The last time I went to a Thunder game the team was 1-10 and they had lost all four games I attended. Now ranked dead last with a record of 2 wins and 23 losses, the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the 24th ranked Los Angeles Clippers.
While the Thunder may have been in the Ford Center, there was no lightning to be found. The game started close with a score of 4-4, and five minutes later the Clippers were up by 14. The rest of the night was classic Thunder basketball, with our team getting within striking distance and then blowing any gained ground with boneheaded play after play. The Thunder missed over a dozen opportunities to tie the game or take the lead, but instead opted for taking impossible flailing fade away jumpers, three-point shots from way outside the arc, or drawing fouls and then missing their free throws. Desmond Mason (one of our favorite players) apparently attended the Shaq School of Free Throw Shooting; his technique was terrible, the results were predictable.
The Thunder have to do something extraordinarily idiotic to surprise me these days, which unfortunately they typically manage to do. Tonight’s forehead-smacking event came from Kevin Durant, who fouled Clipper Baron Davis on a three-point attempt with 1.8 seconds left to go in the third quarter. Davis’ shot had no chance of going in; instead, he sunk all three free throws, taking the wind out of the Thunder’s sails and boosting their lead heading into the fourth quarter. Final score: Clippers 98, Thunder 88.
As Luke once said about Darth Vader, “there is good in him, I feel it.” Jeff Green swished his free throw attempts with ease and Westbrook helped rally the team while behind, but with 20 turnovers (8 in the fourth quarter), 10 missed free throws and a shot percentage of less than 50%, no one player could save the sinking ship tonight.
One thing I should note; I don’t know if it was the weather or if the Clippers aren’t a big draw, but the Ford Center was noticeably empty tonight. Our row had 25 seats and only six were occupied. There were six rows of 25 seats above us and during the fourth quarter, they were all empty. My friend Bob at work said people were giving tickets away the last time he was downtown. Another friend confirmed the same thing this evening.
In related news, the worst NBA record of all time is 9-73, earned by the 1972/73 Philadelphia 76ers. With a 2-24 record, we’ve currently won 7.69% of our games. A 9-73 record requires a team to win 12.32% of their games. Maybe we’re on track for a record this year after all.