The Thunder started off this afternoon dominating the paint against the Hornets. At one point, the Thunder held a 10-0 advantage inside. That quickly changed as Charlotte went on a run and took the lead. Things started to change when the second unit came in for Oklahoma City. The reserves took way too many looks from outside, and defended poorly on the other end of the floor. The Hornets held the advantage over the Thunder for a majority of the first half, as Oklahoma City couldn’t seem to get any shots to fall.
The second half was certainly one to forget for Thunder fans. Oklahoma City continued to struggle from the floor, and took five minutes to score their first points in the half. Russell Westbrook was the only one who could get anything going. At one point, he had all 13 points scored for the Thunder. By the end of the quarter, the Thunder had themselves in a pretty deep hole. The team made a little comeback late in the fourth, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to come out with the win.
Despite the tough loss, there were some positive takeaways from this game. One of them being the performance from Jerami Grant. Grant managed to finish with a +30 the other night without scoring a single point. This afternoon, he played just as well, if not better.
Grant recorded 8 points on 3-3 shooting, and added 3 rebounds and a monster block to that. Not only was he perfect from the floor, but two of his three shots were from beyond the arc. When you take these stats and add his defensive presence, it’s no doubt that Jerami Grant can be a huge asset to this team.
When it comes to the bad, there’s really no good place to start. As expected, there is always more bad than good in a loss. Many different things went wrong for Oklahoma City today, but most notably was the amount of turnovers. The Thunder finished the game with 24 turnovers, which lead to way too many points for Charlotte. If you take away the points off of turnovers, the late fourth quarter rally is probably enough to get a win out of this game.
The team as a whole seemed to lack energy throughout this game. It’s almost like as of late the team waits until the fourth quarter to kick up the energy. I’ve said it before, but this team could be great if they can put together a complete game. Somewhere between the second and third quarter this team crumbles. When the shots aren’t falling for the Thunder, the energy is sucked out of the team. Oklahoma City has to find a way to weather the storm and keep the intensity throughout all four quarters.
After getting another triple-double this afternoon against Charlotte, Russell Westbrook has now recorded one against every team in the NBA besides the Chicago Bulls. This is now the sixth straight triple-double for Westbrook. This one puts him only one behind the current record holder Oscar Robertson. He finished the game with 43 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. I think it’s safe to say that Russ will not only average a triple-double this season, but he will also pass Robertson for that record. It is completely incredible that these type of performances are the standard now. If you ask Russ, I’m sure he would’ve taken the win over getting this achievement today.
The Thunder will be back in action again on Tuesday night as they take on the tallest team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. The game will take place in Oklahoma City, and it will start at 7:00 PM CST. It will be televised on FSOK, and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM. The young legs of the Bucks will be a tough test for the Thunder, and a great comparison to see where the team matches up against the Eastern Conference.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.