Thunder Are Now 9-4: One Problem Holding Them Back

By Eli Friedman

On Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder did everything you could ask for in a win against a very good Clippers team. The Thunder got out in transition, defended, rotated on defense, etc. In the win, the bench was the spark that lit the fire for the Thunder.  Kevin Martin goes for 20 points, Nick Collison had eight points, Hasheem “The Dream” Thabeeteven added 10 points of his own. Everything was clicking on all cylinders. It looked as if the Thunder had finally put together a great win, and this team was on a tear.

It was a flip of a script in a night.

Last night, the Thunder did the exact opposite in a loss to the Boston Celtics, 108-100. The reason for the loss was the bench mob. Oklahoma City’s bench was outscored 35 to 13. It was so bad that the guy who was averaged 17 points per game, and was supposed to be James Harden for the bench, went 1-7 from the field, and finished with three points. In 12 minutes, Eric Maynor was 1-5 from the field, with two points, and two turnovers.

Last year, the Thunder dealt with slow starts, poor shot selection, and turnovers. This year, those miscues were cleaned up, but one problem still remains: Inconsistency.

I’m not going to say that every game comes down to if the bench plays well or not, but it does play a major, major factor. With no real proven third option, the bench has come in and produce.

Royce Young of said it beautifully: “It’s funny though, the highs and lows. Coming off Wednesday’s much-needed signature win over the Clippers, things felt much more normalized and a whole lot better than they’ve ever been for this team. Now? I’m already wondering about a deadline trade and griping about Westbrook. That’s just how it goes. Good thing they play again in 24 hours.”

It sure it a beauty that the Thunder play in less than 24 hours. Go into Philadelphia and blow out the Sixers.

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