Fans were becoming restless, players were growing frustrated and coaches and front office executives were turning redder in the face with the passing of each game.
The Thunder’s lackluster performances over the past two weeks were quickly sucking the life out of Oklahoma City’s inaugural NBA season.
And although Monday’s 100-89 loss to the Houston Rockets dropped the Thunder to 1-10 and extended its losing streak to eight games, it was encouraging for everyone to see Oklahoma City follow its worst loss of the season with perhaps its best effort yet.
"It was a very good first step,” said coach P.J. Carlesimo. "Again, it’s still a loss. So we have to play better.
"We have to build on it. We can’t settle for a much better performance over 48 minutes against a really good team and slip back the way we did last week.”
The Thunder entered Monday having given up at least 107 points in its past four games. The team trailed by at least 30 points in each of the past three games and in four of the past six.
Worst of all, Oklahoma City entered Monday with a home record of 1-4, losing inside the Ford Center by an average of 11.2 points.
A players-only meeting immediately following Saturday’s 25-point defeat in Philadelphia helped turn the tide and motivate the Thunder to give its fans a better showing against a championship-minded Rockets team.
"We’re all tired of going out there and getting our butts kicked every night,” said Joe Smith.