Did we seriously just drop one to the Clippers? At home? Well, these things happen. Sometimes, when you've got a young team like this, you feel like you're on top of the world, ready to join the real NBA. And then a game like this comes along, and reminds you that this is still a young team, a team with flaws, and a team in development.
Nevertheless, I can't help but feeling like I was some sort of good luck charm at this game. I came in at the beginning of the 2nd half with the Thunder down by 10, and the crowd seriously demoralized. And then, the Thunder shot out of the gate to take the lead with 5:37 to go in the 3rd. That's a prime example of how you trigger the other team into a third quarter collapse. Just keep penetrating and penetrating, only taking an outside shot if you're absolutely open.
On top of that, you can't discount the 82% free throws made for this team. Being a Warrior fan, I've seen a lot, and I mean, a lot of bad free throw nights, where the Warriors would literally shoot themselves out of the game. Here, the thunder's high free throw percentage basically keeps them in the game.
Unfortunately, by the time it came to the mid to late 4th quarter, the thunder started settling for mid-range jumpers, which are a lot more iffy, while the Clippers were penetrating and Baron Davis made an open 3. This little run at the end of the game ended all hope of a Thunder come back. While some would like to say it's because of the Clippers veteran experience, in my opinion, it's just dumb luck from happening on to a run at the right time. Had the game been 3 minutes longer or shorter, the Thunder would have been back there with them. The fatigue could have factored into it, but I thinks that's more so why the Thunder were losing all night, rather than giving up a run at the end.
Below: Analysis, Awards
Kevin Durant is really starting to separate himself from Jeff Green, and today he did it in a big way. 40 Points on 14 of25 Shooting and 8 rebounds is enough for a Thunder Wonder any day. And one can't discount Russell Westbrook. 17 Points, 9 Rebounds, and 7 Assists is a great performance, even if it came with 5 of 17 shooting. It definitely merits a Thunder Down Under.
But, for the most part, that's where the good performances end. Jeff Green was in foul trouble all night, leaving him with a paltry 7 Points and 1 Rebound in 21 minutes. Sadly, he didn't do as bad as tonight's Thunder Blunder, James Harden. He shot 0 of 8, including 5 missed 3 pointers. he had 3 Rebounds and 2 Assists, but that didn't help the team out much in the long run.
Speaking of poor 3 point shooting, boy, did both teams stink it up tonight. Kevin Durant and Kareem Rush both went 50%, but aside from them, both teams shot a combined 5 of 32 from three point land. That's right, 5 of 31. And the Thunder shot 1 of 16 without Durant. Right now, the Thunder are tied for 25th in the league for three point percentage. In their two big wins (Sacramento and Orlando), guess what happened? They shot over 50%. In their close games and losses, they often shoot around 20%. Don't get me wrong, it's not a beat all solution, but if the Thunder could find some way to improve their production or just stop shooting them altogether, it would improve their offensive production tremendously. Maybe I'm being a bit of a P.J. Carlesimo here, but after a loss like this, it's worth a try.
Next Game: At the Heat, Tuesday, November 17th, at 6:30 PM Central Standard Time