Thunder Embarrassed In New York
By Randy Renner
The way things turned out the Thunder are probably wishing their game in New York had been snowed out afterall.
In perhaps the most pathetic performance of the season (though there are other candidates) the Thunder lost to arguably the worst team in the NBA 100-92. This coming on the heels of the Thunder holding on at home to beat Minnesota on Monday night, another team that's arguably the worst in the league.
Last night the Knicks seemed to be the team playing for their playoff lives instead of their position in the draft lottery.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook scored 40 points but he didn't much help from anyone else in a blue uniform.
Westbrook took 30 shots to reach those 40 points and in the second half especially, some of those shots weren't the best. Jacking up threes early in the shot clock, but by then it was hard to blame Russ for any of this mess.
Perry Jones, filling in for Kevin Durant who sat out again with that sprained toe, missed all five of the shots he put up. At least he managed to grab five rebounds and hand out an assist which is better than starting shooting guard Andre Roberson managed to do. Roberson went oh-for-the-game. He didn't even take a shot, from the field or the free throw line. No rebounds, no assists. 0 points on 0-for-0 shooting, 0 rebounds, 0 assists.
He did block shot though, so there's that.
So the Thunder got a combined 0 points on 0-for-5 shooting, (0-for-0 at the free throw line) 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block from the guys who started at shooting guard and small forward.
Westbrook, by himself, scored two-and-a-half times as many points as the other starters combined.
Um, that's really not gonna win you very many games.
As to what the problems are and how they can be fixed? Well the problems are well known. Most of the guys on the team didn't play particularly well. A lot of bad decisions were made both on offense and defense.
No sense of urgency.
Yes there are still lots of games left a the Thunder are well within striking distance of Phoenix and maybe another team or too, but pretty soon this team has to start showing it can consistently play well enough to string together some wins.
We've seen how good they can be. Recent wins over Golden State and Washington were fine examples.
But as this snakebit season moves on those wins begin to look more and more like fool's gold.
This was a game the Thunder should have won, a game they needed to win but (except for Westbrook) they couldn't muster enough of anything to get the job done.
The loss was so bad Tony Durant (Kevin's brother) tweeted out "Changes need to be made, smh" For those of you not familiar with Twitter shorthand that last means shaking my head, which I imagine plenty of Thunder fans were doing last night.
Exactly what Tony D meant isn't clear, change the head coach? Change the GM? Change Reggie Jackson's address this season? Change brother Kevin's address after next season?
Who knows. Russell Westbrook's brother Ray tweeted a similar message during hard times several months ago.
Despite some questionable coaching decisions and in hindsight some questionable draft picks (Jones) and acquisitions (Jeremy Lamb) by Sam Presti, the Thunder's biggest problem this season is health.
Durant has been injured three times and we're not even to the All-Star Break. Westbrook has missed considerable time too and so have others.
Until this team can stay healthy consistently they're probably not going to be able to play with very much consistency.
Health doesn't offer any excuses for what happened last night, even without KD the Thunder should have had plenty to send the Knicks to their 39th loss rather then giving them their ninth win.
The fact that they didn't is maybe the biggest problem of all.