Unfortunately, the Thunder failed to force a game 7, and the Spurs where successful in breaking the Thunder's dream of reaching the finals. However, before starting the discussion, didn’t you notice that throughout the entire season, and the post season, the Thunder rarely came out victorious in over-time games? Well, there are several reasons behind that fact.
Possible Reason 1: Scott Brooks
Scott Brooks is a good coach, and we all agree on that. But he doesn’t succeed in terms of figuring out the proper line-up that would carry the team in over-time sessions, and through the entire game. In game 6, when you have Fisher playing 33 minutes off the bench, that isn’t good. The Thunder bench players that brooks depend on are Butler and Fisher. Both are old, and cannot lift the team. Therefore, why not take advantage of the rest of the young players? No experience? That is because Brooks doesn’t give them enough time to play on the floor to gain experience. Regardless of that, he makes many bad decisions and fails to find solutions for his team, especially that he has two of the best 5 players in the league on his roster, and probably the best defensive player. Perhaps, Brooks might not be suitable anymore for the Thunder, and they must grab a new coach such as Mark Jackson that would fit the team.
Possible Reason 2: Thunder administration
A team without a strong bench will never win a championship. First of all, the Thunder need a proper center that would replace Kendrick Perkins. Let's be realistic. When Kendrick Perkins was playing for the Celtics, he was one of the best centers at that time probably, but right after his injury, he became one of the worse centers in the league, so getting rid of him is a must. Concerning,the shooting guard position, the Thunder have Sefolosha as a shooting guard, and a shooting guard's mission is to help the team in terms of scoring. Besides that, Sefolosha is considered a defensive shooting guard. To be honest, he helped the team few times defensively, but he still cannot function offensively. His mid-range shooting is very poor, and since 2012 his 3-pt shooting abilities are decreasing. The Thunder basically need a spot-up shooting guard. Lastly, the bench. The Thunder probably have one of the weakest benches in the league. They need more young, talented players that would add as much as they can of strength amount to the bench. They do have young players such as Jones, Thabeet, Lamb, and Roberson, and I understand they might not be that good, but the Thunder coaching staff and head-coach could build these talented players, although it might take a long time.
Possible Reason 3: The Players Themselves
I wouldn’t agree on that possibility, but in the end it might be probable. The team has 3 of the top players in the league who are Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka. As a matter of fact, it might be likely that these players cannot lift the team all alone without the help of the rest of the players, especially with how streaky they can be.
It was expected that the Thunder would blow out the Spurs, and force a game 7, but it all turned out different. Both teams headed to overtime. As usual, we are used to see the Thunder struggling in winning over-time sessions. The Spurs took advantage of that and won the game. It was really depressing, and I wouldn’t blame Kevin Durant, Westbrook, Jackson, and Ibaka. They were the only players who carried the team all the way. Kevin Durant had 31 points, 3 blocks, 14 rebounds, and 7 turnovers. Westbrook scored 34 points, 6 steals, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 7 turnovers. Ibaka and Jackson combined for 37 points. These silly turnovers keep costing the Thunder a huge price. In addition, the Thunder had a precious opportunity which was Tony Parker leaving in the midway of the game. They should've taken advantage of that.
Here's where the frustration begins. Kendrick Perkins playing for 21 minutes recording 0 points, 0 blocks, and 5 rebounds only. Derek Fisher playing for 33 minutes, scoring 5 points only. Steven Adams playing for 12 minutes, and having 0 points, 0 blocks, and 2 rebounds, and the rest of the bench players such as Jones, Collison, and Lamb, ended with null digits as well. This is what occurs when the whole team doesn’t step up, and it makes the opponent deserve the win.
Overall, the Thunder improved as a whole team. They need to make changes that would have an impact on them positively. That being said, they need to come out stronger in the next season with high hopes. If we do not witness any changes, we will be going through the same scenario all over again.