Box score (take a good look at it – it’s a good one)
You know what kind of quotes you see after a game like that?
“We just didn’t have any intensity tonight. We have to come out with better energy than that.”
“Shots just weren’t falling. Some nights that happens.”
“This one is on us – we just didn’t play with any fire tonight.”
“We got out-hustled. No excuses. That was just terrible effort on our part.”
“Give credit to the Blazers. They weren’t giving us any easy looks.”
Blah, blah, blah. I mean, what else are you supposed to say? “You know, other than the getting beat by 37 and shooting 36 percent, I thought things went pretty well.”
But let me tell you, that was a poor effort. They stunk. Big time. Sure, it was an “off night” if you want to call it that. I think a better description would be “so far off that I actually wonder if someone would hit the shot clock with a jumper night.” Oklahoma City shot just 36 percent for the game and it took a lot to get there after the Thunder shot just 23 percent in the first half. Yes, that’s right. Twenty-three percent. Eleven made field goals. Pathetic.
Here’s some numbers from the first half: Kevin Durant 2-9, eight points. Russell Westbrook 1-8, seven points. Jeff Green 3-7, nine points. Nenad Krstic 1-7, two points. And it’s not like it really picked up in the second half. after 35 first half points, OKC put up 37 in the second for a whopping 72 points. Too bad Portland had 107. You know how many points the leading man for OKC had? Thirteen. Thirteen points. The Thunder had three guys in double figures. As a result of all that *stellar shooting, Brian Davis probably said some variation of his little “lid on the basket” cliche 2,000 times. It got pretty old pretty fast.
(Here’s some suggestions next time OKC shoots 23 percent in a half for Davis so that he doesn’t drive the “lid on the basket” saying into the ground more than he did tonight: “What’s the code to get into that vault!?!” “Somebody forgot to put the toilet seat up!” “Are these guys shooting with their eyes closed?” “Somebody get the cover off the bucket.” “Somebody get the blanket off the bed!” (I don’t even know what that one means.) “Is that just me or is there some sort of protective devise over Oklahoma City’s basket? Amirite? Hai-five?” Just anything other than “Somebody get the lid off the basket!” It got so bad that after every missed shot I immediately hit mute. I couldn’t take it anymore. I digress.)
Not many times this year I’ve seen the Thunder play with that lack of effort. They were flatfooted, lazy on help defense and just didn’t play with any fight. It was embarrassing to watch them. An example: With about four minutes left in the third, OKC played solid defense for 24 seconds and Steve Blake had to hoist a challenged floater that had no chance. Nenad Krstic watched it hit the rim and lazily went after it as LaMarcus Aldridge grabbed the rebound and flushed it back home. I actually rewound four times watching his incredible lack of effort. It was actually impressive in a crash-and-burn sort of way. Not to single out Krstic though, because it’s not like anyone else did any better. Nobody closed out on shooters. Nobody hit the glass hard. Nick Collison even looked lazy. Nick Collison!
The Blazers outrebounded OKC 57-32 tonight. That’s a 25 rebound difference. That’s incredible. While obviously a lot of that has to do with the Thunder’s porous effort, more of that has to do with OKC giving Portland 47 rebounding opportunities. When you shoot just 36 percent, the other guy is going to get some boards. But then again, the Blazers had 21 offensive rebounds. Heck, Westbrook led the Thunder with eight rebounds. The next closest guy was KD with five. That’s. Not. Good.
Let’s take a moment to look at something positive. Shaun Livingston everyone! In 22 minutes, he scored 10 points on 5-6 shooting and dished out one assist. Kind of hard to get more than that when you’re teammates couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat in the ocean. But he looked relatively healthy. At times it seemed like he was favoring his right side a bit, but I wonder if that’s more of a confidence thing than pain or discomfort. He moved well and clearly had solid control of the game when he was on the floor. His offensive game is silky smooth. He didn’t look quick and didn’t have any fast bursts like Westbrook, but he easily got in the lane and scored. So far, I like what I see.
I know Portland is hot right now. I get that. They hit every open look, grabbed every rebound and played great defense. But come on – blown out by 35 on your home court? Sheesh. I actually started rooting for the Blazers to score 100 because the Thunder’s won 14 straight when they hold their opponent to under 100 points. But they got there. Thanks Portland.
How about Nicolas Batum – he was a +37 tonight. Holy crap! The Thunder starters were -25, -26, -33, -30 and -21. LaMarcus Aldridge had 35 points and 18 rebounds. I don’t really have anything to add to that, but just wanted to get those things in here because they’re pretty wild.
There’s not much more to say than that stunk. It’s not like it was turnovers – OKC just turned it 12 times. The Thunder just could not make a shot. Definitely give credit to the Blazers though because OKC had a lot of tough looks. But seriously, that was bad. I don’t know if it was a lack of focus, an over-confidence after the Spurs win or what, but that was some seriously uninspired basketball. And it wasn’t just an “off shooting night.” It was an “off intensity and desire to compete night.” After shots weren’t falling early it almost seemed like they collectively said, “Screw it, this ain’t working. Let’s go home and play XBOX.”
I’m disappointed because it’s been a long time since the team’s played like that. I said in the pre-game, “Last time the Thunder beat the Spurs, they responded with a flat, uninspired performance against the Bulls. Do that again, and we may be taking a trip down P.J. Carlesimo lane with a home blowout loss.” And that’s exactly what it was. It was a Carlesimo butt kicking like we watched for the first three weeks of the season. I realize that happens some nights, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. This was the NBA version of a 16 vs. a 1-seed. Portland was UCONN and we were Robert Morris. In other words, it didn’t go well.
A day off to let that one soak in and the OKC is back in action at home against Indiana Sunday night. Can’t wait.