The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered another frustrating road loss, falling to the Washington Wizards, 120-98, a virtual redux of their recent loss to the Bulls. The outcome of this game could be found mid-way through the 3rd quarter where the Thunder failed to generate any resiliency amidst the Wizards’ hot shooting (57.5%, 61.9% from 3). If you had to quibble, the result was decided from 7:35 in the 2nd to 6:20 in the 3rd, where OKC was outscored 41-13, failing to even make a shot until less than 6 minutes remained in the 3rd. But in reality, this loss was a the collateral damage of Saturday night’s loss against the Warriors, an emotionally draining event that leaves the Thunder dragging themselves toward the All-Star Break.
If you want to look for silver linings in this game, consider the bench play. It’s not much, but it’s something. Of course their production is bolstered because of extended minutes, but for the first time that I’ve seen, Cameron Payne started to look comfortable running an offense, particularly with Joffrey Lauvergne. Lauvergne finished with a game-high 17 points on 6-7 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and Payne did a solid job setting him up in the paint. Payne finished with 12 points on 5-9 shooting with 2 assists and 2 steals, and I wonder if he’s turning the corner.
Meanwhile, the poor play was well spread out. Russell Westbrook finished shooting 5-19 from the floor, Domantas Sabonis scored only 6 on 3-11 shooting, and Jerami Grant double-clutched his way to a 3-12 performance.
Nothing more to say about this one. I actually am in the Verizon Center about to make my way down to the Thunder’s locker room and see if I can find some positive energy. Not likely; that used to be Hasheem Thabeet’s job, win or lose. I could use some Thabeet right about now.