The Thunder suffered a tough loss to the Houston Rockets tonight in Oklahoma City. Despite being a rivalry game, the Thunder came out with a lack of intensity. The Thunder simply couldn’t shoot well, and Houston was getting everything to fall from beyond the arc.
The first quarter got off to a very sloppy start. The Thunder didn’t score for the first two and half minutes, and the team had three turnovers in three minutes. The terrible offense put the Rockets in the lead early. Westbrook was shooting well, so you kind of felt like the Thunder would eventually take control of the quarter. However, the game was back and forth until the Rockets eventually led by two points at the end of the first quarter.
The Thunder got off to a hot start in the second quarter, but it wouldn’t amount to much. The team quickly started fading when the defense quit rotating. The Thunder gave up a bunch of easy baskets, and had no answer on offense. Carmelo Anthony was having a great night after receiving a day of rest, but it wasn’t enough to give the team the lead.
The Thunder quickly fell to a ten point deficit after halftime. However, they responded with an 8-0 run of their own. After earning their way back into the game, the Thunder again allowed too many easy buckets which gave the Rockets an 11 point lead. The Rockets ended the quarter on a 17-5 run.
Houston simply played the better game, and not much changed in the fourth quarter. The Thunder were clearly frustrated, which didn’t translate well on the offensive end. Oklahoma City finally came up with stops, but the offense wasn’t there. Houston ran away with the 122-112 win.
- Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.
The Thunder started the game with three turnovers in the first three minutes. While it didn’t determine the game overall, it certainly didn’t get this team off to a hot start. The Thunder finished the game with 20 turnovers, which is 6 above the season average. It’s hard to beat the best team in the league when you play terrible.
- Effort Needs Improvement.
At certain times, it looked like the Thunder didn’t care whether or not Houston scored. It looked as if players cleared the lane allowing Rockets players to get to the basket. That kind of effort is not acceptable. This team is not playing well enough on offense to allow easy buckets on defense. Once this team learns to play to their level for all four quarters, they will be playing at their peake.
- The Thunder Must Keep Looking Forward.
Despite their recent struggles, this team must keep pressing forward. Sure, they’ve won four out of their last seven, but they haven’t played well at all. It’s too late in the season to worry about losses. All that matters at this point is keeping that playoff spot. If this team looks back, they could easily miss the playoffs. However, this team could end on a major winning streak and earn their way to a top seed if they press forward.
Easy One at Home
The Thunder will be back in action again on Thursday night as they take on the Phoenix Suns at home in the Peake. The game will take place at 7:00 PM and will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
This game will be a great opportunity for the Thunder to gain some momentum heading into the final games of the season. A win against Phoenix will put them back into a position to where they could earn a top seed in the Western Conference. Although the Thunder have far more talent than the Suns, the previous matchups this season have been really close.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.