. This is an emotional game. I'm not disappointed with our guys showing their emotion. But we have to do a better job of restraining ourselves.”
Russell Westbrook and Brooks were both T'd up for mouthing off. Thunder officials, however, said Westbrook was jawing at a teammate, not the officials, when he was hit with his tech. It's possible the league could rescind Westbrook's. But Nick Collison also drew a tech as part of a double technical foul when he and Clippers forward Blake Griffin began jawing. Centers Nazr Mohammed and Kendrick Perkins also received technicals.
“The techs are something we can't have,” said Kevin Durant. “We can't afford to just give them points like that. Sometimes the coach might need to do that. But with the way the game was going, they were kind of on their way back and I think those techs just pushed them over the top.”
DENVER INCHES CLOSER
With the Thunder losing to the Clippers on Saturday, and Denver following that with a win against the Lakers on Sunday, the Nuggets closed to within three games of the Thunder for the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The two teams play Tuesday at Denver. A Thunder win will put Oklahoma City back up by four games. If the Thunder loses, the Nuggets will be just two games back with the Thunder having six games left, including one final meeting with the Nuggets Friday in Oklahoma City.