Oklahoma City’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday has to leave a sour taste in the mouth of the Thunder. After they asserted their will on the game in the first quarter, it appeared as if OKC tried to hit the cruise control button for the remainder of the game. Firmly in control, OKC held a lead as large as 18 with just under five minutes to go in the third quarter. Minnesota took advantage of lackadaisical effort from OKC to get the deficit to within three with just 41.1 seconds to go in the game. Kevin Durant scored the final 12 points for the Thunder, and that was enough for OKC to get out of Minnesota with a win.
The win counts, but the Thunder can’t feel too great about how their three-game road trip turned out and their general level of play as of late. They survived their matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, blew a late lead against the Portland Trail Blazers, and held off the Wolves Tuesday. Is the new norm for the Thunder or if they’re just dealing with the duldrums of an 82-game season? Whether it is slippage or complacency, there are negative trends popping up.