The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Atlanta Hawks 141-138, and while the three-point margin does not seem like much, the scoreboard does not indicate what kind of game this was for the Bricktown boys.
While the OKC Thunder entered this game with the longest winning streak in the NBA, having just knocked off the best team in the league, the NBA's scheduling malpractice netted the Thunder their 10th loss of the season.
Throughout this game against the Atlanta Hawks, the OKC Thunder never led, or even tied the game up after the 0-0 seal was broken. A 10-0 Hawks run to start the contest really set the tone for what the night would have in store for OKC.
Eventually, the Hawks ballooned their lead to 20 points before consistently maintaining a 15+ point advantage throughout the majority of the night.
NBA Scheduling malpractice costs the OKC Thunder their winning streak in Atlanta against the Hawks.
It was clear from the opening tip that the schedule costs the Thunder. Oklahoma City did not land in Atlanta until 4:14 after going down to the wire against the Celtics. This game tipped off less than 24 hours after OKC's biggest win of the season.
It was no surprise that OKC did not have their legs underneath them, missing short, lacking energy on the defensive end, getting out efforted on the glass, but that was a byproduct of the way the NBA set up this stretch for OKC.
While you have to give credit for Atlanta for taking care of business, the bottom line is this was a "scheduled loss" a popular term in NBA circles because of events like this.
As the Thunder did not land in Atlanta until 4:14, the Hawks have not played a basketball game since Sunday prior to the tip-off of this matchup. You will rarely find a more distinct rest advantage in throughout the NBA season.
This opens up a brutal stretch for the Thunder with 11 of their next 14 games on the road; five back-to-back sets in January.
A 17-4 run to close the game allowed the Oklahoma City Thunder to crawl back into this contest, having a wide-open three from Isaiah Joe at the buzzer to try to push this game into overtime. That fight should be praised for OKC, who had many chances to fold throughout this 48-minute contest.
Ultimately, the Thunder dropped a game that was always going to be an uphill battle; in the grand scheme of an 82-game season, it does not matter because these types of things happen every year.
In fact, with Minnesota's loss to New Orleans, the Thunder did not lose any ground in the Western Conference standings after stumbling against the Hawks.