The OKC Thunder begins the second half of the season with a lackluster effort against the Heat. Three key takeaways offer insight int why this one got away.
Although the OKC Thunder began the second half as one of the pleasant surprises of the season their recent run has born witness to three losses in four games.
Every team will go through ups and downs especially at this time of the season — the dog days of winter. Players, coaches, and management simply want to maintain their competitive edge and reach the break healthy.
OKC was among the hottest clubs having posted the West’s best record in December but maintaining that edge can be both physically and mentally draining.
Defeating the Rockets was a huge victory but since then the Thunder haven’t looked like themselves. Part of the issues are self inflicted and the other part is directly related to the quality of the opponent.
Of the three recent losses two teams rank top three in defense (Raptors, Lakers), two are top three in perimeter efficiency (Heat, Raptors) and two rank top eight offensively (Lakers, Heat).
They all currently own home court seeding and the Raptors just got back three of their core contributors. That’s tough to beat on the best of days but with the Thunder displaying a bit of winter blues and coughing up early leads its resulted in uphill battles.
Against the Heat it was a wash rinse repeat of the previous two losses and the inevitable loss.
With that let’s look at the three key takeaways from the game.