End of Thunder Season Becomes Hard to Weather
I’ve tried quite a few times to start this Thunder recap/overview. It’s extremely difficult to sum up this game, or the season in a vacuum.
The Thunder got the unexpected contributions from role players in the form of Darius Bazley and America’s favorite James Harden stopper, Luguentz Dort. Bazley came off the bench and hit 2/3 3’s and played solid defensively. While Dort had a career game putting up 30 points (!) and holding James Harden to 4/15 (1/9 from deep) shooting.
The Thunder got the aforementioned bad game from Harden, and a bad 4th quarter from Russell Westbrook who started the game 8/12 and shot 1/8 in the 4th.
Thunder’s Clutch Run, Runs Out
Heck, the Thunder somehow against all odds had possession with 1.1 on the clock down only 2 points.
Yet, they still fell short.
The team that had led the NBA (by a wide margin) in Clutch Time net rating all season, just couldn’t capitalize in the biggest game of the year.
Blame goes all around. There were sloppy turnovers. Bad decisions. Missed shots. Defensive lapses.
Yes, the Houston Rockets won this game, thanks in part to the single good thing Harden seemed to do in blocking a potential go-ahead 3 from Dort.
But still, I just can’t allow myself to get upset about it.
From the offseason when I woke up in the middle of the night with news that Paul George had been traded, to Jerami Grant going to Denver for a bag of chips, to Russ (the heart and soul of this franchise being traded to the team I hate the most (and ultimately beat us), to the “experts” giving us a .2% chance to make the playoffs… I had little to no hope for this team.
Chris Paul had other plans. When told by head coach Billy Donovan and GM Sam Presti they had a plan that would allow him to rest, CP3 responded with the now iconic phrase, “I just want to hoop.”
The mantra ran throughout the team. A team that struggled so terribly at the beginning of the season finally figured it all out and made a push throughout the back half of the season to put themselves into playoff contention.
It’s easy to get disappointed with the finish, and we will inevitably move on to “what do we do now?”, but for now at least, lets just appreciate this team for what they are and what they did in a season where people continually wrote them off.
Until next time, Thunder up!