By Addam Francisco
In what could be a preview of the NBA finals, Oklahoma City goes to visit Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for a shootout of the best. This game didn't disappoint either, even if you are a Thunder fan you'd enjoy what took place tonight... Although Cleveland snapped OKC's 6-game winning streak 104-100 in a game that featured multiple streaks.
This was a bit of a vintage game for Oklahoma City, taking fans back to the old days. Why? Well "the big three" for OKC all had 20-plus points in the same game for the first time in what seems like forever. Russell Westbrook had another double-double with 27 points and 10 assists off 10-of-18 shooting, Kevin Durant had 25 points along with draining 9-of-10 free throws, and Serge Ibaka scored 23 points, collected 9 rebounds and drained two 3-pointers. When you see that three players for the Thunder combined for 75 points, you think win, right?
No... When the bench that normally produces at least one or two double-digit scorers only produces 25 points you'll see why they lost. Can't have that poor of a bench performance from your team when your playing the second best team in the league if you expect to win. Dion Waiters is typically the guy that OKC looks to for big plays off the bench, but it appeared like he may have been rattled in his return to Cleveland. Scoring only 4 points off 1-of-7 shooting. This really just wasn't the game for Dion to have an off-game with Anthony Morrow out of action due to personal issues. D.J. Augustin could have done better as Russell's backup too, scoring only one basket and shot 1-of-5 from the floor with 3 assists.
The biggest problem in this game and the determining factor in the end was unfortunately Kyle Singler, who played 17 minutes, didn't take one shot, not even a free throw, had 2 rebounds (that fell in his hands), and had two steals that he didn't even create. Not to mention his +/- was 0. From all indications, he wasn't effective at all, and that reflected not only in the stats but in the game. It seemed like a 5-on-4 pickup game when he was on the court. Andre Roberson had a total of 21 minutes, and didn't play late in the game when he should have been in the game.Head coach Billy Donovan would have taken seven of Singler's minutes and gave them to Roberson late in the game. That was the most obvious reason for the loss right there.
Enes Kanter showed a lot of promise as a mid-range shooter as he has a lot here recently. Shooting 2-of-4 from the field, both of those shots being from 15 feet out. It would be nice to see him shoot at least three of those a game. There's an easy 6 points, with a guaranteed bucket of two from the paint off an offensive rebound or even a few free throw line visits.
Hopefully Oklahoma City won't have much of a challenge back at home Saturday against Kobe Bryant and the (4-21) Los Angeles Lakers in an early 4 p.m. tipoff. The Thunder drop to (17-8) on the season after this loss against the Cavs.