Oklahoma City’s Season Comes To An End In Heartbreaking Fashion

The season was on the line yet again tonight, and the Thunder certainly played like it. Although they fell short, they stayed competitive and fought till the end. We aren’t here to give moral victories, but the effort shown tonight was far greater than any game this series. Perhaps if the Thunder played at this level all series they would be heading to the second round as we speak.

Utah continued their hot streak from beyond the arc with a three pointer to get things going. This wasn’t the only one that the Jazz would end up hitting early in the game. In a quarter where scoring was hard to come by, the Thunder outlasted the early three pointers from the Jazz. Oklahoma City made Utah uncomfortable by forcing them to drive rather than taking looks from outside. On the other side of things, the Thunder’s offense looked stagnant just like previous games. The only difference is shots were actually falling late in the quarter.

The Thunder lost that offensive success to start the second quarter. However, they started to get under the skin of Utah a bit, and the Jazz lost their composure. Utah was fouling left and right, and of course the home crowd didn’t like it. The officials were forced to look at two different fouls on Jae Crowder. Even though they were shaken up and lost composure, the Thunder never could take advantage. OKC shot 8-18 on the quarter and simply didn’t capitalize on the situation. After two slow pace quarters, the game was all tied up.

The Jazz came out in the third quarter firing on all cylinders. Specifically, Donovan Mitchell killed the Thunder. He recorded 20 points in the quarter. The Thunder needed to break the run for the Jazz, but they simply couldn’t. Every time the Thunder had an answer, the Jazz had an answer of their own. Russell Westbrook did everything he could to keep the team in the game. OKC was down by 8 after three quarters.

The Thunder closed the gap to start the fourth quarter, but the Jazz quickly responded. Every time the Thunder closed in, Utah was right there to push the lead back to double-digits. The offense for OKC went stagnant as they scored on only 1 of the first 10 possessions in the quarter. The Thunder were right there down to the wire after a hard fought final few minutes. The Thunder rallied back, but ultimately fell short after not being able to knock down the necessary shots.

3 Quick Thoughts 

  • Russell Westbrook Gave It His All. 

After having some of his worst playoff games of his career through the first four games, Russell Westbrook put on a show in the final two games. You can say what you want, but Westbrook carried this team in these last few games. The team wouldn’t have made the huge comeback on Wednesday night without him, and they wouldn’t have been in a position to win tonight without him. One thing is for sure about Russ, he’s going to give it his all. He fought the end and never gave up. He made Oklahoma City proud.

  • OKC Lacked Consistency On Defense. 

Without the best defender on this team in Andre Roberson, the Thunder struggled to find an identity on defense throughout the season. They managed to get by in the regular season, but it was a huge key in the playoffs. Oklahoma City played decent on offense all series long. It was the lack of a lock down defender that hurt the Thunder. Specifically tonight when Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points in the third quarter. Without anyone to lock him down, he was able to do whatever he wanted to and the Thunder simply had no answer.

  • Time To Rebuild. 

Hear me out, I don’t mean “Time To Rebuild” as in break the team apart and start over. What I mean is this team has to rebuild within and come out a completely different team next season. The experiment didn’t work, and it’s time to try something different. You’ve got to keep the same ingredients but you also got to use them differently.

The “iso” offense didn’t work this season. Perhaps this team should come out next year looking to move the ball around. With the star power this team has, finding guys open looks is bound to happen. However, this year everyone stood in one spot and looked to create their own shot. At the end of the day, it’s not the players that didn’t workout, it’s the execution that wasn’t there.

A New Season Ahead

Thanks for following along with us this year. It’s been a year of ups and downs and you guys have stayed with us. Whatever next season brings, the Thunder Guys look forward to bringing you all the information you need.

We will also have exit interview and all post season coverage right here for you guys within the next few days. Thanks again for your support.

Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram. 

Leave a Reply