#ThunderUp Can’t Complete 28 Point Comeback Against Bulls; Here Are The 3 Reasons They Didn’t Get The Win – BlackSportsOnline
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#ThunderUp Can’t Complete 28 Point Comeback Against Bulls; Here Are The 3 Reasons They Didn’t Get The Win

Oklahoma City – The Thunder returned home tonight after spending the last 4 games on an Eastern road trip where they lost all 4 games. It brought their losing streak to 5 in a row and 11 of their last 12. They are in desperate need of a win.

It was going to be a great opportunity because the Bulls came into the game so depleted with Lonzo Ball, Patrick Williams, and Alex Caruso all out due to injury plus DeMar DeRozan being out due to rest. Also, Zach LaVine was coming back from missing the last 5 games due to injury so he was probably going to be rusty (which he was shooting 6-19).

It would have made sense for the Thunder to come out with a lot of intensity and energy on both ends of the floor because they really need a win and the Bulls were so depleted.

That is not what happened.

They came out decent on the offensive but were very bad defensively and letting the Bulls get a lot of easy shots. Their offense was decent to start the game but that then tapered off after the 1st quarter and that combined with their bad defense caused them to get down by 28 and it looked like it was going to be a blowout win for the Bulls.

Then they started to play great basketball on both ends of the floor and came back to make it a game to where they actually had a chance to get it to overtime. But after a great comeback, they ended up losing 111-110.

Credit to them for fighting back and giving themselves a chance at the end but that is why they have to put together full games of good basketball and not just 42 minutes.

They gave the fans something to cheer about at the end and it increased their lottery odds so those are the positives.

Here are the 3 reasons they lost:

1) Where Was The 4th Quarter Offense In The 1st 3 Quarters

If someone just looked at the boxscore they would wonder why offense was a reason they lost and that is why you can’t just look at boxscores and have to watch games so you can have context. Yes the Thunder had 110 points and had 26 assists, however it was because of a great 4th quarter they were able to get those numbers. 32 of the 110 points and 10 of the 26 assists came in the 4th. Before that, there was a lot of just standing and watching a guy try to take his man off the dribble. Once they finally started to move more and move the ball more things became a lot easier and they got back into the game. The Thunder don’t have one on one guys (outside of Shai) so it’s always imperative that they get as much movement (ball and player) so they can maximize their offense. When they don’t we see games like the first 3 quarters where it’s a huge struggle to score.

2) Where Were The Stops

The offense has been bad all season while their defense has carried them along the way. Here lately though, the defense has been almost as bad as their offense. There hasn’t been any intensity, not much effort, and not much toughness. Opposing teams are pretty much walking into easy shots and that’s a big reason why the Thunder have lost 11 of their last 12 and last 6. Credit to them for turning it on defensively in the 4th where the Bulls shot 27.3% from the floor and 25% from 3, but through 3 quarters they were shooting 52.2% from the floor and 44.4% from 3. They weren’t locked in on that end at all and it showed. The best version of this team is when they play defense and that showed in the 4th. If they continue to play bad defense combined with their bad offense and get down by double digits routinely like they have during the stretch of losing, the stretch is just going to get much longer.

3) Give Yourself A Better Chance At The End (Late Game Execution)

Thunder played about 42 minutes of bad basketball then the last 6 minutes gave themselves a chance to win by playing great. They had a legit shot at getting this game to overtime. Except they shot themselves in the foot with their execution the last 14.8 seconds. After hitting a shot to go down 1, the Thunder had to foul twice before putting the Bulls on the line and they got the first one in .6 secs which was great but after the Bulls inbounded the ball again the Thunder let almost 5 seconds run off the clock before fouling again. Then after Zach LaVine hits both free throws to put the Bulls up 3, instead of using the timeout they had not only set up a play but also advance the ball to not waste time getting up the court, they didn’t use the timeout and let Shai go to work and try to get a shot to tie it. He missed. Obviously if he hits the shot there isn’t anything to talk about but he didn’t. If the Thunder had a play installed for situations like this and they ran it there also would be nothing to talk about but they don’t. Or at least from the look they got it doesn’t seem like they do. Head coach Mark Daigneault gave a great reason for not calling the timeout saying they need Nikola Vucevic on the floor and calling a timeout would allow them to get him back in and let them set up their defense. However, by deciding that, he lowered his team’s chances at tying the game. There was plenty of time to either get a quick 2 or set up a play for a much better look for a 3. It’s those little things that separates winning teams from losing teams. Having an extra, let’s say 4 seconds (the wasted time fouling), at the end combined with running an actual play to free up one of your shooters would have gone a long ways. And if they do all of that and still lose the game or don’t get to overtime then so be it but have to have better execution down the stretch to at least give yourself a better chance.

Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who had a great game with 31 points, 10 assists, and 3 steals. Lu Dort added 16 points and 7 rebounds while Jeremiah Robinson Earl added 12 points and Mike Muscala had 14 points. Josh Giddey didn’t shoot it particularly well but filled up the stat sheet with 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.

The team will look to end their losing streak on Friday night against the Pacers.

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