Found November 02, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Two games into the season and there are real issues. Seriously.
Not to panic or anything, but this kind of start is pretty close to worst-case scenario for the Thunder. Kevin Durant shooting a lot and not getting much other help.If it was Kobe Bryant, people might say he's not getting his teammates involved enough. However, Durant doesn't have a lot of the negativity thrown his way. But a 9-of-24 effort and then 22 free throws to get to 42 points against Utah would have to be considered high volume. Not like there was a lot of ball movement, either. The Thunder had nine total assists. That was still good enough to beat Utah by himself. It didn't happen against Minnesota. Durant was just 4-of-11 and scored 13 points.
He needs help. We knew that heading into the season, though. No secret there. So far, nothing doing. Count on teams loading up on Durant and seeing if there are any other players wearing blue who can chip in. No one did against Minnesota and the result was a blowout loss.
Hasn't been Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is 7-for-28 from the floor. Blame it on the fact there aren't as many openings now that Westbrook is out, but Ibaka has to be better. He has to, or else Durant will suffer.
Jeremy Lamb was 7-of-15 against Minnesota, but a lot of that came late. He scored 16 points, 14 in the second half. Aside from Lamb, only Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison shot better than 50 percent. Umm, that's not good.
Let's not get too down yet, though. Last year, the Thunder started 1-2, and that included a home loss to Atlanta. With Russell Westbrook. After that home loss, OKC won eight of nine. The Thunder's next four opponents failed to make the playoffs last year.
No one is saying Reggie Jackson has to be as good as Westbrook, but he can't be dreadful, awful. Jackson had seven turnovers against the T-Wolves. Possibly he's feeling a degree of pressure of having to be a guy who scores. Sure, that would help, but just don't turn it over and he'd be fine.
Oklahoma City is averaging 12.5 assists per game and 17.5 turnovers.
We know Scott Brooks loves to talk about defense being the No. 1 priority, but this offense has to improve. You know Durant won't struggle for long (right?), but the rest of the team isn't helping much yet. The Thunder are shooting 37.8 percent as a team. That's 29th in the league.
Does this kind of start mean Durant presses more?
Steven Adams had a great preseason. Slow start in the real games, though. He's 21 in the plusminus category.
Chalk it up to just not having a solid, reliable sixth man, but man, it seems like playing 12 guys against Minnesota and 10 guys against Utah is too many. I'm sure the 34-point third-quarter deficit had something to do with why Brooks decided to empty the bench on Friday night.
Life without Russell Westbrook could be tough. It's early, and the Thunder did win a game on the road, but these aren't the kind of performances that make you think Oklahoma City can beat the really good teams without him.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK
BEST OF MAXIM
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ultra-talented, personable and now world-renowned, Kevin Durant receives adulation at almost every stop the Oklahoma City Thunder make.
His name alone sells tickets in most NBA markets. Fans wait outside the team hotel to snap photos and perhaps get an autograph they'll either sell for a lot of money or place in a prominent spot at their home.
Good to see these two back in action. With a healthy Westbrook, the Thunder should be right in the mix to get out of the Western Conference this year. Thanks to Blacksportsonline for the footage.
After playing for only one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Martin signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves and appears to be enjoying playing with his new mates.
Earlier today, Martin was asked about his current team and he gave a rather candid answer about how much fun it was to play for Minnesota instead of OKC:
Kevin Martin on playing with the Wolves: "This is...
Kevin Martin is happy playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves after spending a season on the Oklahoma City Thunder, as he says it’s more fun to play on a team that doesn’t have anybody “trying to lead the league in scoring.”
According to the Star Tribune:
This is such a fun team to play on. Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here. Everybody has the big picture...
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Love had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 14 points, 10 assists and five steals to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 100-81 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which played surprisingly good defense against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Derrick Williams had...
Forget Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard or any team east of San Bernardino. The most appealing rivalry in the NBA's Western Conference - and probably the entire league - played out in that battle of words, bumps and sublime virtuosity between the Warriors and Clippers on Thursday night.
Some say the Warriors have the most complete starting five in the league. Nobody has...
Kevin Martin, the best player the Oklahoma City Thunder received in exchange for sending James Harden to the Rockets last year, is now in Minnesota, where he’s running alongside a fully healthy Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. Friday night, the Timberwolves demolished Martin’s former team 100-81, which, trust me, isn’t indicative of how much of a blowout it really was. Over the...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Vast potential, packed into a 6.9-second window.
Desperately seeking to provide Oklahoma City some semblance of momentum, Kevin Durant misfired on a contested 3-pointer. Kevin Love tore down the rebound, led Ricky Rubio with an arching outlet pass, then watched his ace point guard bounce a perfect helper to a loping Nikola Pekovic.
The big man lay home two of his...
The stats do not reveal Corey Brewer's worth.
While three teammates recorded double-doubles and the Timberwolves rolled to a 100-81 victory over the defending Northwest Division champion Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center, Friday night belonged to Brewer as much as anyone.
A wiry 6-foot-9 forward who weighs in at 188 pounds, Brewer was assigned to guard Kevin Durant, who...
Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Russell Westbrook had 21 points and seven assists in his return from a knee injury and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a ragged performance to beat the Phoenix Suns 103-96 on Sunday night.
Serge Ibaka added nine points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City (2-1), which won its fifth straight home opener and defeated Phoenix (2-1) for the...
Shutting down one of the NBA's elite players put the Minnesota Timberwolves on the cusp of their best start in 12 years.
Another strong defensive effort against last season's scoring champion should be enough to achieve that feat.
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Russell Westbrook scored 21 points in his return from a knee injury and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a ragged performance to beat the Phoenix Suns 103-96 on Sunday night.
Serge Ibaka added nine points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City (2-1), which won its fifth straight home opener and defeated Phoenix (2-1...
Timberwolves spent a season playing with Kevin Durant on the Oklahoma City Thunder last year following as a result of the trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets. In a recent interview, Martin stated how happy he was to be playing on a team that doesn’t have anybody “trying to lead the league in scoring.”
This is such a fun team to play on. Nobody is trying to lead the...