Continuing the trend of poor defensive efforts, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost 116-102 to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night in a game where OKC struggled to get stops and make shots at the same time. The loss is the Thunder’s fourth in a row, a streak that matches OKC’s 0-4 start to the season.
The first quarter belonged solely to the Spurs. To be more specific, the first quarter was LaMarcus Aldridge having his way with the Thunder in every way imaginable. He put up 17 points on 7-9 (77.8%) shooting and 3-3 (100.0%) from the free throw line. OKC’s defense could not get stops, and the offense struggled to hit shots. After the first period, the Spurs led 38-25.
The Thunder’s second unit offered some energy in the second quarter, specifically Raymond Felton who came in and scored 9 points on a perfect 4-4 shooting. OKC was able to cut the deficit to 4 points midway through the period, but they were not able to maintain it as the Spurs kept rolling, taking a 72-63 lead into the half.
The Thunder came out of the locker room with some energy as they scored 4 straight points after halftime to cut the lead to 5, and it looked like they were going to quickly turn things around. The energy didn’t last for long, though, as the Spurs quickly pushed the lead back to 13 midway through the quarter. The Thunder defense looked much better than it did in the first half, but the offense struggled to score, and after a made shot by the Spurs with just 4 seconds left in the quarter, San Antonio led 92-78.
Any chance the Thunder had at winning the game dissipated by midway through the fourth quarter as the Spurs led by as many as 19. Russell Westbrook checked out with a little over 4 minutes to go, and other starters were quick to follow. OKC simply did not have it together tonight, and San Antonio came out on top 116-102.
Thunder Player of the Game
Steven Adams has to be the player of the game in this one. He was the one constant, at least on the offensive end, when everyone else struggled from the floor. Adams shot 7-11 for 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.
A lot of people have doubted Adams lately due to his decrease in production. He hasn’t played terrible, but he certainly isn’t producing like he was earlier in the season. That being said, that doesn’t mean he’s useless on the court. Every player goes through a slump, but they eventually come out. The same goes for Adams, and this game could be his way out of the slump. Let’s hope that’s the case because the Thunder certainly need Adams to be the foundation of this offense.
A Couple Quick Thoughts
- No Defense, All the Problems: The Thunder has not been the defensive powerhouse that it was during the first half of the season for quite some time now, and tonight was no different. Despite shooting over 50% from the field in the first half, they allowed the Spurs to shoot 57.1% and score 72 points by halftime. Since returning from the All-Star break, OKC has allowed opponents to shoot 42.3% from 3, which is a big part of the problem. Missing Paul George is a big part of the struggle the last couple of nights, but either way, the Thunder has to get back to playing solid defense, or it’s going to be a rough end to the regular season and a quick exit from the playoffs.
- On to the Next One: Losing sucks, but it’s a long season, and there’s still 20 games to go. Four consecutive losses is as bad as it has been for the Thunder this season, and they obviously do not want to create a new season-long losing streak, so they have to have a short memory concerning this one and get ready for the next one. Regardless of any overreaction, the season is not lost, the Thunder’s home court advantage in the playoffs is not lost, and there’s plenty of time left in the season for OKC to recover and finish strong.
Home SEGABABA Against Memphis
The Thunder is headed back home where they will play the second game of a back-to-back tomorrow (Sunday) against the Memphis Grizzlies. OKC handled Memphis with ease in the only matchup of the season so far when the Thunder defeated the Grizzlies on the road 117-95 nearly a month ago. Sunday’s game will tip off at 6 PM and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The game will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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