The Thunder's loss last night to the Kings was a frustrating one to watch, as many of OKC's common struggles came to the surface once again. Unlike their loss to the Wizards earlier this season where it was evident that the Thunder just weren't focused, last night's loss had more to do with the Kings exploiting all of the Thunder's Achilles Heels - defensive rebounding, turnovers, and 4th quarter play calling. It was difficult to watch because we've seen these problems before and we know that they must be dealt with if OKC is ever to take the next steps forward.
Put that aside for a moment though, and consider this game from the Kings' perspective. Last night was not just a run-of-the-mill game for them. The Kings are once again fighting for their survival in Sacramento, and both the players and fans came out in full force and solidarity. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson was on hand. The team honored Chris Webber, with a jersey to hang in the rafters. For the Kings players, this game meant something to them, and it was more than just an opportunity to compete against the team with the best record in the league. In the end, I was sad to see OKC lose, but it was still heartening to witness the kind of unity and passion that we saw in Sacramento last night.