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Following their 102-94 road loss to the Denver Nuggets Thursday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder held an extended closed-door meeting to talk things out.
The Thunder are 4-7 on the season, have lost four straight and now have an 0-6 record against Western Conference teams.
The players told reporters postgame at no point did things get heated during the meeting and that it was good for everyone to get their feelings across and not hold everything in.
“It was just good to get everything out on the table,” said forward Paul George, who had 13 points in the loss. “Especially where we’re at right now, it’s no good if we’re bottling it up. Because then we could carry it over to the next game and the next game. Just leave everything out in the open.”
The Thunder built an 11-point lead against the Nuggets in the first quarter and were clicking on all cylinders. Denver, however, used a huge second quarter run to tie the game and took over in the fourth — where OKC has been abysmal this season.
“That’s been the stats the past couple games,” George said. “The first quarter is a blowout and it looks like we’re gonna handle a team. And then they make that adjustment and we don’t match the adjustment. And I think it’s on us. It’s not the coaching, it’s on us as players to be better.”
Many expected the Thunder to struggle during the final stretches of games, at least early on, due to the fact that George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony have all at one point been the go-to guy.
It’s clearly going to take some time for the three All-Stars to learn how to co-exist and play off each other instead of ball-watching.
Westbrook was 6-for-22 from the floor and 1-of-7 in the fourth quarter for a total of 13 points. Anthony scored a game-high 28 points (10-of-20) in his return to Denver, going 3-of-5 in the fourth.
George, who played the entire final period, missed the only shot he took.
“Obviously every year, every season you go through adversity,” Westbrook said. “Right now we’re going through ours. We have to put a whole game together.”
Anthony, who has been part of a lot of losing and dysfunction over the years with the New York Knicks, knows communication and sticking together are key during times like this.
“You have to talk about it. You have to look at it,” Anthony said. “You have to be up front with everybody. Everybody’s gotta be held accountable for what’s going on. It can either go two ways. We can let this one sit in our heads and think about it or we can put it behind us and move forward and get ready for tomorrow. That’s the beauty of being in this league and having so many games.”
The Thunder host the Los Angeles Clippers tonight and will look to get things back on the right path.