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Thunder Views: OKC’s long term challenge, meshing together, and losing?

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OKC can lose with Russ, PG, and Melo? We didn’t agree to this.

New York Knicks v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images

The Thunder suffered their first loss of the young season last night, with Russell Westbrook contributing just 6 points. That’s not a common scenario for the reigning MVP, but like we’ve repeatedly said, this team won’t mesh overnight.

Spotlight

Last night’s game was a story of offensive inefficiency. Carmelo Anthony led the charge with 26 points while Paul George contributed 22. The Thunder will be reliant on their big three for a consistent scoring punch, so an unbalanced performance like tonight will often result in an unfavorable outcome. Westbrook was just 2-11 from the field with 7 turnovers. Obviously not his best night. Eventually this bunch will figure out how to pick each other up, even if one of them is stuck in single digits. Don’t be concerned, the first loss is out of the way, and OKC can now move forward. 82-0 is unfortunately off the table, but there’s always 81-1.

OKC was also extremely hesitant to go inside last night thanks to the presence of Rudy Gobert, who totally disrupted the Thunder’s interior attack. This resulted in them settling for plenty of outside shots, which shouldn’t be their bread and butter. They’ll have to learn to function better against interior threats as the season goes on.

Quick Rumbles

  • The Thunder were outscored 40-20 in the paint last night, which was representative of their lack of aggressiveness towards the rim.
  • Russ went with a simple look tonight:
  • Andre Roberson only played 13 minutes tonight. Just an interesting tidbit.
  • Joe Ingles is a very good basketball player
  • Utah’s top ranked defense is no joke

A Look Ahead

The Thunder have a quick turnaround as they travel back to OKC tomorrow night to welcome in the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T-Wolves are coming off a 100-97 win against the Jazz on Friday night, and sit at 1-1 on the year. Similar to the Thunder, Minnesota is in the process of meshing a new group. Their fast paced play should create an interesting matchup for the equally athletic Thunder.