I don’t mean to go all Over-analyzing Sportswriter (also known as Jay Mariotti Syndrome) on you here, but I couldn’t help but wonder something as I reflected on four excruciating losses by grand total of five points: Could it be a good thing in the long run?
Now I know how stupid that is. Normally I’m the guy cursing the sky and yelling at an inanimate object when some writer tries to get Inside The Game and crawl into a player’s psyche. Of COURSE it’s not a good thing that OKC lost those four games. That’s just silly. Had they won all four of them, they’d be 28-16 and fourth in the West. Heck, had they won just two (which is entirely reasonable) the Thunder would sit at 26-18 and fifth in the West. So obviously we all would rather have had the wins and forsaken any potential learning scenarios to garner there.
But since I’m trying to find the sunny side in these four defeats, I’ll look at it this way: If a lot of a young team’s maturation process happens in tough losses where you have to look in the mirror and figure out what went wrong instead of right, then Oklahoma City got a season’s worth in these last two weeks. Yeah, it’s not a playoff loss in a seven game series. You really learn there and really feel the heartache and anguish of defeat.
But this team was in four games against quality opponents where it came down to a final possession. One stop here. One bucket there. Execute properly on an inbounds play. Whatever it is, there are things to take from the games. I worry that this string of heartbreakers may come back to bite the Thunder in April when they’re trying to make that playoff push, but still, the experience of having to look back on four tough losses may be almost equally valuable. (I said ALMOST, alright?) Keep Reading…