Unfulfilled: OKC Thunder Game 6 player grades following heartbreaking loss

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 27: Russell Westbrook
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 27: Russell Westbrook /
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The OKC Thunder season ended with a crash in Utah as the team frantically tried to tie the series.

For OKC Thunder fans the manner in which the season ended doesn’t ease the pain. They fought valiantly to the bitter end.

Ultimately, the final minutes of Game 6 ended up resembling much of the season including the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Repeatedly the ball bounced off the rim, one Russell Westbrook trey seemingly on its way through the net, went half way down and popped back out.

There was a similar feeling to that of Wednesday’s Game 5 where the fate of this squad appeared destined to be victorious and return to the Peake for a Game 7. With 2:44 remaining Russell Westbrook found Steven Adams for a layup to pull the OKC Thunder within two points. Utah tensed up and even their dynamic rookie Donovan Mitchell FINALLY began missing shots. A little over a minute later Westbrook hit yet another perimeter shot to pull within one point. My gut, which for the record had been on the money all night following the Raptors and Pacers wins told me OKC was going to win on this night.

Yet, as alluded to, this match took on a strange turn with the striped men factoring in heavily to the closing minute. Was that a true factor? It’s hard to place the blame on the whistle. However, it’s also difficult not to feel Paul George should’ve been shooting three free throws at least once, and possibly twice in clutch time.

The irony of the closing minutes was the numerous offensive rebounds the Thunder acquired. Something the team had difficulty snaring through the better portion of the series.

149. Final. 96. 118. 91

1:15 of insanity:

The crazy final minute included SIX missed shots and FIVE offensive rebounds culminating appropriately with Mitchell finally grabbing the rebound to stop the insanity. Despite what appeared repeated attempts to foul Mitchell the officials seemingly ignored two, possibly three purposeful fouls to stop the clock.

Presumably, the Thunder will take the high road and move on. But, this final contest served as a microcosm of the season and how much officiating can affect outcomes. In fairness, Mitchell picked up his fifth foul with 10:01 left to play, forcing the youngster from the game.

Perhaps the reality hasn’t sunk in fully of what transpired, but the surreal feeling of the evening began early with some Jazz attendee blowing a whistle causing everyone to stop on the court. The whistle apparently continued to be utilized with no security tracking it down.

At the half and game end two different fans reached out to grab at Russell Westbrook. Obviously Westbrook was not impressed, nor should he be. As much as the Jazz is a quality organization these types of incidents should have resulted in immediate ejections. Yet, unless I’ve missed the report the fans weren’t chastised let alone disciplined for their actions.

In the aftermath, Thunderous Intentions will revisit this evening to dissect precisely what happened with a view to how it will affect the future. In particular, close attention will be paid to a certain free agent and another veteran who ultimately weren’t factors when they needed to be.

For now, let’s assign grades for what was the final OKC Thunder game of 2017-18.