By Addam Francisco
Oklahoma City faced the Chicago Bulls on this Christmas day and even with an electric crowd they couldn't get it done as they lost to the now (16-11) Bulls, 105-96. There were a couple problems today for the Thunder but the biggest obstacle they couldn't cross that was shooting percentage.
It's always a bad sign for the Thunder when the bench, (other than Enes Kanter) scores only 16 points off the bench. Usually when OKC plays a playoff-contending team they need players like Dion Waiters, and Enes Kanter at least, to score in double figures. Today, that wasn't the case at all. Dion shot poorly, just 1-of-6 from the field for 2 points and Kanter was pretty reliable today with 14 points and 13 rebounds, with all of his points coming off 7 offensive rebounds. There are games like these that justifies his 4-year $70 million contract, but it's something that needs to be done on a consistent basis.
Shooting percentage was a deplorable 38.5 percent, 3-point shooting was 25 percent and a team that shoots free throws at a high rate on the average night shot only 69.9 percent today. Despite Russell's 26 points and 8 assists, he shot 9-of-23 overall and missed 6 free throws, which certainly didn't help the teams shooting percentage one bit.
The shining star today (if there has to be one) was Kevin Durant, scoring 29 points off 52.3 shooting. Ignoring the fact that he shot 1-of-6 from 3-point.
It just appeared like the team didn't have their head on straight today. It seemed like they were looking forward to family festivities that take place on this wonderful holiday. On a good note though, all this game did was add a loss onto their record to make them now (20-10) on the season. They are still three and a half games into third place in the Western Conference and have the fourth best record in the NBA, behind the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs. Therefore there are no reasons to start freaking out.
Oklahoma City will play their next game against the Denver Nuggets in Oklahoma City on Sunday Dec. 27 at 6p.m.