A new low, as the Oklahoma City Thunder dropped an ugly one to the Orlando Magic, 121-108. It was night with a lack of effort defensively from the Thunder, and too many stretches where Oklahoma City just could not get a bucket. With this win, the Magic snap a 9-game losing streak, as the Thunder have now lost three in a row. Those three losses are to the Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, and Orlando Magic.
Tonight began with a slow start offensively for Oklahoma City, as they found themselves down double digits quickly. They also turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter, four of those from Russell Westbrook.
The Magic put up 31 first quarter points, and that really set the tone on how this game was going to go. They caught fire and from there on never looked back.
Even when the offense was rolling, particularly in the second quarter, the Thunder just couldn’t get stops on the other end. The Magic put up 28-plus points in all four quarters, shooting almost 60 percent from the floor.
Aaron Gordon led the way for Orlando, putting up 40 points along with 15 rebounds. Steven Adams was in foul trouble all night, and Gordon took advantage.
Adams only played 10 first half minutes with foul trouble, and the Thunder defense was very bad when he went to the bench throughout the game.
The game began to get out of hand after a dismal third quarter offensive performance by the Thunder. They went four and a half minutes of game time late in the third without a point, and Orlando responded by expanding their lead to double digits.
“I thought we made some strides offensively, like to see us with a little more stamina and consistency for the 48 minutes,” Billy Donovan said.
“But again, 108 points with the way we play defense is normally a pretty good number” Donovan said.
For perspective on how bad Thunder were at times on offense, there was a stretch in the third quarter that span into the fourth quarter where Oklahoma City missed 17 of their 18 shot attempts. Orlando found themselves up 20 early in the fourth quarter and cruised the rest of the way.
Even with those offensive woes, Donovan is right in 108 points should be enough. But as bad as the offense was at times, the defense was just not there for most of the game.
Westbrook gave it all he had in the fourth quarter, hitting five of his six three-point attempts and attacking relentlessly. He finished the night with 37 points, 20 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.
After the game, the broadcast showed a very dejected Westbrook sitting on the bench as the rest of the team headed to the locker room. It seems this really rough start to the season could be taking its tolls on the team.
At some point, the Thunder have to figure something out. With them being 20 games in, this is the time teams start to find an identity but with this team, it doesn’t feel that way. Thunder now have a few tough games ahead and could find themselves on a bad losing streak if they do not put something together quickly. Up next is the Minnesota Timberwolves at home, who have defeated the Thunder twice this season by a combined five points.
Keys to the game
Rebounding was not the problem tonight, even with Adams in foul trouble. The Thunder out rebounded the Magic by 11, and grabbed a massive 21 offensive rebounds as the Magic only got two. Usually in these type of games, the Thunder win comfortably, but the defense made this outcome different.
Less is more: F
The Thunder once again gave up way too many points, and found themselves on the losing end. The defense was hard to watch at times, with it being an effort problem more than anything on that side of the ball. As Oklahoma City gave up 121 points tonight, they now are 1-8 when giving up 100 points or more.
Get to the line: B
Oklahoma City did get to the line 30 times, with them attacking the rim very well in the first half. But that changed in the second half as they started to settle way too much, leading to them going cold and Magic blowing this game open.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!