The Oklahoma City Thunder fell short again tonight with their second straight loss at home. The Thunder played relatively good for three quarters, but the let the Brooklyn Nets hang around. Joe Johnson would bury OKC with a game winning jumper — the second time this season that has happened to the Thunder. The final score read 95-93.
The blame could fall in many places tonight, as most of the OKC players struggled to get it going. It is rare to see both Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb fail to get into double-digit scoring, but they did just that tonight, each finishing with only nine points. In fact, only three Thunder plays eclipsed the 10-point mark; Serge Ibaka put up 10 and Perry Jones III surprisingly came through with 11 points off the bench.
The loss is the second straight for the Thunder as well, after losing to the Portland Trail Blazers in similar fashion on Tuesday night. In a post earlier, I stated that the key matchup tonight would be between Jackson and Deron Williams, and it surely was. Williams was able to take care of Jackson on both ends of the floor, making it very hard for OKC to find any consistency on either end. Williams torched Jackson and the Thunder with 29 points on the night.
Kevin Durant was the only bright spot for the Thunder tonight. He finished with 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting. One thing I did not like about his game tonight was his decision not to shoot the ball more than 13 times. Before the game, he made it clear that he wanted to get his teammates involved more. Once I heard that, I knew it could be a problem if his teammates were not shooting well. Everything that could have went wrong tonight, did go wrong.
It looks as if the Thunder will have a tough time adjusting to life without Russell Westbrook. Jackson and Lamb simply have to be more productive if this team is going to be successful with Westbrook sidelined. Durant’s outstanding play will be there, but it will not be enough to bring in victories night after night. A tough loss like tonight could be a wakeup call for this team. They have to realize that things are not going to be easy over the next month or so, and they have to find a way to make it through this with their heads held high.
The Thunder has the perfect opportunity to regain some confidence over the next couple of weeks. They have a light schedule ahead. Still, that is nothing to be happy about when you are losing to teams like the Nets on your home floor. This means that OKC has to prepare for every game like it is a playoff game, or else they will be coming in with the wrong attitude. I do not doubt that they will eventually get the ball rolling, but it may take longer than most people expected after what we have seen over the last two games.