The Slow Starts are Killing Us

By Wade Haugen

The Thunder were hoping to wrap up their three-game home stand with a victory on Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena as the Indiana Pacers came to town. The Pacers were very depleted coming in, missing their All-Star small forward Paul George, along with their sharp-shooting wingman C.J. Miles. These injuries, along with the fact that the Pacers were coming in with a 0-7 record on the road so far this season, made a Thunder victory seem inevitable.

The Pacers had other plans, however, and went on to defeat the Thunder 115-111 in overtime.

The Thunder started the game slowly, something that is beginning to become a concerning staple with this team. The Pacers lead 31-22 at the end of the first quarter, with 14 of their 31 points coming off Thunder turnovers.

Oklahoma City bounced back in the second quarter, including going on a 9-0 run to end the second quarter which pulled the Thunder within four at 58-54 to end the half.

The Thunder played from behind all night, but were still somehow able to come back at the end of the game and send it to overtime. Russell Westbrook officially tied it up when he hit a three-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining to tie the game 103-103.  Jeff Teague drained a three-pointer to begin overtime, and the Pacers never looked back from there.

The biggest bright spot for the Thunder against Indiana was the massive output that came from the second unit.  Oklahoma City’s bench ended the game with a season-high 45 points on 17-31 shooting.

When asked about the bench’s performance tonight, Billy Donovan said, “I thought they had really good energy. I thought when the bench came in they contributed a lot tonight. “

Russell Westbrook dazzled once again, finishing the game with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists. Sunday night’s performance was his 5th triple-double of the season, which is equal to the amount of triple doubles from the rest of the league combined.

At the end of the day, Oklahoma City was unable to overcome 20 turnovers, along with 15 offensive rebounds allowed, against a very depleted Indiana squad. The Thunder will look to bounce back from this loss on Tuesday night when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.

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