By Addam Francisco
Well... I'm not sure what happened Wednesday night in Los Angeles but the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead and lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 103-98 which is Oklahoma City's third loss in five games. If the Golden State game wasn't debilitating enough, this one was.
It wasn't all bad though, Oklahoma City started off great! Showing many positive signs against the fourth best team in the Western Conference. At the end of the first the Thunder were up 37-24 and at halftime they were up 20 points, 58-38. This looked like one of those games that we would get to see the entire bench play, hopefully resting Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for their meeting against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. After three quarters everything seemed the same, Oklahoma City was still up big but at about the 7:30 mark, things went south for the Thunder...quickly. The offense seemed to be stagnant again, not much movement without the ball, the second team wasn't doing too much except watching Russell do what he does, and the turnovers got ridiculous. The Clippers went on a 26-5 run in the final 7:11...yes, the second best scoring team in the NBA was held to 2 points for seven minutes of the game. Also, during that final 7:11, OKC shot 1-of-13 (7 percent) from the field and had 5 turnovers. Meanwhile, L.A. scored 26 points, shot 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from the field and had 0 turnovers.
This is the type of play that is scary if your an Oklahoma City Thunder fan. It's like they play well EITHER at the beginning of the game or at the end. There's only been a few times this season where Oklahoma City played a great game all 48 minutes. In order for this team to be a serious contender, they are obviously going to have to win these types of games when they are up by 20 points.
However, statistically speaking OKC players had a decent game (until the end, which hurt their final shooting percentages). Kevin Durant had 30 points, and 11 rebounds, Russell started off red hot but cooled down, finishing with 24 points, 12 assists and 5 turnovers, shooting just 8-of-21. Serge Ibaka had a great first half, scoring 11 points, and collecting 11 rebounds but finished the game, with 11 points and 11 rebounds as well. The rebounding in the first half, both offensively and defensively played a huge role in this teams success and that's something else that fell off in the second half.
After yet another tough loss things don't get easier for Oklahoma City where they return to Golden State for another showdown. Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala are questionable to play due to little nagging injuries. So if they are out, Oklahoma City needs to take advantage of that and get a win, especially considering the outcome of the last meeting.