The Oklahoma City Thunder’s recent downward spiral continued Monday night following a listless 104-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons.
After beginning the season with amplified promise, extended stretches of inefficient play has hamstrung OKC basketball. Throughout the past week, ineffective defensive efforts have catalyzed Oklahoma City’s travails.
Amid a torrid 6-1 romp, the Thunder constrained opponents to 97.1 ppg. However, in the midst of a four-game slide, Oklahoma City has acquiesced 111 ppg to victorious rivals.
Opposite a Detroit Pistons iteration missing two key contributors, Billy Donovan’s men floundered on both sides of the ball. The following is a breakdown of each Thunder player’s performance at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
- Russell Westbrook: A-
Westbrook erected another phenomenal stat-line consisting of 33 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists. Furthermore, the All-NBA guard’s 11-of-21 shooting clip — combined with eight-of-nine converts from the charity stripe — seemed eerily routine.
However, a prolific Westbrook showing was marred by the presence of seven turnovers, four fouls, and a Thunder starting-unit worst -negative seven plus/minus.
A little two-way efficiency from Russell would go a long way.
- Jerami Grant: B+
The son of former Oklahoma University standout Harvey Grant made his presence felt vs. Detroit. Grant — acquired Nov. 1 for Ersan Ilyasova — netted his highest points total (11) since donning a Thunder jersey.
The talented 22-year-old also boasted two steals, two blocks, and five rebounds in his noteworthy 26-minute outing.
- Enes Kanter: B-
The majority of Kanter’s efficacy occurred in the first-half of play. In 17 minutes of task, OKC’s eminent bench denizen finished with 10 points on eight shot attempts. Howbeit, Kanter’s mediocre three-rebound total inhibited his comprehensive marks.
- Anthony Morrow: B-
Seldom used Anthony Morrow made a resounding case for increased minutes with a six-point, two rebound outburst in just nine minutes of run. While OKC has fell upon offensive issues, perhaps a reinvigorated Morrow can erase a portion of the burden.
- Andre Roberson: C-
While Roberson didn’t live up to his earned reputation as a defensive-stopper extraordinaire, his efforts were not grossly subpar. That virtue alone is enough to place Roberson’s grade in medium territory upon the scale.
- Steven Adams: D+
The spirited Steven Adams was noticeably subdued vs. Detroit. This unusual absence of fervor was manifest as Aron Baynes torched the Thunder front-line for 20 points. Baynes — who is not noted for his offensive production — held a previous season-high of four points.
While the “Kiwi Warrior” also committed three turnovers, his saving grace on a very forgettable night was hauling in 11 rebounds and netting a team-best -plus two plus- minus in 29 minutes.
- Semaj Christon: D+
Though scoreless on the evening (0-4, plus-minus -11) Christon’s assist-to-turnover ratio was a perfect 3/0 during fifteen minutes of floor time.
- Joffrey Lauvergne: D
Lauvergne came off the pine to wrest five rebounds and score three points in 16 minutes. Unfortunately, Lauvergne also shot a meager 1-of-6 from the field, as the Thunder’s -15 performance was a team-worst while the French native was on the floor.
- Alex Abrines: D
The 23-year-old NBA newcomer appeared every bit the rookie as he converted just 1-of-7 overall attempts vs. Detroit. Abrines’ difficulty in acclimating to NBA three-point distance was again on full display as he shot 1-of-5 from deep.
- Domantas Sabonis: D-
Sabonis was another Thunder rookie to epitomize that epithet Monday evening. In a second consecutive regressive performance, Sabonis’ transgressions included five fouls, two turnovers, 1-of-7 shooting, and just one rebound in 23 minutes.
- Victor Oladipo: F
Oladipo’s high-volume, low-efficiency night served as a glaring microcosm of the Thunder’s comprehensive frustrations. VO5’s fruitless endeavor included a deleterious shooting line of 4-of-17 overall —with just one made three-point attempt in seven tries.
To compound his lackluster night, Oladipo registered a singular rebound and assist during 23 minutes of misery.
If Oklahoma City is to resurface as a viable threat, Victor Oladipo must free himself from the shackles of 22-of-60 shooting (36%) while also proffering a concerted effort not to be a ball-sticking offensive liability.
- Nick Collision: HAIR JORDAN!
The past few games have been rough, Thunder fans. Let’s drown our sorrows in this emphatic Russell Westbrook throwdown until Wednesday night.