By Randy Renner
Second nights of a back-to-back are generally problematic and that is at least part of the explanation for the Thunder losing to the Spurs last night.
Of course the Spurs also were playing on the second night of a back-to-back too and appeared to have boundless energy.
So the real reason comes back to something we've talked about before in this space, something in fact I wrote about just yesterday, the Thunder have a problem on defense...they're not playing any.
Thunder superstar point guard Russell Westbrook took things a step further when he spoke briefly with reporters after OKC's embarrassing 130-91 blowout loss to the Spurs.
"They just played harder than us," he said. "We just weren't ready to play. Simple as that."
Not ready to play on either end of the floor apparently.
The defense was worse than it's been lately and lately it's been pretty bad. And last night the offense couldn't make up the difference.
"They wanted it more, they played with a sense a of urgency and we didn't," Westbrook said.
Why the Thunder didn't come out with a sense of urgency is a mystery seeing as the three game lead in the loss column they have over New Orleans and Phoenix could evaporate over the coming days. They're lucky both the Pelicans and Suns lost last night or the lead would already be down to just two games.
The Spurs did about whatever they wanted to the Thunder, they scored a shocking 71 points in the first half and shot a ridiculous 58.0 percent for the game. From out beyond the arc the Spurs hit an even more ridiculous 61.9 percent (13-for-21).
The Thunder offense, which has been humming along for the last couple of months, sputtered badly in San Antonio generating just 91 points on 40.0 percent shooting. Westbrook and Enes Kanter each had 16 points, about 10 under their recent averages.
And to add injury to the insult of a blowout loss Steven Adams was hurt again. He fell hard on his right elbow during a battle for a rebound. Adams had to leave the game and did not return. Coach Scott Brooks wouldn't say last night how bad the injury is, only that "We'll know more (Thursday)."
As we all know another injury to a key player is the last thing the team needs right now...the first thing it needs is to collectively fix what's wrong with the defense.