The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Detroit Pistons at home, 96-89. In a sloppy game that was more similar to the Bucks loss than the Celtics win, the Thunder could not maintain their high energy with which they started the game and allowed the Pistons to recover. After starting out with a 30 point quarter that looked like a continuation of the 2nd half of the win over the Celtics, the Thunder scored only 52 points the rest of the way until the final 17 seconds of the game.
The Thunder fall to 3-7 on the season, concluding a week that had so much potential, but ends up with the team losing two games against favorable matchups. They next face the Houston Rockets, who are leading the West with an 8-1 record.
The Thunder were led by Jeremy Lamb, who finished with 24-10, the first double-double of his career, including 4-7 from 3-point range. Reggie Jackson also chipped in with a strong game, finishing with 20-12-4, but could not make the shots when they mattered most.
The Pistons were led by Brandon Jennings, who finished with a game-high 29 points, including 8 of which were in the OT period alone.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
This loss ends a very disappointing week for the Thunder. What started out with promise, as the team seemed to be on track to earn a good win at home, quickly fizzled into a jump shooting affair. After those initial 30 points in the 1st, the Thunder scored 18-18-16-7 the rest of the way.
To OKC's credit, their defense was solid, especially on the interior. Steven Adams recorded a career-high 5 blocks, and together with Serge Ibaka they did a great job in neutralizing the Pistons' big men, as Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for only 23 points on 10-24 shooting.
The loss in a way gets laid at the feet of Reggie Jackson, who is learning the tough lessons about what it means to lead a team. He was the hero in Sacramento and Boston, but tonight, as against Milwaukee, he torpedoed a really strong effort with bad shooting decisions with the game on the line. He shot only 1-5 in the 4th quarter where the Thunder managed only 16 points, and in OT was held scoreless.
The image I am left with is that the Thunder seem to have very short memories for what brings them success. Merely 2 days after playing beautiful offensive basketball that involved quick passing, good spacing, and made baskets, tonight's affair devolved into a lot of dribbling around without much passing. It turned the Thunder into a jump shooting team, and on this night those jumpers did not fall.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
I think this characterizes the loss well:
Scott Brooks on the 6 FT attempts and the 36 3s: "That's not a good ratio. Hopefully we won't have a game like that again (knocks on wood)."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 15, 2014
The Thunder made only a single free throw in this game, and Slater also reminds us:
Thunder went 3-of-11 from the FT line in a 2-point loss to Memphis and 1-of-6 from the FT line in an OT loss to Detroit. Killer.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 15, 2014
For a team missing its superstars and having its margin for error already so small, it is simply inexcusable to leave easy points on the floor by missing FT's and by wasting possessions with long range shooting.
On that topic, yes the Thunder shot 36 3-pointers, making 12. While Lamb regained his shooting touch on his way to a strong performance tonight, it was undone by firing 3-pointers without discretion. Anthony Morrow attempting 9 of them is one thing; he's paid to do that. However, what I don't like at all is watching Serge Ibaka hoist a career-high 9 attempts of his own. It is great that he has this kind of range, but it is still a weaker part of his offensive game. The more shots he takes that far from the rim, the fewer chances he has of getting easy baskets at the rim off of pick and roll movement and offensive put-backs.
What is worse is that the score bears witness to this unfortunate shot-taking affair. There was nothing to indicate that the Thunder should be hoisting so many, yet there they were, firing away instead of working for better shots.
The Thunder are 3-7, and they are running out of chances where they can waste winnable opportunities and push themselves further and further out of contention.
Thunder Wonder: Jeremy Lamb, 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Thunder Down Under: Steven Adams, 11 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks
Thunder Blunder: Team collectively shot 11-36 from 3-point range
Thunder Plunderer: Brandon Jennings, 29 points, 5-8 from 3-point range
Next game: vs Houston Rockets on Sunday, Nov. 16 at 6PM CDT