Royal Beatdown: Thunder Crushed In Sacramento


Thursday, January 8th 2015, 12:41 am
By: News 9


Apparently, Oklahoma City thought Sacramento's hilariously named Sleep Train Arena was inviting the Thunder to take a 48-minute nap Wednesday night.

Two nights after a terrible performance against Golden State, OKC turned in an even worse performance against the Kings, suffering a humiliating 104-83 defeat.

The Thunder were discombobulated and in disarray from the opening tip until the final buzzer. Nothing went right and everything the Thunder did was completely baffling. In fact, it brought back memories of how helpless the Thunder looked at times during Oklahoma City's inaugural season back in 2008.

Yes, it really was that bad.

Here are some numbers that show just how bad it was.

OKC shot just 32.6 percent from the field and was 9-of-30 from 3-point range. The Thunder had 24 turnovers and just 16 assists. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 11-of-39 from the field.

It was bad enough that it wouldn't be surprising if new OKC acquisition Dion Waiters requested to be sent back to Cleveland.

Ok, that's not going to happen, but you get the point.

Durant led the Thunder with 24 points, while Reggie Jackson had 14 and Russell Westbrook had 10. Westbrook was downright terrible all night, turning the ball over, taking terrible shots and just refusing to any semblance of offense. He finished 3-of-19 from the field, 0-of-5 from deep and had seven turnovers to just four assists.

Serge Ibaka had 11 points and 10 rebounds and also fell just two blocks shy of a triple-double, finishing the game with eight swats.

Waiters scored four points in his OKC debut, shooting just 1-of-9 from the field.

The trio of Rudy Gay, DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collision lit up the Thunder all night, finishing with 28, 23 and 24 points, respectively. Cousins added 15 rebounds and even took three charges in less than three minutes at the beginning of the third quarter.

Wednesday night was Thunder basketball at its worst; when everything that can go wrong does. Oklahoma City already relies on too many jump shots, but the problem is magnified tenfold when those shots aren't falling like on Wednesday.

That's the problem when there is no offensive system in place. The overreliance on Durant and Westbrook is fine when shots are falling, but catastrophic when they're not.

On the flip side, the Kings got to the rim with relative ease and even though Sacramento didn't shoot the ball particularly well (39.1 percent), they got to the foul line a lot thanks to a ton of OKC fouls.

While the foul discrepancy was grossly in favor of Sacramento, it wasn't the product of poor officiating, but rather the Thunder's poor shot selection and the Kings' excellent plan of pounding the ball inside and taking high-percentage shots.

In the first half—which determined the pace for the entire game—Sacramento shot 22 free throws compared to just six for the Thunder. OKC got to the line more in the second half to make the final tally not as lopsided—28 to 23 in favor of the Kings.

This two-game stretch is a bad sign for the Thunder, which finds themselves four games behind Phoenix for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference. It still seems likely OKC will find its way into the playoffs, but in a grueling West, that's no guarantee and the Thunder would be wise to not mess around.

It would be hard to picture a lower low coming for the Thunder this season. Maybe the embarrassing nature of Wednesday's loss will be the kick in the pants OKC needs right now. If not, there's no telling how bad things could get for the Thunder.