Plenty Of Blame To Go Around For The Thunder


Thursday, May 22nd 2014, 12:06 am
By: News 9


After an absolutely embarrassing—and really, there's no other word for it—112-77 loss in Game 2 to the Spurs, it's clear the Thunder's struggles to this point in the series cannot be attributed to a single thing.

There's plenty of blame to go around for this one.

Obviously, the injury to Serge Ibaka has impacted this series in a big way. The Thunder's interior defense is awful without him and OKC doesn't have a third option on offense either. But Ibaka's absence doesn't excuse Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for shooting a combined 13-of-40 from the field and scoring 15 points apiece.

It certainly doesn't excuse the Thunder's defensive stopper, Thabo Sefolosha, from allowing his man to score 22 points with ease like Tony Parker did on Wednesday. It doesn't excuse Sefolosha from going scoreless in the first two games of the series.

It doesn't excuse Thunder coach Scott Brooks from blame for throwing random lineups on the court and hoping something positive comes of it. It doesn't excuse the Thunder from allowing the Spurs to shoot 50 percent for the game, allowing Danny Green to hit 7-of-10 3-pointers or excuse a 53-38 rebounding edge for the Spurs.

Serge Ibaka didn't cause every one of those things to happen, so let's not pretend like this all falls on his plantaris muscle.

Ibaka's absence handicaps the Thunder from a lineup standpoint, but anyone with a brain can see that putting another big in the starting lineup makes the Thunder even more inept offensively. There's something to be said for defense, but you sometimes forget that you can't win the game if you don't score either.

Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison together in the same lineup is an absolute disaster offensively for the Thunder. Durant and Westbrook don't trust those guys to score, so they can be excused for not passing the ball and moving the ball. Plus, even if they did, those three are just as likely to turn it over as they are to safely return the ball back to the Thunder stars.

There are so many things for Oklahoma City to correct before Game 3, it's a downright blessing these two teams don't play again until Sunday. There is plenty of time for the Thunder to figure something, anything, out to counter the onslaught of San Antonio. However, it may be little, too late.

The simplest thing the Thunder can do is make sure there is more offense on the floor at all times. This will be a difficult thing for Brooks to do because he is so stubborn in his ways. He never mixes things up to a surprising degree.

What he needs to do is sit down and figure out lineups that could work. None of this throwing random lineups on the floor during the game and hope something magical happens. That's not going to happen against a team as good as San Antonio, especially when they are playing as well as the Spurs are.

The time for excuses has past. It's time for the Thunder to figure something out and make this a series again. The Thunder may not be good enough to beat the Spurs four times as currently constructed, but they're darn better than the embarrassment they suffered Wednesday night.