I think it’s officially panic time in OKC. The Thunder have lost four in a row, and struggling mightily to guard the perimeter against anybody without Andre Roberson.
The Lakers made 13 threes on Sunday afternoon. That’s the fifth time in the last 8 games that an OKC opponent has made at least 13 threes. No, that isn’t occurring solely because of Roberson’s injury, but it’s definitely not helping.
Since his injury, OKC is giving up 108.2 points per 100 possessions while allowing opponents to shoot 40% from beyond the arc. It’s clear that there’s a lack of confidence in defending the perimeter. Close-outs have been slow and hesitant, and teams are taking full advantage of that. Are the Thunder defenders afraid of getting blown by? Maybe. But that perimeter D is going to have to tighten up before facing Golden State on Tuesday.
This team’s been through a lot lately. From losing a glue defender, to playing six games in nine days across multiple time zones, it was expected that their might be a few road bumps along this stretch. However, four straight losses is bigger than your average road bump.
Everything written above is stressful and problematic. With these sort of things comes frustration, and that became the storyline of yesterday’s game.
Every time it seems like the Thunder are about to go on a big run and open the game up, they get a technical foul.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 4, 2018
Royce is spot on. I get the team is going through some struggles, but this is a group that has plenty of veterans. In times like these, I would expect the more seasoned players to step up and keep it cool, but that has yet to happen.
Yesterday’s game was decided by four points. The Thunder were called for four technical fouls. Not ideal.
Paul George, Steven Adams, Carmelo Anthony, and Billy Donovan were all hit with techs on Sunday, leading the charge to take Russ away from the top of the list. I totally understand the frustrations, but at some point this becomes undisciplined and detrimental to the team.
The Thunder have four players all towards the top of the tech leader board. Russ is tied for the league lead with 11, while Adams, George, and Melo had 7, respectively. Let’s not forget Billy Donovan as well, who’s tied for the league lead with 6.
YOU GET A TECH, YOU GET A TECH
- Russ finished with 36-5-9 while PG added 26 points.
- Donovan has spoken about trying to find Patrick Patterson more minutes to get some help the defensive end. If this is the case, keep an eye out for Melo shifting over to the three.
- This is something:
The Thunder are 1-4 since losing Andre Roberson for the season. Terrance Ferguson in those five games: 2 points on 4 shots. Total.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 4, 2018
*looks over at trade deadline countdown clock* *eye twitch*
- Donovan said after the game yesterday that Roberson might be the best player he’s ever seen in terms of three-point closeouts. That’s nice and all, but he CAN’T PLAY.
A Look Ahead
OKC gets the treat of facing off against the Warriors on Tuesday night. If one team is going to kill you from beyond the arc, its Golden State, so we’ll see how the Thunder adjust prior to this matchup.