Takeaways for Oklahoma City Thunder After Loss to New York Knicks
After reading through my Twitter feed yesterday and this morning, I got the feeling many Thunder fans do not know that fact. It is not the end of the world for the Thunder. Yesterday was simply a very competitive and fun game to watch, which the Thunder ended up falling short. At the end of the game, I actually found myself far from disappointed. I was actually upset that it was over, because the entertainment value of watching two of the best duos in the league in Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony/J.R. Smith was top notch.
Yes, I know that giving up 125 points at home is not good for the Thunder. I also know that squandering a fourth quarter lead by getting outscored 15-9 is also not comforting; but in all actuality, it was the third consecutive game the Thunder had faced an elite team. Let’s not forget that the Thunder played the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers and Knicks all within 72 hours.
If somebody would have told me a week ago that the Thunder would go 2-1 in that tough three game stretch, I would have been happy. I do not understand how any Thunder fan would not be content with that result– unless you are one of those fans who lives or dies game to game in an 82-game schedule.
So for all of the pessimistic Thunder fans out there, let’s take a quick look at all of the positives that can be taken from yesterday’s game.
First of all, Reggie Jackson is just terrific. What a surprise this guy has been. The amount of improvement he has shown since the start of the year is simply immeasurable. The only reason the Thunder stuck with the Knicks yesterday was because of the astounding third quarter Jackson had. He came in and made his first six shots after halftime and did it in impressive fashion. After watching him drive to the basket and consistently sink reverse layups, I can only think that he has been working quite a bit with Westbrook.
Also, we learned yesterday that Durant is far, far, far from a selfish player. Yesterday the national media played the angle that the game would be a scoring battle between Anthony and Durant due to their close race for the NBA scoring title. Well, it seems Anthony cares a little bit more about the personal accolade since he attempted 12 more shots than Durant. Durant did not even attempt a field goal in the first quarter, yet he still ended up with 27 points, because he’s Durant. Yes, I do believe this is a good thing because it is obvious Durant cares more about the team and winning games, rather than personal accolades.
Last but certainly not least, Serge Ibaka. He should have taken a few more shots yesterday, you know, because he did not miss. He was 6-6 from the field including 1-1 from three point land. I really like the improvement in Ibaka’s shooting this year, especially from three. He has made 16 three pointers this year– last year he would not have even attempted a three unless it was a desperation heave. Ibaka also continued his reputation of being an elite defender with five blocks. Oh yea, and guess who leads the Thunder in field goal percentage in the last five games? Yea, it’s Ibaka.
So to basically sum up everything that I have just brought to attention, I have just one message to all Thunder fans: chill.