Another game, another loss for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they extend their losing streak to 12 games with a 122-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
This is now the fourth straight loss for the Thunder, where the game has been semi-competitive after losing previous games by halftime.
Those are honestly the best type of losses to have for such a young team that is rebuilding; playing competitive basketball at the NBA level down the stretch will give young players the reps they need for the long run and better their development.
The best player on the floor Wednesday for the Thunder was Darius Bazley.
Bazley finished with a career-high-tying 26 points on 9-of-25 shooting. This is now Bazley’s third 20+ point game and sixth 16+ point game since returning to action after his shoulder injury.
Bazley has looked like a completely different player since returning; before, it was quite obvious the sophomore wing would overthink and be a bit hesitant when the ball swung to him, now he looks much more aggressive and has more eagerness to attack the paint.
His three-point shooting has not been well considering his high volume, but there is something definitely there with his inside game and ball-handling abilities.
“I’m learning just being in new situations and new opportunities, I’m experiencing a lot, being able to guard excellent guys,” Bazley said postgame about his new offensive role since SGA and Al Horford has been absent. “As far as me taking shots, it’s just a matter of me being open or trying to create something else for my teammates.”
The Thunder will most likely add a couple of rookies to their roster next season. With the sudden improvements of Aleksej Pokusevski, these last 14 games will be extra crucial for Bazley in terms of staying atop the Thunder’s developmental priority.
Speaking of Poku, he could only play five minutes tonight before having to sub out and eventually ruled out while he dealt with a non-COVID illness.
Kenrich Williams ended up taking most of his minutes and finished with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Svi Mykhailiuk was the other 20 point scorer for the Thunder tonight. Since the trade, Svi has looked rejuvenated with his new team. If he continues to play this well, the chances of sticking around longer than just this season increases.
While his box score numbers don’t pop out, Theo Maledon was a magician with the ball tonight. Especially in the first quarter, where several possessions included a Maledon pass that really flashes his potential.
oh my goodness.— Thunder Film Room (@ThunderFilmRoom) April 21, 2021
Théo just using the eyes to manipulate the defense & hits Roby on the roll. pic.twitter.com/vrswGKJTXI
How in the world did Théo get this pass off?— Thunder Film Room (@ThunderFilmRoom) April 21, 2021
Lord have mercy, his passing abilities are a treat to watch. pic.twitter.com/cHHYYj9kKM
Forcing turnovers & running in transition.— Thunder Film Room (@ThunderFilmRoom) April 21, 2021
Théo has put on a masterclass in passing. pic.twitter.com/MF9Tj480vc
Maledon also hit a three-pointer that cut the Pacers' lead to two points with 24 seconds left. The Pacers would ultimately win, but this was still a nice highlight to see for the rookie guard.
Overall, this was a good showing for the young guys, and the Thunder continue to lose and increase their odds of landing a top pick in this upcoming draft. The Thunder are now 1.5 games back of the Pistons and Magic for the third-worst record in the league.
Next Game: The Thunder play the Wizards again on Friday.