The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped yet another fourth quarter lead, and lost to the San Antonio Spurs, 85-93. It's a bit unfair to say the Thunder really had an advantage this time. OKC's biggest fourth quarter lead was 4, with 9:57 to go. San Antonio took the lead with 8 minutes to go, and never really looked back. Despite OKC's starters playing a generally effective game up to that point, the offense just stopped in the fourth quarter. There was hardly any more off ball movement, and everything became a simple pick play. The Spurs were prepared to stop the easy stuff, and OKC didn't give themselves any other options.
Let me explain it this way. In the fourth quarter, Westbrook was 0 of 4 with 1 assist and 2 turnovers. Durant was 4 of 7, with 0 assists and 3 turnovers. But for the first through third quarters, Westbrook was 5 of 12 with 6 assists and 7 turnovers, while KD was 7 of 18 with 8 assists and no turnovers. Taken on the whole, Westbrook and Durant were mediocre during the first through third quarters, but horrible in the fourth quarter. That's not by coincidence.
That's not to say that the Thunder put themselves in a position to win, either. Without Westbrook on the floor, the Thunder were -7 overall. There's nothing wrong with the bench lineup defensively, it's just that the no-Westbrook lineups have such a hard time moving the ball on offense. No one can get space. Also, our bench wings are notoriously unreliable. Singler 0 of 5 on mostly open threes, Foye 1 of 4 overall. Morrow didn't even get minutes, save for a cameo after the game had ended.
Still, I can't just brush the blame off OKC's stars entirely. Russell Westbrook was 4 of 12 in the paint today, well below his averages. The Spurs knew all of his tricks, and it's disheartening that Westbrook didn't try a single mid-range cotton shot. Durant was 0 of 5 from three today, and that's crushing. KD is normally the backbone of this team's three point shooting.
On the positive side, Durant was solid from two. Discounting the threes, KD was 11of 20. There were transition opportunities for KD, as well as post ups and set plays. What generally didn't work was when KD tried to post Kawhi, and Leonard's D was appropriately tough.
- Serge Ibaka was 3 of 13, on mostly open shots. Ibaka's defense of Aldridge was acceptable, though definitely not exceptional. Ibaka gave up just about as many possessions as he defended well. This is really a low point for Ibaka's career.
- Adams was as reliable as ever. At least a couple of defensive stops from Adams, as well as four baskets at the rim. Generally Adams scored whenever someone else got him space, but there was one nice hook over David west. The flip shot was there, as usual.
- Roberson had more defensive stops than defensive errors, for sure. And Andre even had two scores, one made corner three and one shot at the rim when KD was doubled.
- Nick Collison had three defensive stops in the first half, but had two defensive follies along with a couple turnovers in the second half. One missed flip shot.
- Enes Kanter had a really successful game, getting in the paint on the pick and roll, hitting on the pick and pop, and even hitting a hook over David West. Kanter was even more than reliable on defense, frequently making the extra effort to protect the rim or run out for a three.
- Randy Foye's pull-up mid-range shots are infuriating, as they're difficult and inefficient. Foye was 0 of 2 from that range tonight. One nice bucket when Foye got to drive to the rim on Mills, and a missed three. Foye's defense wasn't remarkable.
- Singler, along with bricking four threes, missed a forced layup and stepped out of bounds in the corner. At least Singlers one on one defense was passable.
- Morrow, kinda hilariously, blew an open layup in the final seconds of this game. Did the ice cold shooting really have to continue?
- KD 37 Minutes, Westbrook 38. Too long
- 19 turnovers to 18 assists. 2 of 18 from three. There's no way either of those things could stand alone on a winning team, much less together. Ball movement and spacing is needed. Waiters' eventual return could alleviate the problem, but it would be nice to see Payne....
Thunder Wonder: Enes Kanter, because why not
Thunder Down Under: Steven Adams, also because why not
Thunder Blunder: Kyle Singler, please make your threes
Thunder Plunderer: Kawhi Leonard, 26 points, destroying KD around those screens, also crazy stepback jumpers
Next Game: Versus the Portland Trail Blazers, Monday, March 14th, 7 PM Central Standard Time.
What did you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!