The Thunder slipped again into the sixth seed within the Western Convention on Tuesday evening with a loss to the shorthanded Warriors, leaving themselves in considerably perilous place heading into the ultimate three video games of the season. Oklahoma Metropolis holds only a half-game lead over the Timberwolves in seventh and a one-game lead over the Pelicans in eighth.
Falling into both a type of spots would imply going through both the Warriors or the Rockets within the first spherical, and going through the very actual chance of an early exit from the postseason. Irrespective of who they face, whether or not it’s Golden State, Houston, Portland, or anybody else, the Thunder desperately want their star acquisitions this summer season to seek out their taking pictures kind.
Carmelo Anthony has struggled all season with effectivity, going by way of suits and begins of showing to “determine it out” in relation to his function earlier than regressing as soon as once more. Because the All-Star break, ‘Melo is averaging 13.6 factors per recreation with a 37.three/38.four/68.zero taking pictures cut up. What’s odd is that his three-point proportion is increased than his season common, however his subject aim and free throw percentages have cratered.
Extra regarding for the Thunder and their playoff prospects is the droop Paul George has discovered himself in since All-Star. George is averaging 19.1 factors per recreation and has seen his taking pictures splits plummet to 37.1/28.9/86.1. Contemplating his pre-All-Star break percentages had been 44.9/43.three/80.1, it’s a reasonably astonishing drop off. On Tuesday evening, George was brutally sincere with the assembled media about his taking pictures woes following a 5-of-19 efficiency within the Thunder’s loss towards the Warriors.
“I’ve received to determine one thing mechanical in my shot,” George stated. “I’ve had struggles all through the season and my profession taking pictures. It’s all simply having the ability…not making pictures. I don’t know what it’s. It simply feels humorous. Capturing the ball feels humorous. So I’m working with our trainers to try to determine it out. However I don’t really feel myself taking pictures the ball. … It’s simply my taking pictures interval. I don’t know what’s stiff, what’s tight. One thing’s occurring with my taking pictures.”
It’s not probably the most encouraging factor to listen to out of a star participant per week and a half earlier than the playoffs are going to start, however hopefully for the Thunder and George shifting ahead he can pinpoint that challenge and make a repair rapidly. With George and Anthony struggling to shoot the ball, the workload is as soon as once more falling on Russell Westbrook to try to carry the offensive load down the stretch, which as we realized final postseason is a system that has a ceiling to how far it may take a workforce.
That’s not a knock on Westbrook, however merely the best way of the fashionable NBA the place defenses can power a workforce to lean on somebody apart from their major star within the postseason. It’s why each title workforce in recent times has had a number of stars or a system predicated on ball motion just like the Spurs (and, you realize, additionally they had some nice gamers). The Thunder hoped they’d remedied that downside by including George and Anthony, however barring a dramatic change from these two come playoff time, it could be extra of the identical in Oklahoma Metropolis.
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