This is starting to become a trend that is concerning to me. Two nights ago, the Thunder barely avoided a major collapse as they nearly squandered a 17-point 4th quarter lead. One night later, the Thunder take an 11-point lead into halftime, and squander it away with one of their most abysmal 3rd quarter performances of the season. The Thunder watched as the Blazers took a 3-point lead into the 4th, and turned it into a 111-104 victory.
It’s not like this game had “trap door” written all over it like the Kings game did. They were going into the house of a squad sporting a 15-3 record. The Trail Blazers were actually a game ahead of the Thunder in the standings, so this game should not have been a hard one to get revved up about. I think sometimes the Thunder just get overconfident, like they can just will any shot into the basket. But when you start the 3rd quarter 5-for-16, you need to figure out how to drive the lane consistently.
But it wasn’t just poor 3rd quarter shooting that cost the Thunder this game. There were also a number of turnovers, a lot of which were just due to bad passes and sloppy overall play.
Although you have to give LaMarcus Aldridge his due. His 38 points led all scorers on both squads, and his 10 rebounds made him the lone Blazer to post a double-double. He was easily the best player on the floor last night. Although the rest of the Blazers starters scored double-digits as well. Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum dropped 14 apiece, Wesley Matthews contributed 13, and Robin Lopez threw down 12.
There were a few bright spots on the Thunder squad, notably good numbers coming from the usual suspects. Serge Ibaka’s 13 points and 10 rebounds gave him the Thunder’s lone double-double, but Kevin Durant dropped an eye-popping 33 points last night, and Russell Westbrook threw down 21 of his own. From the bench, Reggie Jackson contributed 12, and Jeremy Lamb posted 10.
The Thunder fall to 13-4 with the loss, and are now two games behind the Trail Blazers. Their 16-3 record leads the Western Conference, and is second only to the 17-2 Indiana Pacers.
The Thunder’s next game is at New Orleans Arena against the Pelicans tomorrow night. Tip off is scheduled for 7pm CST, and you can catch the action via Fox Sports Oklahoma, WWLS The Sports Animal, and NBA League Pass.