The Thunder got off to a hot start tonight in Sacramento leading 18-5 at one point in the first quarter. The team was able to come up with several steals, including a few from Steven Adams. Adams also got the game going with six straight points on the offensive end.
Oklahoma City was able to knock down some shots from the outside as well as easy dunks which gave them a comfortable lead heading into the second quarter. The defense for the Thunder was the biggest factor in them having a 25-10 lead after the first.
The second quarter was one to forget for OKC as they completely folded on the offensive side of the ball. The fifteen point lead quickly depleted after the team failed to find any sort of rhythm on the offensive side of things. The main issue was the Kings bench as they outscored OKC’s 29-2. Although the Thunder outscored the Kings 20-10 in the paint, they still trailed 42-41 at halftime.
Oklahoma City came out in the second half looking to get back on top of the scoreboard. However, things only got worse for the Thunder. Poor offensive sets led to more turnovers including three shot clock violations during the quarter. The poor effort on the offensive end led to the Thunder trailing by 10 at the end of three quarters.
The Thunder didn’t start off the fourth quarter with any sense of urgency. It seemed as if there was no effort, especially when it comes to loose balls. However, the team hung around do to their great play on defense. In the middle of all the chaos of this up and down game, Paul George did manage to tie a Thunder record with 6 games in a row with at least 3 threes. This effort allowed OKC to hang in the game until the very end.
In the end, Oklahoma City was not able to come out on top. The Thunder held the Kings to 3 points below their season average, yet they couldn’t come up with the offense needed to win the game. Somehow, a team with all this fire power can’t score enough points to win games. The Kings earned their second win of the season with a 94-86 victory over the Thunder.
3 Quick Thoughts
- Officials Need to Figure Things Out! Everyone knows about the Melo ejection a couple nights ago, but another horrible flagrant foul call was made tonight on Russell Westbrook. Fortunately, this time it was only a flagrant 1 and not a flagrant 2. This means Russell Westbrook was able to remain in the game. Westbrook went up for a jumpshot and hit the defender in the face on his follow through on the way down. Russ was not given room to land, which ultimately led to him hitting the defender. In what world is a guy shooting the ball worthy of a flagrant foul? I’m not sure what’s going on with NBA officiating this season, but things certainly aren’t going on the favor of Oklahoma City.
- Defense is Not the Issue: The Thunder has been phenomenal on the defensive side of the ball through 10 games. This team has held opponents under their season average in a majority of their losses. Steven Adams has been a huge helping hand when it comes to picking up steals. His awareness on the court has improved tremendously. Combining that with the perimeter defense of Paul George and Andre Roberson, this Thunder defense is stout!
- Offense Needs Improvement: If you would’ve told me that the biggest problem for this new Thunder team was going to be scoring points, I would’ve called you crazy. The Thunder’s defense played well throughout the entire game, but there were simply no points to follow that up. Im not sure if it’s a rotation problem on the coaching side, but this offense can’t get into a rhythm. The Thunder’s offense will get into a rhythm in one quarter, and then completely stall out in the next. It certainly doesn’t help that OKC’s Big 3 shot a combined 15-54 from the field. These guys can be deadly shooting the deep ball, but they can also shoot themselves out of the game. I thought this team took way too many looks from beyond the arc tonight. When the shots aren’t falling, you’ve got to find different ways to score.
Two games into a three-game road trip, and the Thunder is 0-2. Oklahoma City heads to Denver for a matchup with the Nuggets on Thursday. The Thunder is 0-4 against division foes and 0-5 in conference play, so a win in Denver would be nice. Tip-off is at 9:30 PM CT and will be televised on TNT and FSOK. The game will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM the Sports Animal.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.