Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Got a Ways to Go

Last night the Thunder took on the Golden State Warriors in what can easily be considered the Thunder's worst game of their existence so far. The Warriors pretty much had their way with the Thunder dominating them 122-102. This game exposed that the Thunder defense, which appeared pretty solid in the first two games, may not be as strong as originally hoped.

The Thunder gave Nick Collision and Desmond Mason the game off. Johan Petro got his first start of the preseason and John Lucas saw his first action of the preseason. Damien Wilkins was the Thunder's lead scorer for a second game (he also led the Thunder against the T-wolves) with 23 points. He shot 50% from both the field and the three point range hitting 3 of 6 three pointers.

Kevin Durant tallied up the Thunder's first double-double of the season in the game: 16 points & 14 rebounds. He had another less than stellar field goal percentage only hitting 4 of 16 shots from the field. Durant missed all four of his attempts beyond the three point arc.

The Thunder attempted many more three points this game than the first two: 16 compared to 5 (T-wolves) and 6 (Kings). However when you're getting smoked, that tends to be the case. They hit five of the three pointers, but other than Wilkins, only Derrick Byers made any (2). Five different players attempted 3s.

The Thunder's 102 points was tops for the preseason so far, so it's pretty safe to say that the Warriors let up on defensive with the considerable lead. Still it's good to see the Thunder crack 90 points (previous high was 85) let alone 100. I was beginning to worry about the team's ability to put points on the board.

Russell Westbrook and Chris Wilcox bounced back from their off performances against the Kings and combined to score 30 points (15 a piece) off of the bench. Both shot well from the field with Wilcox shooting a little better (Westbrook: 5/12; Wilcox: 6/11). They tied for third for most points for the Thunder on the night.

The defense, as mentioned before, was a letdown and makes one wonder if its perceived strength is just a farce. The Warriors shot 48.5% from the field (roughly 5% higher than what the Thunder were allowing) and got off 99 shots which is over 20 more than the average in the first two games. The Warriors captured 53 rebounds (10 more than the Thunder's average) and were the first team to out-rebound the Thunder.

Hopefully this defensive misstep was just an off-night and not an indication of things to come (emphasis on the word hope). The Thunder have four more preseason games to go (including two in the next two days with the game on Tuesday being their only "home" preseason game) hopefully that's enough time to get the team ready for the regular season.

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