I really just want to go home, so let’s just get right to the notes on this really not good performance by the Thunder.
- To start the game, the Bulls went on an 11-0 run. To start the third, it was an 8-0 run. And for good measure, they closed the third on a 9-2 run to take an 18-point lead to the fourth. Billy Donovan fired his last bullet, starting Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka to open the fourth, and immediately, they dug into the lead with a 5-0 spurt in 40 seconds. Eventually, they trimmed it to six with 3:42 left behind a couple Anthony Morrow 3s and buckets from Westbrook and Enes Kanter.
- Durant on the bad start: “Man, we didn’t have any energy to start the game or to start the third quarter. And they got us.” Reason? “I have no clue, man.”
- Westbrook: “Just didn’t play hard enough. We’ve got to play harder if we want to win games.”
- Durant again: “We just made dumb plays all night.”
- Westbrook again: “We just didn’t play hard enough on both ends. When we play hard enough, everything takes care of itself.”
- I really had the “energy” explanation. I know, what else are they supposed to say? “Well, our roster may be flawed and our players aren’t as good as they need to be.” But still, it’s just a pretty weak excuse to lean on. Maybe it was truly energy — they just came back from LA after four days and showed up for an early tip on Christmas. Maybe they weren’t ready for unexplained reasons. It just seemed like more than that to me.
- For instance, Durant and Westbrook combined for 59. The rest of the team had 37. Take out Enes Kanter’s 14, and it’s 23. That’s not good when seven players combined for 23 points. And on 11-36 shooting! After Kanter, the most makes anyone had was Morrow and Ibaka, each with three.
- You can definitely place some blame on Ibaka for this one. He was not good. Just six points on 3-12 shooting, and some lackluster interior defense. But it’s not entirely fair to say he’s regressed or isn’t good anymore. He’s coming off five straight double-digit scoring games where he averaged 16.4 points and 7.0 rebounds. Maybe his best stretch of the season. He has been infuriatingly inconsistent this season, I’ll give you that.
- The Bulls jersey were absolutely sick. Amazing. The Thunder’s were good. Maybe their best jersey they’ve worn. They should replace their other alternate blue ones.
- Derrick Rose played a nice game, and really his return with a couple minutes left is what stabalized the Bulls after he went out with foul trouble. But still, I just can’t shake the feeling that most of his makes seem lucky. Like they just happen to go in. The ball comes out of his hand funny all the time, and he looks entirely out of rhythm, often launching into a shot mostly out of control. And as someone that adores Rose, I hated typing this paragraph.
- Maybe it’s just me, because as you know I’m a total morondouche, but it’s funny how wins swing your perspective one way, then losses swing it the other. After the Clippers and Lakers wins, it was, man the Thunder are 12-3 with an impressive margin of victory. After losing today, it’s man, the Thunder have lost to four Eastern teams and really were a Durant game-winner from losing two of their last three. Conclusion: Winning is better than losing.
- After the Bulls opened 11-0, Donovan called a timeout, and fans were pretty confused about sitting down. Most did, then stood back up until Westbrook scored on the trip out of the timeout.
- Sometimes single game plus/minus is hilarious. When the Thunder entered the fourth down 18, Dion Waiters was still somehow a +9. And don’t let that fool you, either. Waiters stunk in this game.
- From intrepid Daily Thunder correspondent, Mrs. Daily Thunder, apparently Nick Collison blows in Steven Adams’ face/hair as part of their pregame routine now.
- One of, among the many wonderful things about Dion Waiters, is that he, for some reason, cuts the sleeves off his shooting shirts. Also, another thing: I love how he throws the ball out in front of him and blows in his hands when he’s bringing it up for the first time after checking in. Like, “Gotta get these hands warmed up.”
- Not one, but TWO proposals in the Kiss Cam today. The first one kicked it off, which made it super awkward for everyone following it. Then the last dude did it too. The first lady didn’t appear to be all that stoked, though. Probably because she just got engaged on the Kiss Cam on Christmas Day.
- Hard not to watch Pau Gasol and not think constantly about how close the Thunder were to getting him. And how much better he would make them.
- Westbrook had six steals today. (And six turnovers.) He was asked postgame about finding the balance between gambling and staying with his man and gave some non-answer about doing what he needs to do for the team. After the interview ended, though, he looked at the reporter who asked and said, “How many steals I have today?”
Next up: Home against the Nuggets on Sunday