Oklahoma City – The Thunder hosted the Rockets and looked to end their 6 game losing streak in the second game of what is a little baseball type series after losing to them on Monday night.
It was going to be a little tough for them given they were without number 6 pick Josh Giddey who is their best shot creator for others, Mike Muscala, Kenrich Williams, and Derrick Favors while he Rockets came into the game with the same team that beat the Thunder earlier in the week.
After last game, I felt that it was the first time the Thunder youth showed which wasn’t surprising because they didn’t have any of their vets. Tonight, for the most part, it looked different.
They still settled a little too much but it wasn’t as bad. That was until the 4th quarter happened.
Their youth showed big time. They didn’t move much on offense as it was a lot of one on one and watching. There wasn’t much movement by the team before the 4th but it got much worse. The defense wasn’t any better either.
Allowing 41 points in the 4th, they let the Rockets, who didn’t have a lead in the game until 5 minutes left in the game, come back and win.
Led by Jae’Sean Tate who had an amazing game with 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 blocks, and 2 steals, the Rockets were getting whatever they wanted. For me, this was the worst loss of the season for the Thunder. Yes, the Rockets beat them by 30 earlier this year but tonight, Christian Wood only played 9 mins and Kevin Porter Jr. only played 13. Both missed most of the game due to injury. They were also without Jalen Green.
There is no reason they should have lost this game but ended of losing 114-110.
The one bright spot is Drake showed up to the game tonight.
Here are the 3 things that didn’t go well for them tonight.
1) Bad Ending
The Thunder gave up 41 points in the 4th quarter to a Rockets team that didn’t have Jalen Green, Christian Wood, or Kevin Porter Jr. Read that again. Giving up 41 points to anyone is horrible but to a team without their 3 best players is completely unacceptable. The Rockets imposed their will on the Thunder in the final quarter and they didn’t look like they gave much fight until the final minute. It was probably the worst quarter the Thunder played all season. Nothing was working for them. The offense was ok but it was a lot of one on one and they only shot 9-21 so it’s not like it was great. They can’t have quarters like this against a team like the Rockets without their 3 best guys.
2) Where Was The Ball Movement
Going into the game, I figured the offense would be little ugly because Giddey wasn’t going to play and he’s their best shot creator for others. It looked worse than I thought though. As I’ve said a few times already, there was a lot of one on one and no movement going on tonight. They only had 16 assists which would be tied for the 3rd lowest they’ve had all season. Not having Giddey isn’t an excuse either because, again, as I’ve said a few times already, the Rockets were without their 3 best players, and didn’t really have a primary shot creator. Yet, they had 25 assists because they realized they weren’t going to beat the Thunder playing one on one. Thunder already have the worst ranked offense in the league so they can’t hurt themselves more by not moving the ball consistently.
3) Too Up And Down
The last two games, the Thunder have played very inconsistent basketball. They go from playing great defense for a few minutes to playing horrible defense. Go from moving the ball and just watching someone dribble on the wing to trying to move the ball and make the defense work. It’s no coincidence they’ve played like this without their vets but can’t give them any excuses because if they want to win, they need to learn to play consistent basketball. This doesn’t worry me that much because they’ve played disciplined all year. Just frustrating to watch.
The Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who had a season high 39 points on a career high 26 shots and career high 16 free throws. He has been really aggressive the last two games and that’s how he needs to continue to play the rest of the season. Lu Dort added 19 points to go with 4 assists while Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. Both Tre Mann and Ty Jerome added 11 points also.
The Thunder look to end their now 7 game losing streak tomorrow night against the Grizzlies on the road.
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