Kevin Durant isn’t happy, and he shouldn’t be. No one on the Thunder is after an utterly inexplicable collapse against the Clippers Wednesday night. The Thunder blew a 22-point second-half lead in the 103-98 loss. In fact, Oklahoma City had a 17-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter, so it’s more than fair to say this was a meltdown of the late-game variety.
However you want to describe it, though, the Thunder are searching for answers. Durant cited discipline issues, which may have been directed toward Russell Westbrook‘s desperation shot in the video above.
“They made plays, we didn’t. They were disciplined, we weren’t,” Durant told ESPN.com. “We want to be a great team. We’re fooling ourselves. If we just want to be a great team, the way we’re playing, we’re fooling ourselves. We want to win a bunch of games in the regular season, that’s cool, but we’re fooling ourselves with the way we’re playing.”
The Thunder are always going to live and die by Westbrook’s shot in at least some capacity, but there was no need for him to rush the would-be tying 3-pointer — not with a good 9 seconds left on the clock. That’s the textbook definition of undisciplined.
Oklahoma City has lost five of its last seven games and won just four of its last 10. The latter category is tied with Houston for the worst 10-game stretch among current playoff teams. Closing out tight games has been a hard area for the Thunder. Regardless of Westbrook’s shot, discipline is an issue if you’re coming up short in multiple close games. As Durant noted, this team is too late in the season for a wake-up call. There needs to be a more focused, all-around approach from the Thunder moving forward.
“We’ve already lost too many games we’re supposed to win,” Durant continued. “We can’t just keep talking about wake-up calls. We’ve got 20 games left. We can’t have no wake-up calls at the end of the season.”