The Thunder lost another heartbreaking loss tonight in a similar fashion to the last game. OKC was able to force OT once again and this time lost by one point, 114-113.
Regardless of the result, the Thunder should be proud of their two game stop in LA. The team has been depleted for the past week and has had to play multiple games, including these last two in LA, with just eight players. The fact that the Thunder were able to force overtime against the defending champions twice is an impressive feat in its own right.
The key takeaway from this baseball series is that Head Coach Mark Daigneault is legit. Most coaches would have lost both games handily and nobody would have really faulted the coach or the team. The sheer number of injuries would have meant that nobody would talk about excuses.
Instead, Daigneault was able to adjust and made the best of a bad situation. Eventually, tired legs and lesser talent came to the fore and the Lakers were able to win both games like a championship contender should.
Tonight’s loss should not take away from how impressive the team was. In tonight’s matchup, OKC was without a true point guard and handed playmaking responsibilities to all eight guys who touched the floor. This led to the team recording a season high 32 assists that were spread across evenly.
The two stars of tonight’s game for the Thunder were Al Horford and Kenrich Williams. Horford scored 25 points on an efficient 11-of-18 shooting along with 8 assists, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Williams scored a career high 24 points on an efficient 11-of-14 shooting.
The other six guys played well too.
Lu Dort started off this game rough, especially with his outside shooting. But as the game progressed, so did Dort. Dort was a hound defensively on LeBron James in the final 17 minutes and he also picked up some of the offensive slack. He finished with 17 points and 4 assists.
Horford also praised Dort in the postgame presser and discussed Dort’s defense on LeBron James. The 14 year veteran said Dort did as a good job at defending James as he has ever seen in his professional career.
Hamidou Diallo continues to impress as he started at the one for tonight’s game. Diallo finished with an impressive stat line of 15 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Diallo did a good job at handling point guard duties and initiating the offense.
Darius Bazley played 42 minutes which is the most total minutes out of the players who touched the court tonight. Bazley struggled to shoot but he still finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Mike Muscala finished with a career high in assists at 7 as the team ran a lot of hand-off action with the bigs. Justin Jackson added 9 points and 4 assists. Even, Darius Miller played a quick 15 minutes and scored 8 points.
Overall, this type of performance is nothing to hang your head on, in fact this performance speaks highly on the team’s character and coaches. Sure, the Thunder blew a 20 point lead, but the fact that they had a huge lead to begin with is awe-inspiring. As the game wore on, the Thunder’s hot start went cold and legs tired.
The team will need to regroup fast and hope help is on the way as they play again in a couple of days.
Next Game: Thunder travel to Denver to play the Nuggets on Friday night.