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Thunder Views: Russ and the rest in the North Star State

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What’s caused this mini-skid in OKC?

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Welp, another Roberson-less night and another loss for the Thunder, who continued their mini-slide in Minnesota on Wednesday. Last night was just an all-around poor shooting night for OKC, excluding Russell Westbrook.

It was a classic case of a bad second half performance, which we saw plenty of early on this season. They were tied at halftime, and then got outscored by 16 in the final two quarters. Not a great strategy if you ask me.

The third quarter hasn’t been as tragic as it was across the first 20 games of the season, but it reared its ugly head in Minnesota on Wednesday. OKC put up a measly 18 points during those twelve minutes, and could never really make up for it.

Westbrook did everything in his power to will this team to a win last night, but even impersonating 2016-17 Russ wasn’t good enough for a W. Players not named Russell Westbrook were 17-56 from the floor. That’s a 30% clip.

So what’s going on in OKC?

Spotlight

The world is not coming to an end. It may seem like it when you jump on Twitter and see people yelling from their virtual soapboxes about how Paul George needs to be traded, and Melo needs to come off the bench. NEITHER of those are the case, so let’s just take a little step back, and see what brought us to this point.

The Thunder had won 12 of 15 games going into their December 29th game against Milwaukee. Things were going well. And then they weren’t.

Paul George didn’t play in that game, but the Thunder still managed to take a good Bucks team down to the wire. They thought they had forced OT, until Giannis had a buzzer-beater dunk. Turns out that dunk should have never counted since he stepped on the baseline, but un-reviewable it was, and OKC took the L.

Then Andre Roberson began dealing with a left knee injury, and next thing you know he misses the 6 straight games. Suddenly the Thunder have lost 5 of their last 7, and all hell is breaking lose around this team.

Everyone should take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This is a small skid from a team that seemed to be figuring it out prior to this 7 game stretch. Ideally, they still have that in them, and will revert back to their winning ways once they get healthy. It’s a glass-half-full mentality, that I think this team and its fans need to run with right now. Otherwise, it can get really dark, really quickly.

Bottom line: REMAIN CALM.

Quick Rumbles

  • Russ finished with 38 points (15/23 FG), 5 assists, 10 rebounds, and 4 steals. The rest of the Thunder finished with 50 points on 17/56 shooting.
  • Karl Anthony-Towns had the upper hand against Steven Adams all night. Adams had 8 points and 8 rebounds compared to KAT’s 18 and 12.
  • As a team, OKC shot 40.5% from the floor. They shot 35% in the second half.
  • The Thunder had just 13 total assists.
  • The bench had just 11 points. Naturally, 7 of them came from Raymond Felton.

A Look Ahead

Next up is a trip to Charlotte on Saturday. The Hornets are 15-24. A blowout win would do wonders for this Thunder team right now.