Thunder Comes Up Short (Again) Against Golden State

Sunday, November 23rd 2014, 10:18 pm
By: News 9

Same song, different verse.

Oklahoma City found itself in another close game Sunday night, and like the many before it this season, this one ended in a loss, as the Thunder fell to Golden State, 91-86.

The loss is the sixth in a row for Oklahoma City and drops the Thunder to 0-5 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. When the Thunder was battling with just eight players on the roster at the beginning of the season, it was inspiring to see the fight, even when OKC came up short.

Now, it's becoming more depressing, especially as the Thunder looks up at steadily rising wall it has to climb to make the playoffs this season. The Thunder is now 3-12 and has dropped five of the past six losses by seven points or fewer. Oklahoma City also briefly led in the second half against Golden State, the 13th time in 15 games the Thunder has held a lead in the second half this season, a remarkable statistic given the Thunder's 3-12 record. It also shows how much Oklahoma City continues to fight despite the brutal hand it's been dealt in the first month of the season.

Sunday was the latest example, as the Thunder had a chance to tie with 10 seconds left, but Andre Roberson airballed a 3-pointer and Golden State hit two more free throws to end the game. What Roberson—a terrible 3-point shooter—was doing on the court in that situation is anyone's guess (Thunder coach Scott Brooks cited rebounding), but he had a wide open look. Although he proved there was plenty of reason for him being wide open.

The Warriors came into the game on fire, blowing out opponents and off to the best start in franchise history. But the Thunder got the game it wanted, an ugly affair where neither team shot well and only OKC's inability to make shots down the stretch and a surprising night from Marreese Speights allowed the Warriors to come out with a win.

Speights has been a thorn in the Thunder's side multiple times in his career and Sunday was the latest example. On a night when the Warriors shot just 35.5 percent and didn't hit a 3-pointer in the second half, Speights was fantastic, hitting 11-of-18 shots for a game-high 28 points and seven rebounds.

OKC held Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to a combined 11-of-35 shooting and 6-of-17 from 3-point range, both well below their season averages. Thompson ended with 20 points and Curry had 15 points.

Reggie Jackson led the Thunder with 22 points and nearly had a triple-double with 11 rebounds and eight assists. Jackson didn't shoot well (10-of-26), but that didn't prevent him from continuing to try at every opportunity. Jackson's night was indicative of the Thunder's night as a whole: good effort, but not quite enough.

The Thunder shot 35.6 percent as a team and hit just 3-of-17 from 3-point range. Serge Ibaka also struggled from the field, hitting 5-of-17 shots for 16 points and eight rebounds. He also had five of OKC's 12 blocks.

The lone offensive bright spot for OKC, as far as efficiency goes, was Anthony Morrow. Morrow scored 28 points in the Thunder's last win against Boston on Nov. 12, but has been MIA since then. He came off the bench Sunday to score 16 points and also grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting. The Thunder needs more performances like that from him.

The effort was there once again on Sunday, but it didn't produce a win for the Thunder. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are participating in practice again, but it remains to be seen if the hole they will encounter when they return will be too big for them to overcome.