Losing back-to-back with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the lineup is new to the Oklahoma City Thunder, getting blown out (104-83) for a second consecutive game, this time by the Sacramento Kings, making us all wonder about whether or not they really are good enough to still contend for the NBA title.
Russell Westbrook was embarrassingly bad and not ashamed to show it for a second straight game. The thing about Westbrook is that he has a short memory. He misses? He forgets about that, and keeps on shooting. That’s not a bad approach when it comes to confidence, but as far as making good and bad decisions when you’re game is a bit off, the Thunder could do with a bit more passing from time to time, but this has been a problem for years.
Westbrook shot just 3-of-19 from the field and turned the ball over seven times, scoring just 10 points. He is shooting only 27.3% from the field over his last five games, but he would kindly ask of you not to ask him about the shots he’s taking.
Kevin Durant wasn’t as bad as he was in the loss to the Warriors, scoring 24 points on 8-of-20 from the field, but the Thunder were still a -17 when he was playing. Reggie Jackson, mentioned more than once in trade rumors, scored 14 points while Dion Waiters, who was promised he’d be more comfortable with his new team, scored just four points in 22 minutes on 1-of-9 from the field. Something tells me that’s not what the Thunder dreamed of when they acquired him from the Cavaliers.
The more worrying thing besides poor shooting form which is usually something that comes and goes, especially with someone like Westbrook, is their defense. They’ve given up 102 points or more in five straight games and in 10 of their last 11 games. Scott Brooks has been forced to do a lot of reshuffling with injuries, players coming back and returning and is now going to do it again (and maybe again if and when the Thunder trade Reggie Jackson). Things should have been going more smoothly by now according to the plan.
Something to actually worry about for the Thunder? Maybe not. They’re not falling out of the playoff race, obviously, but they’re still behind 8th and two games below .500. Getting into that top 8 and feeling a bit more confident about how they’re going to do in the playoffs from there is proving to be slightly more difficult than expected. With Westbrook not realizing that maybe sometimes he needs to change his game, it’s not going to be any easier.