Bench Play Dooms Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers

By Brian Anderson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Despite all the high praises the Oklahoma City Thunder bench has been receiving of of late, they struggled to get it going tonight in a 111-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Backup center Steven Adams got his first start of the season as Kendrick Perkins sat out tonight’s matchup. Adams finished with seven points, four rebounds and one block in 20 minutes of play. He continued to show improvement, although his numbers don’t pop out at you. There was one play where he caught the ball, stopped on the dime and dropped a sweet one-handed push shots in the hoop.

It’s easy to see why everyone is calling for him to get the nod as the starter. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks seems to be the only one who still have some faith in Perkins at this point.

Jeremy Lamb was basically invisible out there, sputtering out with zero points on the board and 0-for-5 shooting. It’s been his first really unproductive game of the year, though, and I can’t say enough good things about what he’s done thus far otherwise. I think fans in Oklahoma are still excited about the play of their team’s reserves. It’s a marathon of a season and every game won’t always go the way you want.

Tough losses like tonight are important for these reserves; it serves as a reality check that’ll get them working even harder to be more consistent. All it seemed like the Thunder needed was one more player to step other than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Derek Fisher continued to struggled in what may be his last NBA season. He hasn’t been getting many minutes lately, but he also hasn’t been hitting his shots. He’s a player I’ve watched for a while now and I know that he can be a streaky shooter. Fisher will eventually find his mark and become a positive contributor on this team. He is an old vet out there trying to keep up with 20-something superstar athletes; it may take a little while longer from him to get his regular season legs up underneath him.

It’s evident that the Thunder won’t be relying on their bench to take them to the promised land, but every teams planning to be contenders in this league will need at least slight above average production from their reserves.

The starters’ jobs are to be the difference-makers in the game, but the bench holds it all together like glue. That said, Thunder fans have every right to remain highly optimistic about their chances to go deep in the playoffs regardless of the team’s bench play here in the early part of the season.

The Thunder’s bench will have to find some quick answers as they’re set to face off against the Golden State Warriors later tonight on TNT.

Brian Anderson is a NBA writer for Follow him on Twitter @MrAnderson035 “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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