Tonight in the desert there was a feeling of playoff intensity in the air. Bodies were slammin', words were being slung, five free minutes of basketball, point guards going toe-to-toe in a game with definite playoff implications. Russell Westbrook and Eric Bledsoe went at it tonight and despite his triple-double, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Phoenix Suns, 117-113.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
This was not a pretty game for the Thunder at all. The Thunder allowed a lay-up line to start the game, then over compensated on defense and allowed Phoenix to have wide open threes. This allowed Phoenix to open up a big first quarter lead and the Thunder could never really recover from it. Yes, they got a small lead in the third and came back to tie at the end of the fourth after trailing by ten, but time after time the defense let them down.
Westbrook shot way too much tonight. Enes Kanter was having one of his better offensive efforts of the season, yet Westbrook continued to brick shot after shot. Phoenix didn't have answer for Kanter or for some reason Dion Waiters. Instead Westbrook missed over three times the shots he made. There is no excuse for shooting 38 times in a game, especially when you miss 26 times. Triple-double didn't mean anything tonight because of it.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
Take your pick. It was the terrible defense or the abundance of missed shots from one player.
One of the main contributors to the bad defense was Kanter. There was a line I shared with the staff about how Kanter was playing defense tonight that I can't share. It didn't involve swearing, but I don't want to offend any paraplegic hobos out there reading this blog. Is there a way that once Steven Adams gets healthy that Scott Brooks can sub offense/defense on each possession? Adam Silver is all about making changes.
Thunder Wonder: Enes Kanter with his 18 points and six rebounds. We'll ignore his defense for tonight. I'll also throw in an honorable mention for D.J. Augustin. He had a nice night with 13-8 off the bench. He only missed three shots.
Thunder Down Under: I'll give Westbrook this one. He led the Thunder with 14 rebounds. Serge Ibaka almost had a double-double, but fell short with nine rebounds.
Thunder Blunder: To all Thunder players for their absolute sucktitude on defense. I'd like to add the Kyle Singler and Andre Roberson combined seven points in over 40 combined minutes tonight.
Thunder Plunderer: Bledsoe was one assist shy of his own triple-double. He had 28 points, 13 boards and nine assists.
Next game: Tomorrow night (February 27th) at the Portland Trailblazers. Tip should be a little after 9:30PM CDT.