Thunder Will Have To Get Better From Within
Scott Brooks knows it. So do Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and to be sure so does rookie Steven Adams.
"I've just gotta make a play," he said, "make a catch, don't let the ball slip out."
Adams was a bit down on himself for not being able to catch a couple of passes thrown his way last night. But, like Brooks and Durant and Westbrook, Adams knows that real culprit was defense.
The lack of it.
"Just everything," he said, "straight up. Not everyone was on talking (on defense( including me, I didn't talk. Sometimes it was the help side "D" not being there fast enough, everything."
That group also knows the cavalry isn't riding in to rescue anyone, the Thunder will have to rely on themselves to get out of the defensive funk they've gotten themselves lost in.
Problems on that end of the floor had been creeping up even before Kendrick Perkins limped off the Chesapeake Energy Arena floor and onto the inactive list.
Lapses here and there, blown leads and once in a while, a game lost because the Thunder thought they'd already won it before the final buzzer sounded. In fact, that was exactly what happened last night too.
"I wouldn't say we had the game in control but we were defending pretty good (in the third quarter) and up 12 points and then we relaxed," Brooks said. "And when you relax in this league every player's good. Every player has the ability to make plays for their team."
Last night it was Cleveland All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving who took advantage, splashing 3 threes and scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Last night Brooks talked about his team needing to be tougher and to bring the intensity for an entire game, not just in spurts here and there.
He stuck with that message this afternoon when he talked to reporters after practice.
"We just have to get back to being focused for 48 minutes and locking in possession by possession," he said and then, like last night, he ticked off several areas that need some touch up work or an overhaul.
"We need to get better in all areas and the guys know it. They wanna get better in transition, they wanna get better at stopping the ball, they wanna get better in help (situations) they wanna get better at blocking out."
No one in the Thunder organization is pushing the panic button but everyone is feeling the frustration of a three game losing streak that feels much longer.
"You wanna win so bad, sometimes you think the world is over or something like that," admitted second year shooting guard Jeremy Lamb. "You just have to come back out, break a sweat and see the ball go in the rim. But we're gonna step it up."
The Thunder spent much of today's long practice session watching film. It was a horror movie called, "Last Night's Fourth Quarter," and it was a sequel to the surprise disappointment, "Sunday's First Three Quarters."
They're hoping and working toward making sure their next movie morning at the practice facility will feature a film with a happy ending.