Russell Westbrook, Paul George Speak Out After Thunder's Collapse vs. Hornets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - NOVEMBER 12: Russell Westbrook #0 and Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder high five during the game against the Dallas Mavericks on November 12, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to be among the top challengers for the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, but they fell to 12-14 on the season Monday with a shocking 116-103 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Charlotte was spurred by a 22-2 run and poured in 64 points in the second half.

"It's up to us, honestly," Russell Westbrook said, per Royce Young of ESPN.com. "Just gotta figure it out and play the same way every night."

Young noted Carmelo Anthony left the locker room without speaking to reporters after the loss, but Paul George remained and stressed it was important to not shift into "panic mode."

"For the talent that we have, obviously this is not where we want to be," George said, per Young. "But we're going to remain optimistic, though, about the future and what we can do. Once we can find a way to really do it night in and night out, it's no panic mode, but we have to start playing better. It's getting to a point where we can't allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we're going to figure it out, we can say all that. But at some point it's gotta stop."

Young highlighted issues in the third quarter specifically, noting the Thunder have been outscored by 9.9 points per 100 possessions in the 12 minutes after halftime this year. Charlotte added to that with a commanding 40-22 advantage in Monday's third quarter.

"It just seems we're a completely different team that last four or five minutes, and that's the way we've got to battle for 48 minutes," George said.

It is still only December, and Oklahoma City is just a half game behind the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot. There is plenty of time to turn things around, and there is something to be said for the necessary growing pains as the team attempts to fuse three typically ball-dominant pieces together in the same offense with Westbrook, George and Anthony.

The Thunder were starting to do just that with a 4-1 mark in their previous five games before Monday's collapse. They will have the opportunity to get back on track against George's old team, the Indiana Pacers, on Wednesday.

Related

    Roberson Is a Load-bearing Piece for Thunder's Defense

    Oklahoma City Thunder logo
    Oklahoma City Thunder

    Roberson Is a Load-bearing Piece for Thunder's Defense

    FanSided
    via FanSided

    Reclaiming Nerlens Noel Star Potential

    Oklahoma City Thunder logo
    Oklahoma City Thunder

    Reclaiming Nerlens Noel Star Potential

    Thunderous Intentions
    via Thunderous Intentions

    Setting the Agenda

    Oklahoma City Thunder logo
    Oklahoma City Thunder

    Setting the Agenda

    Oklahoma City Thunder
    via Oklahoma City Thunder

    Report: Butler, T-Wolves Rift Started After Loss to Rockets

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Butler, T-Wolves Rift Started After Loss to Rockets

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report