Sigh. Copy, paste. Over and over again.
Look, what can you say here? This loss stinks, and there’s no other way to put it. Without question the second night of a back-to-back had an influence, with the Thunder looking seriously flat and lethargic for large portions of the game.
But that’s no excuse. It’s still an indictment of the effort because it’s on them for not generating the necessary effort. Giving up 123 points to a half-strength Pelicans team is bad. It was the little stuff, though, that was the most infuriating. Like the two offensive rebounds late in the fourth that resulted in four extra points. Rebounds that featured so much standing and watching that you would’ve thought the Thunder bought tickets to this game.
If you’re looking for other specifics, it was a soft opening to the fourth quarter, and basically a trade buckets mindset that eventually had the Thunder falling behind by 11. They fought back — because they have amazing players that can do amazing things — and if a Russell Westbrook layup doesn’t fall off the rim, a loose ball doesn’t hit off Serge Ibaka’s arm, if, if, if… they might’ve pulled one out of their butts.
These past two nights are a nice summary of the season thus far: Some inspired, solid defense followed up by tragically bad defense. But hey, good offense both nights! The word of the season has been consistency, and while that’s an easy word to repeat, doing that is obviously not changing anything. This team is just a mediocre defensive team, that sometimes can play well on that end. And other times play really, really poorly. They win a lot of games because they know how to outscore teams.
Next is the Warriors, and while they’re coming to OKC on the back end of a seven-game road trip, the Thunder clearly are staring at losing four of five here. Maybe they were guilty of looking ahead and coupled with the fatigue they weren’t focused. Whatever. Doesn’t really matter. It’s an ugly one to drop regardless of how you want to classify it.
- Donovan continued the staggering rotation tonight. It wasn’t as effective this time around, but Westbrook was a +7 in a four-point loss. Durant a -6.
- The biggest impact of both the new rotation as well as the Randy Foye addition: Cameron Payne has been axed. Or at least he was in the second half in Dallas, and tonight in New Orleans.
- Andre Roberson with a 21 trillion — 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0 in 21 minutes.
- I was glancing at Pelicans Twitter tonight and it’s funny how many “this might be the best they’ve played” tweets you see when teams play OKC.
- Amazing how many simple, controllable things get the Thunder beat. You talk about the little things, and here’s a good example of how they didn’t do them.
- Perk was looking, uh, like a big man tonight.
- Losing games always makes these things feel pointless, but Westbrook just evicerates the Pelicans. He had 44 on 15-25 shooting plus nine assists and four rebounds.
- Durant got going hitting some big ones to finish with 32 on 13-23, plus 14 rebounds and seven assists.
- But there is some of the old problem — 76 from Durant and Westbrook. Not a whole lot from everyone else.
- There are just too many possessions where Westbrook guards for 19 seconds. And then for an inexplicable reason, he just chills for the last five.
- Enes Kanter was basically a ghost. He had eight points and one rebound in 18 minutes. And while I don’t really like single game plus/minus much, his -16 tells a very accurate story.
- Dion Waiters played 30 minutes, scored eight points and had five assists. Hit a big 3 in the fourth that at least seemed big for a minute.
- Steven Adams only played 20 minutes. I was pretty stunned it was that few. He didn’t do as well on Anthony Davis tonight, but 20 minutes doesn’t feel like enough.
- That said, the Thunder played the most smallball they have in weeks.
- The game was almost positively over, but it was curious why the Thunder didn’t go ahead and foul after Westbrook missed that last 3. Foul there, get a double-miss, hit a 3 and then you’ve at least got a chance to hit a halfcourter for overtime. Again, longshot, but worth a shot still.
Next up: Home against the Warriors