The OKC Thunder lost badly to an undermanned Los Angeles Lakers team. There is a strong possibility that they were emotionally drained by the previous game against the Houston Rockets.
As site expert Tamberlyn Richardson pointed out after the Los Angeles Lakers loss, the OKC Thunder put in an absolute stinker. Part of the reason for this was the second half of the first quarter. Mike Muscala and Dennis Schroder were not up to the task of keeping the Thunder in the game.
It leaves you to wonder how different the game would have looked if Nerlens Noel was available. However, he was not and the Thunder played one of their worst game of the season. However, there is another possible explanation the Thunder did not have their usual fighting spirit.
The previous game against the Houston Rockets was an emotional one for the Thunder. They utilized a large amount of emotional capital in an effort to not let the return of Russell Westbrook overwhelm them.
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The result was an emphatic win for the OKC Thunder but what did it take out of them? Chris Paul a.k.a. Mr. Clutch had his old team come to town and he wanted to make a point. Considering his career was at a crossroads before he was traded to the Thunder, he was hyped; despite his calm exterior.
He would also have been emotionally drained after this game considering that Russell Westbrook probably saved his career last season. The crowd was awesome during the Rockets game, giving their all during the Westbrook tribute and then giving the Thunder their all during the game.
This has the impact of carrying the OKC Thunder players to a higher effort. There has to be a come down at some point.
Had LeBron James or Anthony Davis played against the OKC Thunder, the game would have been different. They would have hyped themselves up for the match. They would have felt that they did not have to get to their usual level with the two stars not playing.
It shows that these guys are human and I love them all the more for it.
Next up the OKC Thunder play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday – check back this morning for our game preview.