By Addam Francisco
Wednesday night featured yet another close game due to Oklahoma City's lack of defense against sub-par teams. Luckily, for the second straight night they were able to edge out the opposing team by a few points. They played the young Minnesota Timberwolves for the third time in 15 days and got the win 126-123.
This is a solid victory for Oklahoma City considering it's their third game in four days and the second half of a back to back, the only bad thing about this three game road trip is the fact that they averaged giving up 120.3 points per game to the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, and Minnesota... Those three teams combined record is (48-92). Although, this team doesn't deserve to be over-criticized like a lot of local analysts are doing, this is something that has to change and it more than likely will.
Notice a trend during this recent defensive let down? In all three games OKC was missing their two defensive guys that don't get enough credit, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Tonight, Zack Levine scored 35 points, off 14-of-17 shooting. Oklahoma City made a player that averages 12 points per game look like a Western Conference All-Star. The obvious solution for that is Andre Roberson. There isn't a guard on this team that plays above average defense other than Roberson. Giving up 120 points per game won't cut it if this team wants to compete for a possible championship.
Offense is not problem though, the past three games have been offensive showdowns, as OKC also averaged 120 points. Against Minnesota, the three headed monster of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Enes Kanter has been in full effect, combining for 74 points. Durant had 27 points and 9 rebounds off 50 percent shooting, Russell scored 24 points, 15 assists and 8 rebounds to complete his 31st double-double of the season, and Enes scored 23 points and collected 10 rebounds in his first double-double since Christmas.
Oklahoma City will finally head back to the 405 tonight to get ready for the always anticipated battle against James Harden and the (25-23) Houston Rockets. Roberson won't play yet again due to the sprained knee, so expect for another offensive showcase by both teams.. Or maybe, just maybe, someone will step up and play some defense.