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In the past week, the Thunder have lost to two Western Conference title contenders: the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Not a great way to head into the playoffs.
The Thunder lost to the Clippers 92-77 on April 16. The Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant super combo was held to 33 points.
Sunday night on national television, things got worse for the Thunder. Their third-best player, James Harden, got knocked out by a vicious elbow from Metta World Peace.
No, the elbow was not a basketball play and World Peace deserves to be suspended, but knocking Harden out of the game was a big reason why the Lakers came back and won. In a way, World Peace helped out his team. Harden was on fire, finishing with 14 points in only 13 minutes of gameplay.
The Thunder only had two scoring options down the stretch, Westbrook and Durant. Because Westbrook struggled—3-of-22 from the field—the Thunder lost.
How will this team win the NBA championship if Westbrook, Durant and Harden each have to score in order for them to have a chance?
Like the Heat, the Thunder are too athletic for some teams to handle, making them look like a superhuman team. But in the playoffs, when the pace of the game slows down, other players on the Thunder are going to have to step up. The "dribble, dribble, jack up a jumper" routine won't work; it's time to execute real plays.
And how come no one ever points the finger at head coach Scott Brooks?