The Oklahoma City Thunder entered the All-Star break with 40 wins and only 14 defeats. Two games after the break and OKC is still on forty after losing back-to-back home games against Indiana and Cleveland.
Losing three straight at home isn't out of the question, I'll touch on that a few sentences down the road.
I thought after giving up win late to the Pacers last Friday night, the Thunder would come out and play inspired basketball against LeBron and company. OKC looked good in the first quarter but then....?
Defense or lack of it once again rises to the forefront and continues to hamper Oklahoma City. What makes today's game even more frustrating? Kyrie Irving only played 9 minutes, out with flu-like symptoms and the Cavs still won by 23 on OKC's home court. Richard Jefferson played like an All-Star against the Thunder finishing with 15 points off the bench.
If today's game didn't leave a bad taste for the Thunder players, then I'm not sure what will. Today's opponent was ripped at home by Golden State last month, the Cavs lost by 34. Cleveland has responded well since then, maybe Oklahoma City can do the same after suffering this humbling defeat.
Cleveland had six players finish in double-figures in the win against the Thunder at Quicken Loans Arena back in December and once again on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Three Thunder players managed to crack double figures in the points department on Sunday, Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka, needless to say the Thunder bench was a let-down today and Dion Waiters continues to struggle in the starting role while Andre Roberson is out with an injury, to me that maybe the most surprising story line of all. I thought he would use this opportunity to show what he's capable of doing when given the chance, but lately his confidence on the long range shot looks dicey and his drives to the lane have been an adventure. Stronger play from Dion is a must if Oklahoma City wants play deep in the post season.
Now about win number forty-one -- Oklahoma City plays at Dallas Wednesday night, a victory would give OKC a four-game sweep over the Mavs this season, expect Dallas to be fired up for this one. Then on Thursday night OKC plays at New Orleans and the Pelicans could be a tough game if Anthony Davis has anything to say about it. If you ask me, I think the Thunder plays better on the road this season for some reason, maybe they feed off the negative vibe from the opposing fans?
Next Saturday the National Media comes calling again with Golden State riding into Oklahoma City. If OKC can pick up three straight wins, Sunday's loss to the Cavs will be a distant memory. But that's a big IF, I think Dallas and New Orleans will be very challenging considering OKC maybe having some doubts on how good they really are.
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