The Oklahoma City Thunder are in trouble, and a 116-103 loss at home to the 10-16 Charlotte Hornets on Monday night didn’t provide any signs of life. It was Charlotte’s first road win since Oct. 30. Nicolas Batum, who averages 10 points per game and is second on the team in assists, didn’t even play.
Everyone but Andre Roberson was in action for OKC, though.
The Thunder shot just 41 percent from the field as a team, assisted on just 16 of their 35 made shots, and the Hornets outscored them, 40-22, in the third quarter alone.
Something has to change or this team could be in danger of missing the playoffs.
The Hornets are lottery-bound and beat OKC easy
This was a game that could have brought the Thunder back to .500, but instead they tossed what should have been a simple win to a team with uneasy playoff aspirations.
All five of Charlotte’s starters scored in double figures, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and Marvin Williams’ 18 points on eight shots. The Hornets starters simply outplayed their All-Star opponents Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
Kemba Walker went for 19 points and nine rebounds, and Dwight Howard had 23 points and seven rebounds as well. This was a well-rounded effort for the Hornets.
OKC longs for that type of output from its starting unit.
What’s going wrong for the Thunder?
There’s no consistency to Russell Westbrook-Carmelo Anthony-Paul George lineups
Despite having three of the world’s best scorers on the floor at the same time, the Thunder’s offense has been among the worst 10 in the league — even worse than the Brooklyn Nets. Westbrook, Anthony, and George each grew accustomed to playing “hero ball” of sorts for their respective teams last year, but none of them have seemed to grow out of it.
The team ranks No. 27 out of 30 in assists per 100 possessions, according to the NBA’s advanced statistics. That’s bad.
The superstar’s tendency to play iso-ball has crushed the team’s scoring efficiency as well. They rank No. 29 in field-goal percentage at 43.6 percent, just above the worst team in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls. (They also rank No. 28, shooting 34 percent from three-point range).
If not for Steven Adams propelling the team’s offensive rebounding numbers to No. 2 in the NBA per 100 possessions, this offense may totally be in shambles.
Will Carmelo Anthony ever move to the bench?
The vet laughed off the question when it was asked last week, but it may need to seriously be considered. OKC’s bench combined for 19 points on 22 shots Monday night. That’s horrendous.
If the starting lineup isn’t going to share the ball, is there a point in playing all three of the team’s stars at once anyway. Moving Dwyane Wade did wonders to the bench in Cleveland. Maybe OKC needs that same boost.