Earlier in the week when we got taken to the woodshed by the Lakers, Royce titled the post game “Schooled”. After tonight’s debacle game, I am fielding suggestions for a good title for the post game wrap. Any ideas? Does the picture on the left stir your imagination?
Tonight was just a forgettable game. The Thunder jumped out to a 5-0 lead to open up, and then the bleeding started. The Raps reeled off a 15-2 run and never looked back. They had the lead from that point on, and the Thunder never really made a game of it.
Throughout the season, we’ve had plenty of losses, and after being a longsuffering Sonic fan for two decades, I’ve seen a lot of them, especially in the last 4 or 5 years. But during this new Thunder era, we’ve almost always been competitive; even when we were 3-29, most nights we were “in the game”. That just wasn’t the case tonight.
If you told me that we would lose tonight by 16 to Toronto, my mind would have instantly jumped to turnovers. The Thunder lead the league in Turnovers (as in the most) at 16 a game. I would think the Turns did us in once again. That also just wasn’t the case. The Thunder only turned it a mere 11 times. What did us in was extra poor shooting and getting busted on the boards.
You may or may not know that the Thunder have been sort of quiet offensively for most of the month of March. Tonight was the same. Shooting was extra stinky, especially in the first three quarters, where we shot 44%, 31% and 30% respectively. I don’t want to give too much credit where it isn’t due: I don’t really think Toronto did anything special on defense tonight. I did see effort, Toronto did a respectable job, but it certainly wasn’t what I would call lockdown, the Thunder just couldn’t get their shots to drop. Even point blank shots were bouncing out. It was just one of those nights offensively. Unfortunately the Thunder didn’t make up for it with any special defensive effort either. At times I saw the extra stiff defense we’ve had glimpses of this month, but as a whole, not so much. Especially noticeable was that the team just couldn’t grasp the concept of defending the perimeter in the fourth quarter where Toronto went 4/8 on threes. At least three of these stick out in my mind for the fact that no Thunder defender closed out on the shooter in a serious way.
And rebounds. Sheesh. The Thunder are the 4th best rebounding team in the league (and 3rd best on the offensive boards), yet got absolutely spanked on the glass by the 25th worst rebounding team in the NBA. The rebounding margin was 54/37, and 13/8 on the offensive glass.
With the Thunder shooting so poorly, there were a lot of rebounds to be had, but Toronto got their hands on most of them. The Thunder just settled for a whole lot of outside jumpers in the first half, and didn’t get serious about getting into the paint until the second half. But along with getting into the paint for easy baskets, the Thunder needed to get stops to erase the 11 point deficit. Also not the case. The Raps just continued to hit big shots and collect misses and rolled to the finish line.
- One great play that I made a note of happened in the first quarter where Collison had the rock at the top of the three point arc defended by Bosh. Colly looked like he wanted to pass off the ball but instead he just put it on the floor and drove to the hole. Bosh went up at the rim to try and knock it into the seats and the helper (Pops-Bonsu) also left his feet for the block. Colly stopped on a dime, did a little pivot and put it in when the two defenders were falling all over themselves back on the floor.
- Speaking of Collison, tonight he had one of the finest offensive nights I’ve ever seen. He’s had 21 points before, but the way he did it was really diverse-for him. Post ups, midrange jumpers, long jumpers, even a drive to the hole. Colly usually doesn’t get much offense more than 6 feet from the bucket, but tonight he showed all the tools.
- In the first half, neither team was doing any work in the paint; it was mostly all jumpers. The teams combined for a total of 11 free throw attempts in the first half.
- Durant had a couple of nice individual defensive stops. First he picked Kapono’s pocket and handled the ball on the break, dishing off to Collison for the assist. Later he defended Marion on a post up, and while he did leave his feet, he was able to adjust on the fly with those long arms and tie him up for a jump ball.
- The Thunder began attacking the basket in the third period and it paid off with 12 trips to the line.
- The Thunder really need a dead eye shooter to come off the bench. The team hasn’t had one since Wally Z took his game to Cleveland. We were abysmal from deep. Statistically we are 25th in the league in 3fg% at .349, and dead last in 3fg attempts.
- On the bright side, Kyle Weaver is having a very nice month for the Thunder shooting almost 50% from the field and 36% from three. He’s raised his scoring average up to almost 8 points per game this month in 23 minutes, and he seems to thrive coming off the bench in lieu of starting.
- The curious case of the missing Earl continues. Big red and Damien each got a little run with about 4 minutes left in the blowout, but Earl never got his sweats off.
- There’s been a lot of talk about Thunder defense lately. Here’s a not so fun stat. The Raps are averaging 97 points per game, yet we allowed them 112 tonight. They average 36 made field goals per game, yet we let them sink 48.
- Our starters were a combined 17/53 for 32% shooting.
- In 8 minutes of play, Damien Wilkins led the team in shot %. He took 57% of the shots taken by the Thunder in the time he was in the game. The next closest player was Krstic at 32%.