I know this just counts as one, but I think we should petition the NBA to give Oklahoma City three losses for this game. Because it was that bad.
Seriously, it was a complete disaster. Turnovers: 24 (a season-high). Missed free throws: eight. Field goal percentage: 41.2 percent. Games in five nights for the Grizzlies: four. Minutes for Memphis’ best player, Rudy Gay: zero. Points for Tony Freaking Allen: 27. Good shots at the buzzer for the Thunder in a tie game: zero.
I feel like I could write this whole things with stats like that.
Early on, it looked like the Thunder was going to take care of business the way they should. They held a pretty good 10-point cushion throughout the first half. But the Grizzlies outscored OKC 30-17 in the third quarter, mainly because they went 13-14 from the free throw line to the Thunder’s 0-0.
The Thunder never executed well in the fourth quarter, but found themselves with the ball and a chance to win with the game tied at 95-95 with 21 seconds left. And I think we all knew what would happen. A bad shot at the buzzer was coming and there was nothing we could do about it.
Seriously, why is it so hard for OKC to run a decent set and get their best player an OK shot at the buzzer? Twenty-nine other teams can do it. The play was for Russell Westbrook to dribble out the clock until about eight seconds and then Nenad Krstic was setting a pick to free Kevin Durant from Tony Allen. Except the pick was horrible and Westbrook couldn’t get him the ball. That’s the problem though, it was just a simple screen by Krstic, who is a bad screener, to free KD. You’ve got to do better than that at the end of a game in getting the ball to your best player. Scott Brooks deserves blame for running a one screen play with no good second option. But the players also deserve a bunch for not executing at all. When things go wrong like that, everyone screwed up.
It almost looked like the Thunder thought all they had to do was show up to win this game. They defended really well in the first half, but then stopped moving their feet and helping in the third quarter. They made stupid passes, handled the ball sloppily and didn’t take good shots. The starters were all negatives, with Memphis’s starters all double-digit pluses (except for Mike Conley who was a +9). Even if the Thunder had won, it was going to be a terrible, terrible win. But let this be a lesson to us all: Winning these type of games sure feels a lot better than losing. We’ve seen a good amount of ugly wins this year and complained about them, but man, what I’d give to have one more point than the Grizzlies right now.
- Oklahoma City is now 5-1 in overtime games. The Thunder went just 2-9 in the extra five minutes, only getting Durant one look, which he made.
- The Thunder killed Memphis on the glass 58-36. Look at that. 58-36! And they lost! Are you kidding me?
- More rebounding: OKC had 18 offensive boards to Memphis’ six. No way the Thunder should lose this game with a stat like that.
- Westbrook: eight turnovers. He did have 21 points and 11 rebounds too though.
- Jeff Green: 2-12, seven points, seven rebounds, four turnovers. Let’s move on.
- Actually, hang on because I know everyone will be pointing at that. Yeah, Green stunk tonight. But keep in mind he just played two GREAT offensive games. So he couldn’t make a shot in this one. But I don’t really think he was taking bad ones or anything. He was 1-3 from 3, with one being a heave at the end of the shot clock. And you know what, I actually think he did a better job on Zach Randolph than Serge Ibaka. Green fought Randolph. He battled to front him and Randolph didn’t really get many touches with Green on him. I don’t know if Green could’ve kept that up for the entire game which is why Brooks went with Collison and Ibaka on Randolph in the second half, but still, he worked hard on him.
- Oh, but one moment that made me want to kick a small animal with Jeff Green. With 6:20 left in the fourth, Randolph beat Ibaka and put a shot up in the lane that hit long on the iron. Ibaka was too far under the rim because Randolph backed him there, but Green seriously just stood and watched as Randolph pulled in an offensive rebound. This is the No. 1 thing that drives me nuts with Green. He just does not attack the glass for some reason. How many rebounds can you think of where Green went way up and pulled it in? Everything he gets is because it bounced to him. Why doesn’t he ever go get the ball?
- Westbrook was pretty key in getting the Thunder back in position to win in regulation. But in a big possession with the game tied 92-92, Westbrook brought the ball up, didn’t pass once and took a long, contested 2-pointer. It’s what you live with, with Westbrook. It was a pretty bad shot, but then again, he’s prone to make those. So it’s forgivable.
- The Grizzlies defend. Give them credit for that. Tony Allen was a menace on KD. The Thunder couldn’t get anything going to the rim or in the paint. They worked on the Thunder.
- James Harden was pretty good at creating offense for OKC. He had 13 points, went 2-3 from 3 and took five free throws. Except he only played 23 minutes. I don’t get it. The Thunder went big for the most part with Westbrook, Durant, Green, Ibaka and Collison, but I really think you have to put Harden on the floor. So take Green out, slide KD back to small forward and give Harden minutes. On a night Green is 2-12, let the offensive player have some time.
- Serge Ibaka had 14 rebounds and three blocks in 32 minutes. But two big plays he dropped easy points. Those two baskets would’ve been big in the end.
- Durant had a mediocre good game. He went 12-25 from the floor, scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but it didn’t feel like he played that great.
- OKC, 34 fouls. Memphis, 24.
- The Thunder went 7-19 from 3. That’s pretty good. Coming off the 13-21 game, maybe OKC is turning it up a bit from deep. That would be nice.
- A new little game we’re going to play from now on: Did Brian Davis really say that? Tonight’s entry: “Ooooh, ahhh, oooh-ooooh, ahhhhhhh. Ooooooooooooooooh.”
The real shame here is that the Thunder blew an opportunity for a good winning streak heading into the All-Star break. With Sacramento, Golden State and Sacramento again ahead, OKC easily could’ve had seven straight in its pocket. You don’t get games like this back where you had every opportunity to beat a team without its best player and on the fourth in five nights. But the Thunder blew this one. We’ll forget about it soon enough, but for at least four days until the Thunder plays again, we’ll definitely be thinking about this one.
Next up: At Sacramento Saturday.