Fred Katz hit the nail on the head:
Game over. Thunder lose by negative-1.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 1, 2018
Things started off nicely. OKC’s ball movement was smooth, efficient, and their shots were falling. Russ was 5/6 FG in the first quarter; he had 20 in the first half. Paul George was sitting at 9-8-4 heading into the final 24 minutes. It was all going well and the Thunder led by 11.
Then everything changed...
Ahh yes, the dreaded third quarter. Remember that trend? The one that caused all of those gray hairs during the first two months of the season? Yeah, that one. Well it reared its ugly head on Wednesday night, and gave the Thunder all they could handle.
The Mavs shot 15/23 in the third and outscored OKC 33-26. It felt very November-like, as the Thunder turned the ball over 7 times in a very ugly 12 minutes. It’s like the rite of spring, Christmas Eve, or an Oprah Winfrey episode where everyone gets a free new motor scooter.
The previously-present help defense disappeared, while and sort of perimeter defending became nonexistent. There was poor shot selection, carelessness with the ball; just about anything you can think of that could go wrong, went wrong.
Thunder’s had some bad sequences this season. Anything worse than this? pic.twitter.com/1E84kTLtQo— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) March 1, 2018
It was ugly, and as ESPN’s Royce Young put it, had “all the symptoms of a bad, bad loss for the Thunder”. But hey, OKC scratched and clawed to a realllly ugly OT win. I’m sure they couldn’t get out of Dallas quick enough (which seems to be how a lot of Oklahomans feel as well -Sherman).
At this point, you’re kidding yourself if you expect pretty wins from this group. There’s going to be a lot of games like this down the stretch. Maybe Corey Brewer will make a difference, maybe not, but one thing is for sure, this team is going to make every game interesting.
At this point, OKC needs wins, it doesn’t matter how they get them. So buckle up! It’s going to be a fun and bumpy ride!
- The Thunder are expected to sign former Laker Corey Brewer once he clears waivers on Friday. He was waived by L.A. on Wednesday after agreeing to a contract buyout. Brewer was part of Billy Donovan’s back-to-back National Championships at Florida in 2006 and 2007.
- Back to the ugliness that was last night’s win, Russ finished with 30-11-7 and 9 turnovers. PG had 23-11-6 with 6 turnovers.
- Oddly enough, the Thunder have now won 4 of 5 games by a combined 11 points. Again, scratching and crawling.
- The Western Conference is an absolute mess. At this moment (11:03 AM CT), the Thunder sit in 7th place, but are just a half game back of the 4th place Spurs. The Pelicans and Blazers (5 and 6) are also a half game out of 4th.
- Welp, this isn’t good. Not good at all.
Incredible: At the time Roberson got hurt, OKC had a 96.4 defensive rating w/ him on the floor & 108.3 w/ him off. I figured though Dre is great, the numbers had to come down as the sample got so large. But in the 14 games since Dre got hurt, OKC now has exactly a 108.3 D rating.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 1, 2018
- This is non-Thunder news, but definitely needs to be shared:
A Look Ahead
The Thunder go for, somehow, 5 out of 6 on Friday night in game one of a back-to-back. They’ll start off in Phoenix before playing in Portland on Saturday night.