Why Oklahoma City Thunder fans shouldn't be worried after their 142-137 overtime loss to Real Madrid.
Author Douglas Adams has a small quote from his famous novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that simply says, "Keep calm and don't panic".
These words ring especially true after the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to Real Madrid 142-137. This game was the first real taste the world had of Oklahoma City after the departure of Kevin Durant, and everyone will be quick to freak out after losing to a non-NBA team. But, there were a few things to look at when it comes to the game that the Thunder will address before their second game against FC Barcelona to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The biggest reason people should calm down is that Russell Westbrook (22 minutes) and Steven Adams (9 minutes) both barely played in the game against Real Madrid. Like the NFL, players that are proven commodities will barely touch the floor during the preseason due to the fact that there is absolutely no point in risking injury in a game that does not count.
The team will go wherever Westbrook goes and with him playing limited minutes tonight the Thunder lost their biggest scoring threats and offensive creator. They were also missing their best rim protector in Adams. The lack of both Westbrook and Adams was really felt by the Thunder today and allowed Real Madrid to exploit it.
The other biggest problem shown by the Thunder today was the lack of perimeter defense. Real Madrid shot 20-37 (54.1%) from beyond the arc, which is unacceptable for an NBA team; especially with teams like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers who can unload from 3-point range at any given moment.
Players like Andre Roberson need to step up to help lock down the perimeter from here on out.
Despite the overtime loss, there were some positives for the Oklahoma City Thunder. In his Thunder debut Victor Oladipo was a monster; he finished with 34 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds in just 33 minutes of play. Seeing the main piece of the Serge Ibaka trade paying off for the Thunder immediately helps soften the blow of losing Kevin Durant.
Also making his Thunder debut was rookie big man Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis finished with 7 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 29 minutes of play. While the stat line seems pedestrian the biggest thing that jumps out are the four assists Sabonis tallied. Having a willing passer for a big man will greatly help Oklahoma City's offensive rotation, and if Sabonis continues his smart passing he will for sure earn a spot in Billy Donovan's rotation.
Enes Kanter also had a huge game off the bench for Oklahoma City with 29 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes of play.
This loss for the Oklahoma City Thunder to Real Madrid should not be taken lightly, but it should not be viewed as the end of the world. Expect for the Thunder coaching staff to adjust accordingly and for the team to lock down the perimeter and continue to evaluate a lot of their young talent in their next preseason game against FC Barcelona.
And most importantly, remember to keep calm and don't panic.