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Ok, LOOK. I’m going to give it to y’all straight because I’ve had a lot of wine and that might be one of the worst-played Thunder basketball games I’ve ever seen. You can’t blame it on Dort being out. You can’t blame it on the refs. You can’t blame it on Donovan starting Ferguson.
You don’t think that the #1 thing Donovan stressed in practice was don’t foul Harden on 3s? But what happened the very first play of the game and 5 times after that? I’m almost certain that the second most-stressed coaching point was don’t leave PJ Tucker open in the corner, YET that happened at least 10 times.
What happened to our leaders Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (9 pts, 2-8 FG) and Chris Paul (20 pts, 7-14 FG)? Nowhere to be found until Chris Paul decided to show up with 6 minutes left in the game. Outside of Adams (17 pts, 12 reb) and Gallo (29 points, 9-17 FG), the Thunder’s best player was Bazley (9 pts, 3-4 3PT, 9 reb) off the bench. I think what happened is the Thunder tried to drastically change their play style to maximize some kind of advantage over the Rockets, but it absolutely did not work.
Even the most seasoned Thunder players looked absolutely lost on both ends of the ball and the result was a mostly stagnant Thunder team. Every once in a while, the offense would pick up but it didn’t even matter because the whole team was playing defense like it was All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.
If you want to glean any type of positive from this game it’s that Steven Adams IS effective against the Rockets. He could pretty much get any rebound he wanted and dominated with his back to the basket BUT the Thunder didn’t utilize him nearly enough. That’s one big change the Thunder could make going forward.
At the end of the day, this loss does not define the Thunder. Every single player would tell you that this is not the way the Thunder play and they messed up BIG tonight. I’m far from counting the Thunder out. It’s only Game 1. There’s still a lot of game to play, but the Thunder have to learn from this disastrous outing. I guess you could say, I’m not mad… I’m just disappointed. End rant.
Oh wait, one more thing: Jeff Green… you really didn’t have to do us like that.