The second half wasn’t pretty nor was it fun to watch. The Oklahoma City Thunder (4-4) blew an 18-point halftime lead and eventually fell to the Boston Celtics (7-2) on Saturday night 101-94.
This was a bad loss.
It’s hard to pin point what went wrong for the Thunder. Was it their lackadaisical defense or the fact they couldn’t hit a shot? It could be both. However, credit the Boston Cetlics for coming out and hitting shots. They could’ve rolled over but didn’t. They fought hard.
Oklahoma City led 55-37 at halftime after a massive end of the half highlight which saw Andre Roberson block a Celtic’s shot. Westbrook rushed down the floor, nailing the three. Everyone was on cloud nine as the Thunder were beating the socks off the hottest team in the NBA. The Thunder were shooting 48 percent, holding the Celtics to 31 percent.
“Who we can be was out in front of us the first 24 minutes,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “And what we can be on the other end of it, the second 24 minutes.”
The shots stopped falling for Oklahoma City and they started falling for Boston. The script flipped in the second half as Boston outscored Oklahoma City 64-39 in the second half, nearly doubling their first half total. The Celtics also shot 55 percent in the second half.
Shots didn’t fall for the Thunder as Al Horford and Kyrie Irving lit up the Oklahoma City sky like it was the Edmond Fourth of July parade. They created great mismatches through screens and ball movement. Three times in the final two minutes, Boston was able to switch Steven Adams on Irving. All Irving did was blow past Adams for the easy bucket.
“That’s who we are, that first 24 minutes,” Anthony said. “That first half is who we are, that’s what we established ourselves to be. In the second half, coming out in that third quarter, it was just too many mental lapses. That’s not who we are. We know what type of team we are, and that first half we showed that.”
The Big Three combined to shoot 19-of-57 for the game (33.3 percent) and 9-of-32 in the second half. Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony struggled in the second half, with Anthony struggling for the game. Anthony finished 3-of-17 on the night. While he rebounded well, that’s about the only thing well he did. Actually, all of the Big Three had a double-double in some fashion.
“It’s good to struggle now, this is our first year together,” Paul George said.
When the Big Three struggle like this, you’re probably going to lose more games. You can have one struggle, maybe even two, but in reality when all three struggle, we’re going to see glimpses and more of these. We need at least one of them to be one. Tonight, they all struggled.
I’m sure there were some positives but frankly, this is a bad loss. When you blow an 18-point lead at home, you get a bad loss sticker. It’s like a frowny face but with all the contempt on it from what should’ve happened and not what happened.
“We’ll be totally fine,” George said.
Oklahoma City will now try and regroup quickly as they head back on the road for another road trip. It doesn’t get any easier as they go to Portland on Sunday. That’s an 8 p.m. tip-off at the Moda Center. They’ll travel to Sacramento and Denver to cap off their road trip. The’ll be home on Friday night against the L.A. Clippers.
Keys to the Game
If I wanted, I couldn’t made this strictly about the second half stats but I didn’t. Though, Boston outrebounded Oklahoma City 26-22 in the second half and by one overall. Oklahoma City drops to 0-4 when they’re outrebounded by their opponent. Credit Boston for really limiting Oklahoma City one-and-done.
Share the Ball: B
Westbrook had 11 assists but can you imagine if more shots fell in the second half? The man might’ve had 20 assists. This wasn’t on the lack of sharing tonight, that’s for sure. Oklahoma City has to find a way to get shots to fall.
Get to the foul line: F
14 attempts. Four. Teen. An Absoultely travesty of a number. There are multiple factors going into this. The officiating, not calling it. That’s going to happen. Being aggressive. The Thunder settled for a LOT of mid-range jumpers. This is what Boston wanted. Care. I don’t think Oklahoma City cares enough this season about it. However, they’re not called free throws for any reason. Westbrook needs more than two attempts.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!