Oklahoma City – The Thunder were hosted by the Rockets tonight and just like their season opener this one didn’t go to well for them either.
This time it was a lot worse. They looked lackluster on both ends of the floor and at times it didn’t look like the Thunder even wanted to be there. Yes the Rockets are probably the more talented team but they’re also one of the youngest and have 7 guys under the age of 22.
To get down by as many as 34 shows a lack of effort.
Here are the things that went wrong.
1) No Movement On Offense
Pretty much every time any one had the ball on the wing or at the top of the key, guys were just standing around watching someone dribble. Mainly when it was Shai. That makes defending them a lot easier because the defense doesn’t have to move at all. When a guy could get past his man, everyone was still standing which made it hard to kick out to someone and they had to take a contested shot. There wasn’t much player movement or much ball movement either. This is something that needs to be fixed asap because things can get frustrating fast for a guy like Shai if he continues to see 2 or 3 defenders when going to the basket. One way they can help this is to make Giddey the primary ball handler and play Shai off the ball and have him move more.
2) They Settle Too Much
There were a lot of times where one of the guards/wings got a big man on them and settled for a 3 instead of driving to the basket. That would be fine if they were one of the elite 3 point shooters in the league but they aren’t. No one would necessarily be classified as a decent to good shooter (except Muscala) so they shouldn’t be taking those kinds of shots. It makes it even worse that they take em and they’re more athletic than their defenders and are good at getting to the basket. They took 43 3s, 49 2s with 41 coming in the paint. This isn’t a team that should be taking more shots from 3 than they take in the paint.
3) Not Getting Out and Running
The Thunder only had 13 fast break points tonight and that is a travesty. To be a little fair though, they didn’t get many stops but on the stops they did get they walked the ball up the floor. They are playing with a very slow pace and need to get out and run because that will open up things for them and it will give them some much needed energy that they have been lacking. They have a lot of guys that can get the rebound and run the break so it makes no sense why they would just walk the ball up.
The Thunder were led by Mike Muscala who played limited minutes and had 13 points on 5-7 shooting. Shai also had 13 but shot 6-15 from the floor and had 4 rebounds. Kenrich had 12 points off the bench to go with 4 rebounds.
The team will look to get in the win column on Sunday night in their home opener agains the Sixers.
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