Following a 115-111 loss in Game Two to the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder now find themselves in quite the hole facing a 2-0 deficit. It has become clear how much of an issue the bench will be for the Thunder throughout the rest of this series. Halfway through the third quarter Russell Westbrook went to the bench to rest as the Thunder held a 12-point lead. This is where things got ugly for them.
With Russ on the bench, the Rockets immediately went on a 9-0 run to bring them within three points. Regardless of Westbrook hopping off the bench yelling at Billy Donovan to put him back in, Donovan chose to keep him on the bench to end the quarter. Once the fourth quarter started the Rockets seemed to be in the driver’s seat the rest of the way. Westbrook was getting zero help from his teammates and tried putting the team on his back, however he could not get the job done going 4-18 from the floor in the fourth.
Frustration in the Frontcourt
Billy Donovan found himself in a predicament tonight not knowing which big men to play tonight, given that none of them were producing on the floor. Steven Adams found himself in foul trouble throughout the game. Taj Gibson seemed nonexistent during his minutes on the court. Domantas Sabonis came in the game and quickly missed every layup he took. Enes Kanter has been too much of a liability on defense this series, so Donovan was hesitant to give him too many minutes. Jerami Grant, who is a stretch-four at best, has been their most productive in their front court providing hustle, rim protection, and just sheer athleticism to stretch the floor. Coming into this series I predicted that the Thunder would have to dominate the paint and take advantage of their size if they wanted to win but they have been doing almost exactly the opposite of that thus far.
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