The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered a tough loss tonight on their road trip to Mexico City. There seemed to be a little more hype around this matchup against Brooklyn simply because it was in Mexico City. However, the Thunder didn’t quite live up to that hype. They came out a bit too relaxed and moved at an extremely slow pace on offense. The result ended in a 100-95 loss to a team that doesn’t have the same level of talent as Oklahoma City.
To start the first quarter the Thunder seemed to be moving at a slow pace. They held the lead throughout the entire quarter, but they just weren’t moving with any type of urgency. Russell Westbrook seemed to be the only guy who could score consistently. Other guys were pitching in here and there, which allowed Russ to take quality and efficient looks at the rim.
Billy Donovan experimented with several new lineups, perhaps to try and get a little spark from this team. The first quarter was arguably the best one for this team as eight different guys got on the scoreboard. Guys like Kyle Singler, and Patrick Patterson were stepping up and knocking down big time shots. Andre Roberson was even getting involved offensively and threw down a monster dunk.
Heading into the second quarter the crazy lineups continued, and it was actually working pretty well. It was huge for these guys to step up because Carmelo Anthony was struggling to score. Without Paul George not in the lineup, Oklahoma City needed to rely on Melo for points. However, it seemed like Melo was doing more bad than he was good. Despite the struggle for a few key guys to score, Oklahoma City still shot 50% from the field in the first half. The team held a nine point lead heading into the second half.
The Thunder started off slow in the second half. This time, it wasn’t their pace, it was their overall performance that was so slow. The second half slumps are clearly still a struggle for this Thunder team. There was little to no ball movement, and Russell Westbrook was no longer able to knock down the shots that he had been hitting. Oklahoma City lost the lead for a little bit, but that was before Raymond Felton came in and scored 7 points during his few minutes before the quarter ended. This allowed the Thunder to hold a small lead heading into the final twelve minutes of the game.
As this team is becoming accustomed to, the struggles got even worse during the fourth and final quarter. Scoring seemed nearly impossible for this Thunder team, and the effort simply wasn’t there on the defensive end. The lack of scoring was most likely due to the lack of ball movement on offense. However, there is no excuse for the poor effort on rebounding and on defense. When you consider that the Thunder dropped from 50% shooting at halftime to 39% at the end of the game, it’s no surprise they came up short tonight.
3 Quick Thoughts
- Melo Looked Old Tonight
It could’ve been the altitude that slowed him down a little, but Carmelo Anthony looked really old tonight. He was getting blocked at the rim, moving very slow, and getting out jumped on a regular basis. Whether it is his age, or his effort, something has got to give. Oklahoma City relies too much on Melo for him to continue to have performances like this.
- Thunder Lacked Effort on Defense
Now that this team had figured some things out offensively over the last three games, it seemed like the Thunder took some plays off on defense. This team is still not good enough offensively to be lazy on defense. Brooklyn out hustled OKC on many occasions. It is always tough to see a team lose because they were out hustled. That seemed to be the case tonight for the Thunder.
- The Offensive Problems Continue
Just when we started to think this Thunder team had figured it out a bit on offense, the terrible second half drop off happened again. The Thunder were scoring at an efficient rate during the first half, but couldn’t get anything to fall in the second. This team relies too much on isolation basketball when they need a basket. The Thunder would be better of using ball movement and running an offense to find a high quality shot when in need of some points.
Back to the States
The Oklahoma City Thunder will be flying back to the United States tonight and will be in Memphis Tennessee on Saturday to take on the Grizzlies. The game will tip-off at 8:00 PM CST and will be televised on NBA TV and FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM. This will be a great opportunity for OKC to get another win over a western conference team.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.