The Oklahoma City Thunder are overachieving, and their come down moment was a rough one, losing 130-91 to the San Antonio Spurs, making Russell Westbrook look very frustrated.
There’s something “charming” about how Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder handle the media. It’s hard to say if it’s some order from above, be it local or national press, or maybe it’s just him as a person who treats every little bit of criticism as a personal attack against him. It’s no secret that the Thunder haven’t been doing well on defense, but Westbrook hated that the questions came after a loss.
Uh, defensive issues carrying over. I’m confused. You didn’t say that when we won four games in a row. I’m just a little confused. But you didn’t say that when we won, so I’m a little confused. You can play bad defense and win, but you don’t mention it when we win. But when we lose you want to mention it. I’m just a little confused.
Typical of Westbrook and Durant as well, who always love to talk about simplistic things like “effort” and “wanting it more” after losses. Obviously, it’s more than that, but some players don’t like to admit they were outplayed and outclassed in every sense, including tactical. Westbrook looked lost on defense chasing Tony Parker, who had his way with him in the conference finals last season as well.
As for the Spurs? They bounced back from their slightly surprising loss in Dallas against another rival, jumping at the jugular right away and never letting go. Parker was hitting shots from everywhere and never stopped moving, scoring 21 points on 10-of-14 from the field. Boris Diaw scored 19 points and the Spurs overall had seven players scoring in double figures, hitting 58% of their shots.
Not a surprise considering the Thunder gave up 117 points against the Lakers recently and have given up 107 points per 100 possession over their four game winning streak. Yes, when Westbrook is hitting his stride they can match it shot for shot with anyone in the league, but the absence of Serge Ibaka and the changing of the guard in the frontcourt has hurt this team defensively.
We won’t see the Spurs playing better basketball than this, but they’ll rarely even get to this level. Everything worked. Every shot dropped, and almost every ball movement created someone open. This has been consistent this month, against lowly and mighty opponents, at home or on the road, but few teams will be as easy to push over as the Thunder were on this specific night.