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Game 80 Recap: Thunder Again Blow Lead

Final - 4.11.2010 1 2 3 4 Total
Oklahoma City Thunder 42 21 27 27 117
Golden State Warriors 25 31 30 34 120

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Remember how the Thunder fought hard but just ran out of gas against the Nuggets last week? Well this wasn't one of those instances. OKC came charging out of the gate, rolling up a huge lead on various And-One three point plays and capitalizing on Golden State's turnovers. Things were going well, and at the end of the first quarter the score stood at 42 to 25, advantage Thunder. Life was nice and rosy, and the only question at that point was whether Durant was going to go for 60 points on the night. Unfortunately, as usual (sadly) the Thunder went back to their same-old game predicated by being up a large margin: tossing around (and missing) jumpers from range. I'm not sure if it's a matter of being hardheaded or obtuse, but the team is seemingly oblivious to the fact that they just aren't even a passably good perimeter shooting team outside of a select few (Durant, Harden, etc). It's not as if the defense suddenly went and stacked the middle with a bunch of fleet-footed interior shotblockers either. The ball movement was lazy, the mistakes were lazy, and suddenly the team was looking at a miraculously vanquished lead.

Some credit obviously goes to the Warriors. They started knocking down threes (5 in one sequence!), and surmounted the Thunder despite their inability to rebound the ball. When a team offers you four chances to score on a trip down to the hoop and you fail to effectively run your half court game, things get ugly. When you have Thabo trying to emulate Curry from deep (and as usual, failing miserably) that's just poor play. Things continued to go south, as with every slight victory the Warriors immediately answered on the other end (or just blocked shots), killing any possibility of gaining momentum. We Thunder fans weren't fazed. We've seen huge leads blown in identical fashion only to have the team remember how they got that lead, buckle down on defense and start attacking the rim. OKC is a playoff bound team. Now was the time to assert themselves in a critical game that could determine seeding. Now was the moment of truth ... right?

The answer? A resounding "no". The end of the game featured an almost comical inability of the Thunder to even inbound the ball (more than once!), a backcourt pass that (even to Thunder fans) inexplicably failed to be called, and lots more in the way of terrible, terrible play. Somehow, with time winding down, we were a shot away from tying it up and sending things to overtime. So what happens? Nobody wants to shoot an open shot, instead opting to dish it in a hilarious hot-potato game of silly passing until Durant was forced to take (and miss) the final shot.

Lets hope our performance against the Blazers isn't nearly as sloppy. If it is, we're going to get destroyed.