Lost In The Wilderness
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The Thunder haven’t won a game since Halloween and they’ve been on a scary trip ever since. A 4-game losing streak, something the Thunder haven’t seen many of since the first season in OKC, will tend to make you lose your way.
Last night in Denver was almost like watching the movie Groundhog Day, same thing over and over. Oklahoma City gets off to a solid start, (21-10 lead in the 1st quarter) things start to tilt in the 2nd quarter, then a rally early in the 2nd half and then in crunch time everything collapses.
Along the way there are disturbing signs. Against the Nuggets the Thunder gave up a whopping 54 points in the paint, 19 second chance points and 19 fast break points.
As shocking as Russell Westbrook missing all three of his free throws was that he only took three free throws. Last season Westbrook averaged more than 10 a game and is a career 82 percent shooter from the stripe.
Things were so bad the players and coach Billy Donovan tried to hash it all out in the lockerroom right after the game.
Instead of opening 10 minutes after the final buzzer as is the league custom, it was more like 35 to 40 minutes.
“Every season you go through adversity. Right now we’re going through ours,” Westbrook said.
None of the players got into specifics of what was discussed but The Oklahoman’s Brett Dawson quoted Raymond Felton as saying “I don’t think it’s frustration among ourselves,” guard Raymond Felton said. “It’s just frustration about losing. We got a lot of guys who hate to lose, a lot of guys who are big competitors. That’s a good spirit to have. I’ll take that all day. If we’re not frustrated, then that’s a big problem.”
Paul George put the onus on the players, “The first quarter is a blowout and it looks like we’re gonna handle a team. And then they make that adjustment and we don’t match the adjustment. And I think it’s on us. It’s not the coaching, it’s on us.”
Maybe something will break their way tonight at The Peake against the equally lost LA Clippers.
The Clips won their first four games of the season and have now lost five of their last six. They’ve also lost guard Patrick Beverley for a couple of games because of a sore knee. Austin Rivers is hurt also and won’t play tonight either.
The Thunder have their own injury issues to worry about since Steven Adams left last night’s game with a bruised calf and didn’t return to action.
The Thunder are not having shootaround today since they’re in the middle of a back-to-back so we won’t know whether he’ll play tonight until just before tipoff.
Remember tonight’s game is set for an 8pm start, an hour later than normal.