It's sometimes amazing how much better this team is compared to the past year. We've seen Westbrook improve across the board, Durant continue to establish himself as a bonafide unstoppable offensive threat, the growth and emergence of Ibaka and Harden, huge strides defensively, and so on. The team has shown an ability to put itself into prime position to stay in most every game and the tenacity to pull out critical victories.
That's why this little streak of losing is all the more infuriating. Looking back, there's nothing interesting to captivate our attention in the recent games outside of a few pockets here and there. Thus, when the same old pattern of mistakes continue to be replicated game after game, our focus and attention shifts negatively. It's one thing if the team were losing and it tried to adapt and try something new, or went back to what won them so many games. Instead, it's been the same old story of clumsy mistakes and stubborn focus on perimeter shooting. It's not just pathetic and irritating, it makes watching the game a stagnant and boring experience.
I could write a better recap of the game, but you could read the recaps for the last several games and get the general idea: important game, shaky defense and inability to shut down opposing primary scorers, inability to play hard for the whole of the game, ugly shooting, random decision to move away from attacking the hoop, and a last ditch attempt to claw back a victory denied. Until they change how they approach these games, it doesn't really matter whether they can win a game or two under this formula-for-failure, because it'll still be boring and annoying when they do. Here's a few thoughts:
- Marcus Camby destroyed us. I don't even know what to say to that, except that our frontcourt got schooled.
- Stupid decisions like tackling LaMarcus don't do much except make watching the team even more of an exercise. While I'm not sure that was as idiotic of a move as that uncalled backcourt passing violation of the other night, it was still stupid.
- Durant's a great player and he's been wonderful for us all year long, but he has (recently?) had a tendency to fail to make adjustments later into games. Yes, the pressure is on him to perform and he's going to get doubleteamed due to the makeup and offensive strategy (chucking perimeter shots) of the Thunder. That's no excuse for a general disappearing act.
Then again, I could be totally wrong. This might have been an incredible sales strategy designed to have the Thunder matched up against the Lakers. If it wasn't, I'd start trying to sell it as such as it's a much better marketing move than attempting to explain the recent poor play on the cusp of the playoffs.