The Oklahoma City Thunder could not get out of California soon enough.
Just two nights after getting rocked by a top-tier Golden State Warriors team, the Thunder followed up that game with another poor showing and against a worse team, getting embarrassed by the Sacramento Kings, 104-83.
Scott Brooks summed up what happened to result in this bad outcome in this game in just a few measured words. "We battled defensively. They got hot from the three point line and we just couldn’t make shots," Brooks said. "That’s what happens."
The general theme from the players in their responses to the media was that the team simply was not knocking down good looks that they were getting on the offensive end.
"I think our defense was great," Kevin Durant said before admitting that, "We fouled them a bit too much."
The foul trouble definitely hurt the Thunder in this game, as Durant alluded to, and helped turn what looked like a good defensive performance by Oklahoma City into a blowout loss. Not to mention the atrocious shooting performance for the second game in a row.
Durant also addressed that the team is still trying to get it's rhythm back now that the Thunder are back to full health.
"We've been playing together for a while, but we haven't played [together] a lot this year. We're not making any excuses, we know we have to get back to what we've been doing in the past and just try to get better."
Russell Westbrook echoed KD and Brooks, stating "I think that we did a good job playing defense...we just weren't able to make shots."
Something else to note from this game was the debut of Dion Waiters in an Oklahoma City uniform. Waiters struggled to really show up much in the box score during his 22 minutes (4 points on 1-9 shooting with 1 assist, 2 rebounds plus a block and a steal), but admitted that he was physically and mentally drained from the trade process.
"I was tired, I didn't really have any legs. Every shot was short, but I tried to play hard on the defensive end."
When asked to summarize his emotions after the trade went through, he simply said it was "crazy." Waiters described having to fly 3 and a half hours from Philadelphia (where he was supposed to be starting for Cleveland on Monday night) to Oklahoma City for his physical. After that, he hopped right back on the plane for another 3 and a half hours to play against Sacramento.
Waiters, despite his exhaustion, was excited for the new opportunity.
"[It's a] fresh start. New year. New team. We’re looking to turn this thing around and make a playoff push. Sometimes change is better for everyone. I’m just fortunate to get traded to another great organization...I’m excited and once I get settled in, I’ll be fine."
On a side note, Waiters, who has donned a #3 jersey his whole life, said that he'd be looking into getting Perry Jones III "a nice gift" after the season to facilitate a possible number exchange.
KD was surely ready to move on to the Thunder's next game against the Utah Jazz this Friday, saying, "We gotta get out of California, because we can't make a shot out here."