Coming into the week, the Thunder were 6-1 and tied for first in the Western Conference. Seven days and four games later, the Thunder are 6-5 and in eighth place. Not only have the Thunder dropped four straight, but they’ve made it quite difficult for me to come up with “three good things.”
THREE GOOD THINGS
Domantis Sabonis. At times, Sabonis definitely looks like a rookie, but he’s flashed more than his fair share of impressive moments, culminating in the three-point barrage he unleashed on the Los Angeles Clippers, going 4-5 from deep. Sabonis has now hit 15 threes this season, which is one more than the total number of his attempts in 74 college games. Most impressive, through 11 games Sabonis is the Thunder’s most accurate three-point shooter, hitting 47% of his attempts.
71. Yes, this last week was ugly with a capital U-G-L-Y. But, thankfully, there are 71 games left in the regular season, more than enough time for the Thunder to right the ship. For some perspective, the Thunder were 6-5 through eleven games last season, and 3-8 the season before that.
Russell Westbrook dunking. Westbrook can dunk it, can’t he?
I particularly enjoyed that Marcus Morris of the Detroit Pistons wanted nothing to do with this one, while the rest of the Pistons just stood around spectated.
THREE NOT SO GOOD THINGS
Opponent points in the paint. Not to draw a painful comparison, but one of the criticisms of the Golden State Warriors was a lack of rim protection. Though the Thunder lost Serge Ibaka, the team still has Steven Adams, who was supposed to be a defensive anchor, and added Jerami Grant as a second rim protector. Disappointingly, the Thunder are the sixth-worst team in protecting the paint, allowing over 47 points in the paint per game. Against the Pistons, the Thunder were absolutely awful, allowing 60 points in the painted area. Need I also mention the Pistons were playing without Andre Drummond?
Revenge games. First Kevin Durant obliterated the Thunder, then Ibaka lights up the Thunder for 31 points, his final two points in game-winning fashion.
Game-winning shots. Speaking of game-winning shots, the Thunder had two chances this week to win on a last-second shot. Both chances left something to be desired. First, against the Clippers, Westbrook misses a 28-foot heave with two seconds left. Then, against the Magic, the Thunder don’t even get off an attempt. Granted, only 0.4 seconds remained on the clock, but Nick Collison failed to connect with Westbrook on a desperation lob.
ONE MORE THING
Three-point shooting. As a team, the Thunder are shooting 33% from three, which basically league average. What’s interesting, though, is who’s been making them. As aforementioned, Sabonis leads the team in three-point percentage. But second? Jerami Grant. And third? Joffrey Lauvergne. Moreover, the much-maligned Andre Roberson is converting a higher percentage than Westbrook, Alex Abrines, Kyle Singler, Enes Kanter, and Anthony Morrow. Of course, Kanter’s and Morrow’s percentage are pretty abysmal, since neither have converted a three this season.