The Thunder took two steps back on Thursday night in Mexico City, falling to the Brooklyn Nets by a final score of 100-95. Despite having a 13 point lead after the first quarter, Oklahoma City fell apart and whimpered to the finish while Paul George sat with a right calf contusion.
Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony combined to shoot 15/47 (31.9 percent) in the contest, looking frustrated and disengaged down the stretch. Steven Adams chipped in a double-double, but didn’t carry an offensive load as he has recently. The Thunder shot just 15/51 in the second half, and was outscored by 14 points over the last 24 minutes of basketball.
The Thunder’s three-game winning streak has come to an end, and the team will now return to the United States with an 11-13 record. Back to the drawing board for Billy Donovan and company.
A few notes below.
Russ and Melo Struggle
Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony were very bad against the Nets. Their final stat lines:
Westbrook: 31 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast, 10/27 FG, 2/6 3P, -9
Melo: 11 pts, 11 reb, 5/20 FG, 0/4 3P, +3
That’s a combined shooting percentage of 31.9 percent and somehow it’s not even the worst part. The Thunder offense descended into madness in Mexico City, as Russ and Melo took bad shot after bad shot — essentially draining the OKC offense of any life that may have existed at the bottom. The loss is on their shoulders.
Westbrook appeared slightly hobbled throughout the game, and it’s now being reported that he’s dealing with an illness and a hip contusion.
He appeared to be in a decent amount of discomfort on more than one occasion versus the Nets, so the Thunder will likely proceed with caution. Would not be surprising to see him miss some time, as Paul George is currently sitting with a calf contusion.
Abrines Got The Start. Alex Abrines was put in the starting lineup in the absence of Paul George. He logged 26 minutes but shot just 2/8 from the field. He finished his night with 5 points and an opportunity wasted.
Free Throw Woes Continue. The Thunder had an absolutely awful night from the free throw line, going 12/23 (52%). The Nets shot 63 percent on 30 attempts but OKC was in no position to take advantage.
Singler Minutes. I genuinely thought this was over, but Kyle Singler appeared and grabbed 23 minutes off the Thunder bench. He finished with 9 points on 3/9 shooting — going 2/4 from deep. Hopefully Paul George and Jerami Grant return soon and make this a weird thing that happened once in Mexico.
Traveling Band of Sadness. There was a moment in the closing seconds where Fox Sports Oklahoma showed a group of Thunder season ticket holders that made the trip to Mexico City for the game. They looked about as sad as I felt while watching 48 minutes of whatever that was — but with a tad more “I left the country for this?” involved.
Mexico City. One of the bright spots on the evening was the crowd at Mexico City Arena. They absolutely adored Russell Westbrook, cheered everything that happened, and booed players relentlessly after air balls. Enthusiasm stayed high but they deserved a much better showing from the Thunder.
- OKC won on the boards 54-49 and the teams each had 36 points in the paint
- The Thunder had a 17-7 advantage on the offensive glass
- The Nets had 24 assists to OKC’s 18
- The Thunder turned the ball over 12 times and forced 16
The Thunder will now return to the United States and head to Memphis for a Saturday showdown with the Grizzlies. Tip-off is at 8:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma and NBA TV.