Houston beat the snot out of the Thunder in the second half and we’re all still reeling a bit. We don’t like to over react as we’ve seen the Thunder get beat bad and come back and win the series.
Westbrook had nine turnovers and the Thunder really fell on the second half, only scoring 33 points. It wasn’t the best showing in the first game of the playoffs. There were a lot of things we saw that could’ve been seen as good, even if they’re few and far between. We saw a couple of things that could be improved to help win this series. Here are there adjustments needed to win Game 2:
STEVEN ADAMS HAS TO PLAY BETTER
After one hell of a playoff performance last year, the big Kiwi has struggled since the All-Star break. His defensive rating has plummeted to 106.8 post ASB and it was a god awful 120 in the loss to the Rockets last night.
It’s not a coincidence when the Thunder are winning, Adams is performing at an optimal level. His defensive rating is 97.2, which is almost a three full points under the median of 100. When the Thunder lose, his defensive rating is north of 113 and his offense rating is invisible.
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said in the preseason not to get your hopes up on Adams and his performance compared to last year’s playoffs and I think for the most part we’ve done that. However, his offense has been just inconsistent. His defense is the important thing that Oklahoma City needs. Nene cannot dominate like Oklahoma City has allowed him to do.
VICTOR OLADIPO HAS TO SHOW UP
I give Victor Oladipo a pass for Game 1. It’s his first ever playoff game and there are jitters and other things players who haven’t reached this level cannot expect or adjust to. it happens. However, if he’s worth his contract and his starting position, he has to show up. Going 1-of-12 from the floor is flat out unacceptable.
The Thunder need Oladipo to show up. He’s scored at least 20 points 18 times this season. When the Indiana alum hits the 20-point mark, Oklahoma City is 15-3. It was really shown in the first meeting with the Rockets, Oladipo scored 29 points and the Thunder rolled to victory. I’m not saying he needs to score 29, but definitely need him to play well. At least average.
Oklahoma City doesn’t get outrebounded very often. In the regular season, Oklahoma City was only 7-13 when they had the same amount or less rounds than their opponents. They were 40-22 when they won the rebounding battle. Obviously, they’re a bad 0-1 this playoffs but there is hope.
Houston had 14 offensive rebounds and largely scored on every single possession when they did so. Even if you cut that in half, you cut the score in half and the Thunder really lose by 14-15 but still respectable. Oklahoma City, who averaged 12.2 offensive rebounds and 46.6 rebounds overall. Both are ranked first in the NBA. However, all season lows for the Thunder in second chance scoring and offensive rebrounds. So, we expect the Thunder to do better.
If Houston dominates the glass like this all series long, the Thunder will get swept. They’ll get beat at home in front of the best fans in the NBA. We’re looking at Adams and Co. to step up and grab boards they’re supposed to be grabbing. When you’re the best at something, let’s see it. Stop getting beat to all those loose balls.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!