The Oklahoma City Thunder braved Snow Storm Jonas to land in Brooklyn to face the Nets, and probably wish they hadn't. OKC fell to the moribund Nets, 116-106 in a game that was less fun to watch than my car getting buried under 3 feet of snow.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The Thunder, if my calculations are correct, never actually led in this game. And that is remarkable because the Nets are not good at offense (97.8-28th), and they are also not good at defense (106.0-26th). And yet, OKC's play made them look like they were the Spurs.
It is frustrating to watch an objectively bad team, who fired their head coach Lionel Hollins 2 weeks ago, control every aspect of this contest. Winning in the NBA is tough, no doubt, as is winning 8 games in a row, even against weak competition. The problem was that the Thunder had matchup advantages at so many positions except center, and yet played like they had no idea how to take advantage. Losses like this happen, that we know. But it makes it no less easy to watch, given the disparity between the teams.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
1) Kevin Durant was going against a bad defensive team and guarded primarily by Joe Johnson, who is 137 years old. Unless Brooklyn was committing 2-3 guys to stopping him, there was no shot that KD should have struggled to get, and we saw that as he was able to get the ball into the lane with ease when he wanted to. The problem was that he attempted 10 3-pointers on the night, making only 2. He did finish with 10 free throws, but should have had 20 had he been attacking this poached egg of a Brooklyn defense.
2) The Thunder's most focused player on the night was Cameron Payne, who seemed to have a better understanding and greater sense of awareness than anyone else, AND YET only played 13 minutes. No stretch better exemplified this than a 20 second stretch where he set up Dion Waiters for a 3-pointer, defended a Shane Larkin layup, followed with his own 3-pointer, and then blocked Larkin's layup on the opposite end. Meanwhile, Westbrook, who was all over the place, played 41 minutes.
Thunder Wonder: Cameron Payne, who was perhaps the most focused player on the court
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, who posted a 32-10-7
Thunder Blunder: Enes Kanter, who was tragically outplayed by...
Thunder Plunderer: Brook Lopez, who dominated the Thunder with 31 and 10 (5ORB's)
Next game: @ New York Knicks on Tuesday, Jan. 26th at 6:30PM CDT