What is there to say? Everything went as planned. The Thunder hung tough for virtually the whole game, but inconsistent jump shooting and extremely poor execution of course doomed them in the end. A stale stretch in the second quarter and a bad fourth quarter basically summed up the Thunder's 99-88 loss in Atlanta tonight.
OKC shot terribly (37 percent) all night long and the worst part is, it didn't really adjust. The Thunder weren't hitting shots but instead of changing it up and driving to the hoop or trying to get to the line, OKC kept hoisting the jumpers. And they kept not falling. I think the poster-boy for this season is Earl Watson. Unbelievable underachieving, awful jump shooting and pathetic decision making. If there's one thing that makes me want to put my face in boiling water it's Earl Watson dribbling up the floor, taking one step inside the three-point line and hoisting a 20-foot jump shot with 18 on the shot clock. And lucky for me, he did it multiple times tonight.
Russell Westbrook did what rookies tend to do: He reverted back and played like he did at the beginning of the season. But as we all know and as we've all said (numerous times), that's the growing pains of a 20-year-old point guard. He wasn't good tonight, but that doesn't mean he won't be good next time out.
And I guess Scott Brooks' text messages are working. Jeff Green poured in another strong effort on the glass, grabbing 14 boards. Kevin Durant continues to play efficient basketball. Seems like every box score lately is looking about the same for him (in a good way): 28 points, 10-19 from the floor, 2-3 from three, six rebounds. He's doing his part. Over the past eight games, he's averaging almost 28 a game. And he's just 20. I can't wait to see where's he at in three months, much less three years. He's getting better daily.
Atlanta is a top five team in the East and OKC is a bottom two team in the league. It turned out like it should - especially with the game being in Atlanta. Against contenders, this is what Thunder fans have to hope for - staying close and not getting embarrassed. So by all accords tonight, mission accomplished.
Oklahoma City gets a few days off and then returns to action Friday against the Pistons.