Oklahoma City – The Thunder hit the road against the Rockets and looked to end their 5 game losing streak. It was going to be a good opportunity because the Thunder last win came against the Rockets and they are playing without the 2nd pick in them most recent draft, Jalen Green.
The biggest key to the game for me was how they would defend Rockets big man Christian Wood. In the game the Rockets won he went off and in the game the Thunder won they defended Wood very well.
Tonight, they didn’t defend him well as he had a career high 21 rebounds to go with 24 points and had his first 20/20 game of his career.
For the most part, the Thunder looked dejected from the game and looked a little sluggish. For the first time probably all season, I feel like the Thunder youth really showed tonight and it’s no coincidence that they were without their 3 oldest guys and showed their youth.
The bench fought hard and played much better than the starters scoring 52 of the Thunder 89 but they fell to the Rockets 102-89.
Here are the things that went wrong for the team.
1) Way Too Much Settling
The Thunder shot 7-43 from 3. For those of you that don’t want to do the math, that’s 16.3%. The last time they shot that bad or worse from 3 was in December of 2019 when they shot 16.1% from 3. For me, it’s not so much about the shooting percentage, it’s about them taking 43 3s and taking 39 shots in the paint. They started the game with Shai setting the tone by not settling for 3s and getting in the paint but that didn’t spread to others. They settled all night. They didn’t move much much and that just made the quality of their shots go down. They won’t win many, if any, games with that kind of shot selection.
2) Did The Starters Know There Was A Game?
The starters were an absolute no show. Shai showed up kinda but even he was just 9-20 with 22 points. Other than that, the highest scoring starter had 7 points. They shot 14-50 (28%) from the floor and 3-24 (12.5%) from 3. Only had 37 points in the game. Just flat out bad. Luckily the bench played well with their 52 or the game would have been a lot uglier than it was. Don’t really expect the starters to play this bad many more times but they can’t come out flat against a team like Houston. No disrespect to them but it looked like they were the much better team which is false.
This one might go on the starters also but the Thunder played way too inconsistent tonight. And that’s on both ends. They went from playing good defense to giving the Rockets anything they wanted. Then they went from playing horrible offense to looking like they were going to win the game. Sometimes the bad defense and bad offense came at the same time which is how the Rockets got up by 21. Like I said, this could go on the starters because they came out flat but did play decent defense. They’re a young team and were really young tonight so it’s not a shocker that they were inconsistent but I think it shows how important that veteran leadership is.
The Thunder were led by Shai who had 22 points and 4 rebounds while Tre Mann had a career high 17 points and career high 7 rebounds off the bench. Isiah Roby who found out this afternoon that he would be playing tonight after being out of the rotation had 17 points and 5 rebounds off the bench also. That was pretty much the only offense the team had all night.
They will look to get a little revenge on the Rockets on Wednesday night in their next game.
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