Alonzo Adams-USAT

When the smoke cleared, the Thunder were left wondering what the heck happened. Oklahoma City blew a 16-point lead en route to a 101-95 loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

It’s almost like deja vu. Last season, the Thunder blew an 18-point first half lead as they also were beaten at home by the Celtics. The Celtics are super young, but boy are they talented. An array of Celtics blitzkreiged the Thunder in the second half, with Marcus Morris scoring 19 points in the second half as the Thunder gave up SIXTY-SEVEN points in the second half. That’s not a typo. It’s almost identical to last season’s blown lead. The Thunder gave up 64, losing Boston 101-94.

Too many eerie things came to mind for Oklahoma City. They couldn’t hit free throws or three-pointers, two big things in any sports basketball professional setting. The superduo of Russell Westbrook and Paul George were pretty invisible in the fourth. It was Patrick Patterson that stepped up. While that’s nice, you really need Russ and PG to be apart of the battle when it counts.

Oklahoma City shot 39.2 percent in the second half. They missed six free throws and were 2-of-9 from beyond the arc. They turned it over eight times, 16 for the game. There were all of the red flags that have led to the 0-4 start to the season, rearing their head in the most clutch of circumstances. Oklahoma City cannot afford these stupid mistakes in these thinning margins.

Then, there’s the questionable decision making from Billy Donovan. The head coach, often under the microscope is being second guessed a lot. Especially in a state where the most winningest football team in all of the land just fired their defensive coordinator mid-season. One of the big differences between what happened and would could’ve happened is if Westbrook nails the jumper, the Thunder go out and tie the game. It’s a shot Westbrook has hit numerous times in his career. We’ve celebrated the exact same shot. Probably from the exact same spot. They get a second chance with George’s three-point attempt but nope.

There are big questions into the team right now and rightfully so. However, the Thunder lost this game. Oklahoma City could’ve made free throws; not turned the ball over or just down right made some shots. Sure, Boston did their thing but in the end, this loss; as embarrassing as it is; is on Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City will play the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. The Thunder will try to avoid an 0-5 start. They’re the only winless team in the Western Conference.  The 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks started the season 0-4 but finish the season 67-15. Anything could happen.

Keys to the Game

Perimeter: F

Boston was 0-of-11 from deep in the first half but it’s the second half that draws the F. Oklahoma City struggled again from three and the Celtics nailed 11, yes 11, second half threes to beat the Thunder. Oklahoma City has to figure out the defensive thing where they don’t play really bad defense for 24 minutes. How about good defense for 48 minutes? Maybe average for 48 minutes? Please?

Free Throw Shooting: F

Yeah, I could go on and on but I won’t. This was unacceptable from everyone. Steven Adams missed four and the Thunder’s super duo missed a handful. It’s quite bad that a team, who once was on the verge of setting the NBA’s single season free throw percentage is at the bottom of the league. Make take some more attempts in practice? I don’t know, really.

Ball movement: F

Only 19 assists for the Thunder, who were already at the bottom of the league. The stagnation shined brightly as the Thunder’s last second play calling found some bricks to build a house. Oklahoma City has share the ball. I don’t know whether to blame Westbrook or Donovan for this. So often the Thunder, in key situations, despite the roster turnover, finds themselves reverting back to just old habits of standing around and watching Westbrook try to do it all.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.