Thunder Can’t Handle the Hawks, Lose 106-100


The Atlanta Hawks are a very good basketball team. They’re a piece away from being San Antonio Spurs-good at basketball. But tonight, that piece wasn’t necessary, as a poor early effort by the Thunder and awful execution down the stretch of the fourth quarter ultimately resulted in a 106-100 loss to Atlanta.

Right from the tip, OKC was lethargic, getting demolished on the board and starting off 3-of-14 from the field. After going down 16 in the middle of the second quarter, the Thunder went on a huge run to go down 52-53 at the half. But after a close fought second half and some Russell Westbrook heroics, this team ran out of steam, looking away from its D.C. born superstar Kevin Durant and asking Westbrook to iso-win the game.

Westbrook had a monster game, finishing with 34 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds on 11-of-24 shooting but also turned the ball over 6 times, one coming in the last minute of regulation. Durant had a cool 25 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 blocks on 9-of-18 but let Westbrook take over late in the fourth. Serge Ibaka finished with 17 points and 4 monster blocks, but was stuffed by Paul Millsap from behind on what looked like an easy dunk with about 45 seconds to take the lead. Anthony Morrow had 10 points tonight, hitting 3-of-6 from downtown but finishing 3-of-12 overall.

It was a tough way to end a four-game winning streak for the Thunder, but it was a loss OKC can handle: on the road against one of the Eastern Conference’s best. If this team can avoid digging themselves into huge deficits, all the tangibles are there. It’s time to step it up, and I say look for a pissed off Russell Westbrook Thursday against Miami.

"Lightning Bolts"

  • Horrible first quarter-and-a-half by the Thunder. Just outhustled, outrebounded, and outshot in a dead 20 minutes of action. It wasn’t until an 18-3 run to end the first half, sparked by two Serge Ibaka blocks, that OKC looked like a team fighting for a championship.
  • Andre Roberson pump-faked a guy at the three-point line, stepped back, and buried a triple. This is a true statement.
  • Andre Roberson was also a -26 in the box score and was torched by Jeff Teague on the Hawks last true offensive possession of the game. Roberson vs. the Hawks did not go well.
  • Russell Westbrook is the best rebounding guard in the league. And it’s not even close.
  • If Ibaka does not finish top-three in Defensive Player of the Year voting (Kawhi Leonard pretty much has it locked up 15 games in), this league is a farce.
  • Steven Adams only played 14 minutes tonight, but they were a bad 14 minutes. He had no spark and gave up too many buckets inside.
  • Dion Waiters had 1 point on 0-of-7 shooting. He missed a ton of wide open looks and was mostly a non-factor. Needs to be more of a playmaker off the bench.
  • 14 offensive rebounds for Atlanta. That’s unacceptable for the number two rebounding team in the league (OKC).
  • Kevin Durant looks more and more like Kevin Durant as each game passes.
  • Don’t like how the Thunder ended the fourth quarter. Russell Westbrook went on a huge scoring run to tie the game, but after a terrible turnover and a few bad shots, there was no execution and the game was over. And then out of a timeout, down four, Russ took the three. Don’t mind that, except it was a terrible shot and KD wasn’t even looked at. Interesting.
  • On that late Westbrook turnover, it looked like Serge Ibaka rolled to the paint after setting a screen for Russ instead of fading back to his midrange area. If he had stayed, it would have been a routine play the Thunder run all the time, giving Serge the option to either shoot or hand it off to Russ behind him. Russ went to pass it back, but no one was there.
  • Next game: @ MIA, Dec 3, 6 PM CST.

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