The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to 3-9 on the season following an utterly disappointing defeat to the Utah Jazz, 98-81 on Tuesday night. It's the third straight loss for the Thunder, who continue to play the waiting game until some of their regular players start coming back into the fold.
Perhaps most concerning is the fact that the Thunder didn't really have any standout performances. OKC once again had a poor shooting night and, as a team, shot just 35.7 percent from the field. That was after one of their better starts of the season, as they actually jumped out to a 39-22 lead in the first half and showed some impressive ball movement in doing so.
The Jazz went on a 76-42 run from then on, though, and completely flipping the script and handing the Thunder yet another loss, their third straight.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
I feel like, up until tonight, I've been pretty optimistic this entire time. The Thunder has been in every game - more or less -and were it not for simple mistakes in close games, could actually be close to a .500 team even with these horrible injuries. Instead, they haven't closed games, and now they find themselves in a legitimate hole that is looking harder and harder to climb out of.
It's hard not to feel like there is no end in sight, because tonight was the first time I felt that, maybe, this team is just kinda bad right now. You could talk yourself into any number of excuses up until tonight. They were young, they played some good teams, they were having an off night. Not after this. The offense went cold and it became pretty clear that the Thunder just can't score easily at all.
In the beginning, the ball movement was there and the shots were falling and everything was wonderful. Then, the ball movement persisted, but the shots stopped falling. Because of that, the ball movement stopped, and guys tried bailing the team out by getting shots to fall, even though now - without the ball movement - that was harder than ever to do.
That's the cycle that persists, and it's hard to see how to change it beyond just making shots. It's beyond Xs and Os at this point, and it just gets down to scoring, which OKC just may not be able to do. Collison is hitting threes here and there, and that's great, but nothing they have done offensively has been sustainable for 48 minutes. So that's a bummer.
What does this game mean for the Thunder going forward?
Well, I just want to credit Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman - who has been a tremendous voice of reason and had a great point following the loss - for pointing this out:
For panicking Thunder fans, it's still early -- 13 percent of the way into the season. Or the equivalent of 2.1 NFL games.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 19, 2014
It's a good point because you realize that, basically, the Thunder is an 0-2 team right now. Pretty bad, but far from something they can't overcome.
Of course, it also means that the way things are going, 0-3 and 0-4 isn't out of the question, either. Add to it that this is the Western Conference, and you probably need an 11-5 record to even get in in the first place. So maybe we should be panicking after all??
I don't know anymore. All I know is that things aren't fun in OKC right now, and this team is desperate for any glimmer of hope. Even an Andre Roberson return - which could be close - could breathe some sort of life back into this team. Right now it's just a lot of frustration and hoping that things can magically get better, and after yet another dismal shooting performance, that's looking less and less likely until the Thunder get some bodies back.
Thunder Wonder: Anyone that sat through the entire game and watched to the end
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook: For showing up every game and looking like genuinely good teammates
Thunder Blunder: The Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder Plunderer: Alec Burks: 20 points, 14 rebounds, +20
Next game: at Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 8PM CDT