The Oklahoma City Thunder were riding high on Tuesday, knocking off the best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, and stamping themselves as a force in the Western Conference. The Thunder were the talk of the NBA town on Wednesday, where they had to play again in Atlanta.
After the Thunder did not land in Atlanta until Wednesday morning at 4 am, we were extremely sluggish. The Hawks controlled the contest for the majority of the 48-minute game, until a 17-4 rally late got OKC within three.
As Isaiah Joe's triple rattled out, the Thunder dropped a game that talent-wise they shouldn't have. However, it was explainable, given the emotional win the night before, travel issues, and fatigue.
OKC Thunder fans are ready to hit the panic button at the recent skid, but they should hold off.
After a day off, the OKC Thunder had a trip to Brooklyn to take on the Nets, who they beat earlier in the week in Oklahoma City on New Year's Eve.
While many fans assumed the Thunder would get back on track, OKC arrived in Brooklyn and slept walked through the game. The Nets got up 32 points, with Dennis Smith Jr collecting 13 rebounds as a reflection of this team's effort level.
To follow up a thrilling win and a 10-3 month of December, with a couple of road duds against middling Eastern Conference foes, it is easy to say why fans are upset.
However, it is important to note that this is life in the NBA. Some nights, you do not have it. While it is frustrating to have that type of night after a scheduled loss by the NBA, every team goes through it. The Almighty Celtics lost to the lowly Charlotte Hornets earlier this season in the same situation.
As fans hit the panic button, I am reminded of Sam Presti's quote from this offseason: "The sky falls on every NBA team at least two times a year."
While it might be premature to call this the first sky-fall event, there is certainly cause for Chicken Little to panic.
Suppose that Presti-ism did not tickle your fancy. In that case, it is important to reflect on ole reliable "We have to finish our breakfast," which Presti said in the face of hitting the acceleration on team-building after last year's surprise run.
While the December docket made fans dream of a title run in June, the reality is this team is still not at that point yet. There are plenty of lessons to learn, like how to handle a tough January stretch which features five back-to-backs and a heavy-road split.