This is starting to become a trend that should be concerning to every Thunder fan. I understand that Russell Westbrook is a big contributor to the team. But, when you’re blowing 16-point leads in two consecutive losses at home, you can’t blame that on Westbrook’s absence. I don’t care who is missing playing time, there is simply no valid excuse for letting big leads like that slip. Now the Thunder have felt the sting of consecutive losses at home for the first time since March of 2012.
Although I have to admit, the Nets were hitting some big shots last night. Deron Williams steal and 3-ball, all in less that a second to end the 3rd quarter, really hurt us.
I’m not going to lie to you. That was insane.
The 1st was the usual back-and-forth, with neither team’s lead exceeding 5. The Nets finished out the 1st up 3 (29-26).
The 2nd was when the Thunder built the 16-point lead. They sparked an 18-6 run with just under 10:00 to play in the half, which extended the lead to 13 (50-37). Then a 7-0 run with just under 2:00 in the half finished the lead (59-43). Alan Anderson closed the half by hitting the back end of his 1-and-1 to pull the Nets within 15 (59-44).
The Nets started the 3rd off quickly by immediately sparking an 11-3 run that pulled them to within 7 (62-55). Yet the Thunder were able to keep them at bay for the entirety of the 3rd, even finishing the 3rd up 11 (77-66).
What killed the Thunder was the fact that they went cold for the second straight game in the second half. They managed a total of 18 points in the 3rd, and an abysmal 16 total in the 4th. If they could have managed 20 apiece for both quarters, I’d be writing about a Thunder victory. As it stands, this 95-93 loss drops the Thunder to 25-7, while improving the Nets to 11-21. The biggest kick in the gut? This was the first time the Nets pulled off the victory when entering the 4th on the wrong side of the scoreboard (1-19 record when trailing going into the 4th).
Serge Ibaka finished with a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards. Kevin Durant led all Thunder scorers to hit the floor with 24 points, and Perry Jones played big minutes off the Thunder bench last night, finishing with 11 points.
No double-doubles from the Nets, but Deron Williams’ 29 points led all scorers to take the floor last night. Paul Pierce threw down 18 points, and Alan Anderson provided 13 bench points.
The Thunder had better figure out what their issue is, because they’re headed to the site of their biggest loss this season. The Timberwolves will be welcoming the Thunder to the Target Center tomorrow night looking to replicate their last home victory over them. And now they’ll get another chance to show us exactly how Westbrook’s absence hurts the Thunder. Tip-off time is scheduled for 7pm CST and will be broadcast via Fox Sports Oklahoma, WWLS The Sports Animal, and NBA League Pass.