By Addam Francisco
Tonight's game was a good one, the Oklahoma City Thunder got to visit the New Orleans Pelicans in a tough Western Conference game. This game wasn't much what anyone expected though, with the Pelicans struggling all year and the Thunder playing pretty well you'd expect a pretty demanding victory now wouldn't you? Well due to lack of defense (once again) this team falls short in a 123-119 loss.
What was the problem this game?
Defense and rotations. Defensively, there is no reason to give up 123 points to the fourth lowest scoring team in the league, but they did. Also, they didn't play rookie point guard Cameron Payne, as well as three point shooter Anthony Morrow. Not to mention, the teams only effective defender, Andre Roberson didn't get much, if any in the second half, playing only 21 minutes the entire game. Although this team isn't the best defensively even with Roberson playing, it's definitely an improvement when he's in the game. There's no good excuse for Norris Cole (who we almost aquired a year ago) scoring 21 points and Jrue Holiday to score 22. Oh yeah, Ryan Anderson scored 29 along with Anthony Davis scoring 30. That's 102 points alone, between those four guys. These types of performances make games against elite teams like the Golden State Warriors (who they play Saturday) seem un-winnable. If Oklahoma City can't find a way to stop these wing players from having the games of their lives every night, the playoffs will be nothing but a nightmare for us.
Offensively, this was our regular game or better yet, a pretty good game. Russell Westbrook had another great game scoring 44 points, along with 9 rebounds and Kevin Durant notched 32 points and 14 rebounds. Serge ibaka was the third and final player in double-figures tonight, scoring 15. Other than those three, no one else scored more than 8 points, and like I stated earlier, there were two guys on the bench who could have helped that, but didn't even get the chance to.
Another thing that people typically don't like to bring up was the coaching staff. Two of the coaches, Monty Williams, and Mo Cheeks weren't on the bench for understandable reasons, but that definitely plays a serious role in a teams progression. Especially when those two coaches are on the bench for specific reasons. Think about that.
As everyone knows, Oklahoma City plays the (52-5) Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Let's pray that this teams figures something out within this next day.