Well Swaggy P just ruined my night.
Nick Young hit a clutch three-pointer putting the Lakers up two, but left plenty of time on the shot clock for the Thunder to either tie or win the game. Too bad the final possession was a mess for OKC. Or rather for Russell Westbrook specifically. Russ hit four three-pointers in the fourth, which was absurd and fun at the time, but that last shot was completely unnecessary.
Russ scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and had scored 15 straight points late in the game. Though that’s very impressive, the Thunder can’t expect to win games playing 1 on 5. Look at the Lakers from last year and compare them to this year. Playing team basketball for 48 minutes works. Then again, not having Byron Scott as your head coach also works.
The Thunder roster has a lot of one-sided players that were intended to fit alongside two superstars. I won’t go down that rabbit hole, but that’s not the reason the Thunder lost tonight. The Thunder roster is far from perfectly tooled, but Russ has to make his teammates better in late game situations if the Thunder are going to have any sustained success this season. The Thunder didn’t play to their strengths tonight, but instead lost in a late game of trading baskets.
The Thunder can’t settle for outside looks when outside shots aren’t falling, they just don’t have that luxury. They lack the personnel to do that. The Thunder are currently leading the league in points in the paint per game, but it’s predictable for teams to crowd the paint and give Russ or whomever room to shoot. In the third quarter, Sabonis got back to back assists from Adams in the post. Big to big passing, it’s a beautiful thing. The Thunder have some good passers, but it’s too bad the Thunder rank last in the league at passes per game. OKC isn’t good enough at shooting to give them enough space to play to all their strengths. That’s the issue. Keep Reading…