ThunderUp Defense Struggles In Loss To Lakers For First Time Season – BlackSportsOnline
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ThunderUp Defense Struggles In Loss To Lakers For First Time Season

Oklahoma City – The Thunder hosted the Lakers tonight after a small road trip were they won their last 2 games and looked to make it 3 in a row.

It’s the third time these two teams have seen each other already this season so both are familiar with how the other wants to play by now. The Thunder have had some success against the Lakers winning the first two games against a team a lot picked to win the title. Both being huge come from behind victories.

Tonight seemed like they couldn’t just get down again because one, despite their record, the Lakers have been playing better, just not consistent. Two, LeBron James was playing tonight and he’s the Lakers best closer.

That’s exactly what happened. The Lakers got up big and, for the most part, didn’t let their foot off the gas. Went up 25 in the second quarter and the Thunder mad a little push to get back down 12 but the Lakers responded well and it didn’t get that close again.

It helped that they had Lebron on the floor for them who had a great night but it wasn’t just him.

Thunder ended up falling to the Lakers 116-95.

Here are the 3 reasons they lost.

1) Settled Waaaaaaay Too Much

The Thunder took 44 3s tonight. That is the 3rd most 3s they have taken in a game this season and is the 10th game they have taken 40 or more. They are now 3-7 in games where they take 40 or more. They did end up hitting 10 so it wasn’t just a horrible night. However, it’s less about them taking 44 3s and more about the 3s they did take. The overwhelming majority of them were them settling. There were times when they took early shot clock 3s, times when they made one pass then took a 3 instead of moving the ball more, and there were times when they had their guy beat for a drive and instead of driving they did a stepback 3. Their offense is already bad so they don’t need to do things to make it even worse. Even worse, they only had 47 shots in the paint where they were doing very well. 44 3s to only 47 paint shots is a bad shot profile and won’t win many games like that.

2) It Was Like A Practice For The Lakers

The Thunder offense has been bad all season and it was expected after looking at the roster. The defense was always going to be better. It hasn’t looked that way the last 5 games even though they do have 2 wins. 5 minutes into the game the Thunder went up 8-6 causing the Lakers to call a timeout and Things went south from there for the Thunder. Lakers immediately came out and had run after run. They hit a couple of 3s and made themselves real comfortable in the Paycom Center. Everything was too easy for them all night. They were the far more aggressive team and it showed in the boxscore because the Lakers had 14 free throw attempts in the first half to the Thunder zero. Thunder made no effort on the defensive end and made the Lakers offense have one of their best games of the season. There’s an acronym KYP and it means “know your personnel” which the Thunder did not tonight. Make the Lakers work on offense and it gets ugly at times for them. Simply put, it was like the Lakers were having practice tonight instead of a game.

3) Elementary Offense

As previously stated, looking at the roster before the season, the Thunder offense was set to be bad. It’s looked worse than anyone could even imagine. That continued tonight. There is very little ball movement and very little player movement in their offense and it makes things harder for them and a lot easier for the other team because they don’t have to work that much. It makes things a lot harder on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander because he’s the one guy every team knows can go and get his own shot so they focus on stopping him. When there is very little movement, it makes it so much more easier to slow him down as we saw tonight. Yes Shai is the star so he has to figure it out like all the other stars but the Thunder could make it easier for him. This team is way too talented to have the worst offense in the league. They can always use the excuse that their the youngest team in the league but that’s exactly what it is, an excuse. Add more player and ball movement and watch how much the offense gets better.

The Thunder were led by Tre Mann who had a career high 19 points off the bench and was the only bright spot for the team tonight. Josh Giddey had a decent all around game with 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists while Shai added 11 points and 4 assists. Lu Dort contributed 11 points, Darius Bazley had 9 points and 7 rebounds while Jeremiah Robinson Earl had 8 points and 9 rebounds.

The Thunder look to get back in the win column when the play the Mavericks on Sunday night.

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