For a fan it’s really easy to get wrapped up in the momentum and excitement of the game. After all, the man that broke Oklahoma City’s heart was on the other side of the court and our new favorite son was giving him the business most of the night. It was exciting and it was fun and we can all wear our little cupcake shirts and smile and feel good tonight because Russ and the Thunder finally got what we felt like we needed; a win over those Warriors and that traitor Kevin Durant!
Lets take a moment to soak it all in and enjoy it.. Okay the moment is over. Now its on to Detroit with our sub .500 record (8-9) and our pathetic 5 wins so far against Western Conference teams good for 8th place in the conference after acquiring two All-Star players in the off-season to accompany the reigning MVP of the league.
While the win against GSW feels good for fans, it meant little more than getting a W against a western conference opponent. Don’t get me wrong, OKC needed that win, but not because Kevin Durant was in the house, OKC needed it because there is a lot more riding on this season being a success, than just sticking it to KD. Fans should be mad that it took playing GSW for this team to get up emotionally for a game this season.
Westbrook signed his extension, but PG could walk at the end of the year. Melo, while not the All-Star he used to be, still hasn’t found a way to just fit in to the offense which should have every Thunder fan cringing. The reality is, this should be a top four or 5 team in the West. Melo should be catching and shooting or looking to pass, not playing iso ball. PG should be leading the team in shots taken and Westbrook should not have to still be putting up Triple-Doubles for the Thunder to win games. As a fan these things should have you ready to blow.
It starts and ends with Billy D. The man should not be coaching in the NBA and it shows. When people criticize Sam Presti, this is something that isn’t said enough, but firing Brooks and handing the keys to the lambo that was OKC at the time to a coach with zero NBA coaching experience was the biggest mistake he has made. The knock on Scott Brooks was he couldn’t draw up plays, when the reality was at the time they weren’t running what was drawn up most the time in the closing minutes and the team was young and still learning how to close those games. Donovan seems to not only lack that ability, but never can figure out how to stagger a line up on top of it.
As soon as the Thunder gain a lead, the starters are pulled and the lead is depleted. This tells us two things; Firstly it tells us someone like Melo should probably be coming off the bench so that there is some semblance of scoring from the second group and that way he can be ball dominant and it not hinder the team like it does when he is out with the first group. Secondly it tells us the young talent and second team have not developed the chemistry or the skills to be effective when the first group is off the court which is where a coach in the NBA makes his money. I get the first team running and gunning, but the second group should be playing way better than they do and this falls on the coaching staff.
There is a long way to go, but fans should be praying that maybe tonight something clicked and they figured it out. Hopefully beating Golden State spring boards the Thunder on a desperately needed win streak. The last thing this team can afford is to seed low and quickly exit the playoffs. It is Western Conference Finals or bust. George isn’t staying for a team that gets bounced in the 2nd round and Melo won’t be too far behind. The Thunder have cashed in all their chips. If this season goes array and George leaves, the Thunder are going to be in full reboot mode. Thunder fans have been spoiled for a decade, they aren’t ready for what could be.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Cameron Wake