To an outsider, this game might look like just another Dallas blowout. But, the final score isn't indicative at all of how the game went. It was a close, hard fought battle, with the Thunder keeping a slim lead until the very end of the 3rd, where they went down by 4. But, they battled back and actually gained a 75-71 advantage 4 minutes into the fourth quarter. But then, it all went to pot, as Dallas outscored Oklahoma City 29-11 in the waning minutes of the game.
But, the important question is, are things really going that badly for the Thunder? The answer is no. Are the collapses indicative of the team tiring or tuckering out? Again, no. The simple fact is that we're a young team, and the past 3 games we've played older, more experienced teams. These teams know how to turn on and off the heat at exactly the right times in order to achieve the best results. If they turned it on in the first or second quarter, like we do, then they'd be giving the other team an opportunity to come back. As a young team, we do the opposite. We charge out the gate, even assuming a 17-8 lead at one point, play extremely hard through the 2nd and 3rd, and then tucker out in the 4th when it's showtime. I mean, haven't you ever wondered why, during March Madness, the 14 seed will be leading the 3 seed by something like 60-50 with 10 minutes left? It's because they can't afford to play lackadaisically, and have to try to assume a large enough lead to where they can prevent the better team from coming back. But the better team almost always does come back to win. It's the same principle for the Thunder.
There's really not much else to say about this game. Our Big 3 scored decently but shot poorly, our role players scored decently and shot well, and we have absolutely no interior defense. Dirk, come eat us alive, because we can't stop ya! And no, I don't think Etan Thomas would have done a batter job than Collison or Krstic. Not against such a versatile scorer like Dirk.
On to the awards....
Thunder Wonder: Jeff Green, 15 Points, 7-11 Shooting, 11 Rebounds. Surprisingly, Jeff Green had a decent game against a big Power Forward. Is this the end of the trend of him playing horribly against big men? Nope. Dirk isn't your typical big man. I'll need to see him do well against a legitimate big man first before I shine in any ray of hope.
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 6 Points, 3-4 Shooting, 6 Rebounds, and 0 Fouls in 14 minutes. One of his most productive performances yet, and he actually didn't commit a foul! What is this, bizarro world? Many props go out to Ibaka for significantly improving his game throughout the course of the season.
Thunder Blunders: I rarely give out two awards, but tonight, I have to. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. So many missed shots....
Thunder Plunderer: Dirk Nowitski, 35 Points, 11 Rebounds. No question here.
Next Game: Versus the Pistons, Friday, December 18th, 7 PM CST.