The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered another loss tonight to the Dallas Mavericks. On paper, Oklahoma City appears to be the far better team. However, the results on the court tonight did not agree with that. The Mavericks came out with all kinds of energy. They certainly weren’t playing like they only had four wins on the season. On the other hand, the Thunder came out flat and seemed to be lacking effort.
Russell Westbrook was the only one who was able to get anything going on the offensive end in the first quarter. The reigning MVP recorded 16 points and 6 rebounds in the opening quarter. The negative side to Westbrook’s impressive start was that no one else could seem to get going. Despite struggling on offense, the Thunder only trailed by a single point.
Things only got worse during the second quarter. The Mavericks went on several runs including a massive 12-0 run that sucked the life out of this Thunder team. Dallas was able to cause rythym problems within the OKC offense, which allowed The Thunder to only score 37 points in the first half.
To start the second half the Mavericks had a 15 point advantage. The Thunder hopeful assumed that Oklahoma City would be able to cut into this lead. However, things only got worse. The Thunder spent more than half of this game trailing. The team looked to the deep ball to work their way back in, but only shot 11/33 from beyond the arc. Oklahoma City was never able to get anything going, which lead to a 97-81 victory for the Dallas Mavericks.
3 Quick Thoughts
- This Team Needs to Bring More Energy
Heading into this season it seemed like the Thunder would have enough talent on offense to carry them through games. This has been proven to be inaccurate. When the shots aren’t falling and the talent you have is failing, it all comes down to who brings the energy and effort. Oklahoma City has been far too complacent in many games this season. This team is not good enough to come out flat and expect to sneak out wins against lesser opponents. This team has to find a way to bring it night in and night out.
- This Offense Needs an Identity
Part of the problems on the offensive end of things is that they can’t figure out who they wanna be. Clearly, the isolation offense isn’t working. I’m not sure what needs to happen, but they’ve gotta figure it out.
Russell Westbrook is the best player on the roster, and he needs to play like it. The offense should run through Westbrook, much like it did against the Warriors. If Westbrook can take control of the offense, other guys can fall in place after that. However, until he does that everyone else is left wondering where they fit.
- Billy Donavan Should Be on the Hot Seat
I’m not jumping all the way on the fire Billy Donavan train, but his job certainly needs to be in jeopardy. It’s early, and I think he should get at least 30 games, but change needs to happen soon. It’s not just the bad losses, it’s the effort and morale of his team. Rallying your guys night in and night out is a huge part of coaching. Donavan seems to be struggling to find ways to motivate and control this team.
Much Needed Break for OKC
The Thunder will have a three day break before playing again on Wednesday. They will head to Orlando to face the Magic. The game will tip-off a little earlier than normal at 6:00 PM CST and will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM. Hopefully the time off will allow this team to regroup. Having several days of downtime and practice on your homecourt is always helpful.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.