Last night was a tough loss, but I think I differ slightly in my assessment from Z. I don't know if you can call it the worst win of the season when we've already seen the Thunder get the New Year's beatdown from the Spurs, or when the Thunder made the Raptors look like the 2006 Suns. I was actually impressed with how hard the Thunder battled defensively and on the boards. I really thought that effort would have been more than sufficient, because the rebounding battle was a push and nobody other than Dwight Howard played at an above average (for them) level. The real problem was that the offense was terrible in the first half, with Russell Westbrook going 4-16 and Kevin Durant going 6-16, and neither one really looking like they wanted to play team ball. I'm going to chalk that up to the emotion of the event, and hopefully they can put it behind them.
Royce makes a great observation that where the Thunder really missed Jeff Green's presence was at the beginning of the second quarter. Normally, Green leads the second unit with Eric Maynor and James Harden, and the group did a masterful job of righting the ship if the starting five were struggling. This time out though, the second unit did not provide that lift that they have all season, and as a result Durant and Westbrook continued to press too hard.
Mayberry offers this quote from Durant:
"Those guys were like brothers to us here. Not to see them out there on the bench clapping for us, in the locker room speaking up, it’s tough."
Mahoney looks at some of the deadline trades that got less publicity in the wake of the Carmelo Anthony drama and the Green for Kendrick Perkins trade. Topping off the list is OKC's acquisition of Nazr Mohammed. He could prove to be a valuable veteran (he played a stint with the Spurs) to back up the front line.
Thunder faithful will be happy to see Durant's resolve in his commitment to the franchise. I do think broad leeway should be given to Durant; he's only 22 years old and just had one of his best friends shipped off. However, he is learning what it means to be a man and a leader; sometimes things don't go the way you want them to, but you have to continue to lead.
Topping the list is of course you-know-who, but also on the list is the Thunder's own Westbrook. After last night's offering, I can see that problem.