Different night, more of the same.
Oklahoma City (1-9) fell short in Philadelphia (5-5) 110-85 in its worst loss of the season to date. Kevin Durant played his worst game of the year and while the game was close at the half (46-42), this time it was a second half hole instead of the first.
It’s just pretty clear that this team is overmatched in terms of talent and playmaking. There’s spurts of really good play, but they just can sustain it because either 1) They’re too young and inexperienced to understand how 2) it’s poor coaching and poor preparation or 3) they just aren’t talented enough. And if I were to answer, I think it’s a little combination of the three.
There’s obvious missing pieces. No shot makers. No run killers. No guy that will step up and say, “I’m not going to let this happen again.” Whether that’s a lack of experience or a lack of overall ability, I’m not real sure. I know certain players have all the talent in the world, but in a general sense, the team as a whole really does not. Finding five guys to put on the floor that can play with another solid NBA team for 48 minutes just doesn’t look possible.
Robert Swift was completely ineffective tonight which is discouraging with the way he had played the past few games. Durant just couldn’t get the jumper going. Jeff Green played yet another good game, but this taking turns with good nights just doesn’t cut it. That’s what I mean – there’s just no consistency. These young guys will grow and learn how to put four quarters together but it’s also going to take some other outside guys brought in to fix this.
Jim Traber actually made a pretty good point on the radio today. Basically he said, it will get better in February and March. Teams that are seeing their playoff hopes fade will mail it in some nights and OKC can pull out wins. Early in the year like this, every team is pretty fired up and trying to position itself for a playoff push. Guys are trying to earn playing time, trying to earn that next contract and trying to impress. come March, April and May, those same guys may just go through the motions and the Thunder may pick up some wins.
I tend to agree, but I just hope the team doesn’t lose itself. At times, it looked like KD was visibly upset and looked to be going through the motions a little. I think he expected this group to be better. I think we all did. This is seven in a row to drop and with Houston coming to the Ford Center Monday night, that streak doesn’t look like it will end quite yet. The game the Thunder needs to circle is Wednesday, November 19 because that’s when the Los Angeles Clippers come to town. That’s really a must-win game. Otherwise, people in OKC are going to start wondering if this group will win another one the rest of the way.
Fans, media and the organization are preaching patience. While I agree, it’s hard to watch and it’s hard to be excited right now with the way things are going. But we have to believe it will get better. And when it does, we can all say we were with these guys through the bad and the good.
Let’s hope for a regroup and a really solid, sold-out effort against the Rockets Monday. I think the team is going to get a good boost from being back home and hopefully will play with tons of heart. The Ford Center faithful is looking for that kind of game – one the team has no business being in, but is because of determination and guts. Maybe Monday.