The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a crucial game to the New Orleans Pelicans, 116-113, by way of a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Anthony Davis. The win puts the Thunder 2 games behind New Orleans for the 9 seed, and with a win by Phoenix against Utah, 3 behind the 8 seed. Also of importance, it gives the Pelicans the 3-1 edge in the season series, meaning they hold the tiebreaker over OKC.
What will hurt the Thunder the most is how close they came to keeping that from happening.
With 2.3 seconds remaining and down by 3, the Thunder had a decision to make. On the one hand, they had Kevin Durant, the reigning MVP and overall scoring machine. Only problem was that, aside from a couple huge threes earlier in the fourth, his shot wasn't exactly falling (he finished 9-26 from the field). On the other hand, they had Russell Westbrook, the physical freak of nature that was sitting on 45 points for the second night in a row. Still, when it comes to last second shots, he's no Kevin Durant.
Either decision would be welcomed by just about any team in the NBA, and the Thunder simply had to take their pick. They called on Westbrook and were rewarded, as he drew the foul on the 3-point shot. He hit all 3 free throws to bring his point total to a new career high 48. That went along with 11 assists, 9 rebounds and 4 steals.
Somehow, it looked like the Thunder would force overtime, where they could use Durant and Westbrook to finish off a much-needed win against the Pelicans.
The only problem was that the Pelicans had Anthony Davis.
Anthony Davis with the knife to the Thunder's hearts. https://t.co/VwtSmHsuIW— Thunder Obsessed (@ThunderObsessed) February 7, 2015
Just like that, any hopes of an enormously important comeback were dashed. The first made 3-pointer of the year for Davis. It's been that kind of year for OKC.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
That empty feeling you get after a heartbreaking loss is as big as I can remember in quite some time, maybe since Game 6 against San Antonio last year. The importance of this one was clear, and no matter how many times it felt like OKC was giving the game away they kept clawing back. And then, heartbreak.
It's made even worse by the fact that Russell Westbrook just concluded one of the most incredible 2-game stretches in NBA history (and depending on how you feel about triple-doubles like the one he had on Monday, 3-game stretch). Last two games, both against New Orleans: 93 points, 15 rebounds, 17 assists, 5 steals. two absolutely incredible performances that no amount of words could possibly do enough justice.
Westbrook deserved his moment. He's certainly gotten his chances to shine of late, but this would have not only gone done as one of the greatest games ever by a Thunder player, but one of the greatest games ever by an NBA player. Heck, it still might.
And that shot by Davis. Ohhhh, that shot. A double-clutch heave by a guy that hadn't made a 3 all year. In his defense, it's Anthony Davis, and if anyone can come close to matching Westbrook's freak-of-nature ability, it's him. Heck, he finished himself with 41 points and 10 rebounds.
Man, this one hurts.
What does this loss mean for the Thunder going forward?
Again, this is just the way things have gone for the Thunder this year. Just when you start to get your hopes up and think they've turned a corner, a freaking double-clutch 3-pointer splashes through the net and sets them back once again.
Look, there's still a lot of season left. And being just 3 games out and we're not even to the All Star Break yet? That's certainly doable. But there more games like this, that completely rip your heart out, certainly will have an effect. Every game is crucial and having one that is so close to being a win go the other way sticks with you.
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook: 48 points, 11 assists, 9 rebounds, 4 steals
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook again.
Thunder Blunder: Dion Waiters: 2 points on 1-6 shooting
Thunder Plunderer: Anthony Davis: 41 points (15-23 shooting), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks
Next game: vs Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 12:00 PM CDT on ABC
Last thing: Things aren't all negative around here. WTLC got a shoutout in the BS Report today. We're pretty excited that they read this from time to time. So that's cool. Thunder talk starts around 19:00.
Ok, back to being mad at Anthony Davis.