It hasn’t been the season that many expected for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who made drastic improvements to their roster during the offseason.
The Thunder have been hovering at or below .500 for stretches of this season and their latest loss has the team’s frustrations at a boiling point.
“For the talent that we have, obviously this is not where we want to be,” Thunder forward Paul George said.
“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.”
The Thunder again saw a game get out of hand, this time against the Charlotte Hornets in a loss on Monday night.
“As crazy as this may sound, I was really, really, really excited with the way we played offense tonight. I really was,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.
“I thought we generated really good shots tonight. It wasn’t a great shooting night for us, but I think the guys’ intentions of trying to do the things we’ve asked them to do — in terms of ball movement — I thought they really stayed with it for 48 minutes. I was really encouraged by that part of it.”
“It’s up to us, honestly,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said about the team turning things around for the better.
“Just gotta figure it out and play the same way every night.”
“We’re not getting off to a great start and it’s just playing its way all the way through to when we get late in games, and for whatever reason we try to turn it on,” George said. “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.”
“I think sometimes people look at players, or look at a team, and they kind of say what they’re forecasting for it not even knowing all the dynamics it takes to even be a good team,” Donovan said.
“And I think when you’ve got half the roster that’s different, these guys have done a really good job sacrificing, they’ve done a really good job building relationships and communicating, they’ve done a really good job working, and they’re trying to get to know each other on the court.”
“Everybody’s giving up something of themselves for the benefit of the team, and I think at some point that will pay dividends for us,” Donovan said.