Oklahoma City is losing the regular season, starting 8-12. If the playoffs started today, the Thunder would be fishing in Cabo.
Carmelo Anthony, what is the mood in the Thunder locker room after some ugly losses, including to the Magic most recently? Via Royce Young of ESPN.
“Nobody is moping around, nobody is frustrated. I think guys are angry. I think guys are pissed,” Anthony said. “That just comes from your competitive nature, wanting to win games — understanding what we have over here, the talent level that we have over here and not being able to put it together right now. So that’s where the anger comes in at.
“I think in this game you almost have to be angry when you’re losing basketball games. The way we’re losing basketball games, it’s more on us than anybody else. The anger part comes in, and I think when you’re angry you show that you care. It’s different than being frustrated. Being angry and being frustrated are two different things.”
However, angry and frustrated are cousins, and it’s not a big leap from one to the other. If Thunder players are not frustrated, you can be sure their fans are.
It’s still too early to give up on OKC. Far too early. Sure, the Thunder have blown close games and had ugly fourth quarters (particularly defensively). However, they have the point differential of a team that should be 13-7. They have the third-best defense in the NBA. This is a team playing better than its record, and the fundamentals point to the Thunder turning things around, likely sooner rather than later.
The offense is still a work in progress, they lead the league in isolation sets, and those have too often ended with a long midrange jumper. I have written/said before (and I am far from alone) that this Thunder team looks like the 2010-11 Miami Heat when LeBron James first joined that team — those stars played next to each other, not with each other. That team got off to a slow 12-8 start and looked sloppy. That Heat team finished with 58 wins and made the NBA Finals.
These Thunder likely do not reach the level of those Heat teams, but OKC is primed for a turnaround.