A lot of emotions ran through me as the closing seconds wound down to the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s season. The situation was unfamiliar, confusing, depressing and straight up felt wrong.
Now that I have had time to gather my thoughts — with a couple tears still streaming down my cheek — I am very happy with the way the season went. This Thunder team has had to face adversity since the start of the season. The James Harden trade, management and coaching criticisms, adjusting the offense to fit specific role players, the Russell Westbrook injury, and now the early second round exit in the playoffs are all prime examples.
The Thunder fought valiantly in Game 5 against the Memphis Grizzlies. Even with Durant going 5-of-21 from the field shooting, the team was able to erase a 12-point deficit in the third quarter. Then the Thunder found themselves down 10 with a little more than three minutes to play, and they cut the lead down to two with 10 seconds left and possession of the ball.
The final shot that Kevin Durant brilliantly worked for was one that Thunder fans have seen go in time after time. It seemed to just not be Durant’s night as the shot was just an inch too far left and bounced off the rim.
But even after being eliminated from the playoffs at home, fans ofthe Thunder applauded the effort of their team, chanting “O-K-C! O-K-C! O-K-C!” Durant exited the court and acknowledged the crowd after a standing ovation.
The Thunder’s season did not go as planned. There were hopes and aspirations of being NBA champions, but the effort of this team was not the problem. The problem was bad luck in the form of a torn meniscus in the right knee of All-Star point guard, Russell Westbrook.
It’s an ageless expression, but ‘there is always next year.’ It could not be any more true for this Thunder team. It is easy to forget how young the Thunder are with all of the recent success they have had. They will come back next year stronger, wiser and better after embracing the misfortunes of these playoffs.
Durant said it best in his post game interview.
“You have to ride out the storm to get to the sunshine.”