Slow Start Dooms Thunder

Erik Gee

As with any 82 game season, you will experience different trends throughout the year. For the Thunder, the third-quarter use to be the killer. Now it's the first. For the third time in four games, the Thunder have found themselves outworked to start a game, and as a result, they end up on the losing end. Friday, the Heat got the better of Oklahoma City 115-108. 

After Friday's loss, Billy Donovan was asked what's connecting the slow first quarter starts. "We're responding to the game instead of dictating the game," Donovan says there's not enough resistance from the Thunder at the beginning of games, and that teams can score too easy.  The Heat outscored Oklahoma City 40-26 in the first quarter on 65 percent shooting. 

Miami was getting a good amount of those points in the paint. Even with the return of Nerlens Noel Bam Adebayo was able to net 21, while as a team the Heat won the battle inside 44-34.  Maimi did an excellent job of forcing the Thunder into taking threes and low percentage twos with their zone defense. Donovan thinks the Thunder got too stagnant in the first half and settled for jump shots, but did a better job in the second half of working both inside and outside.   

Terrance Ferguson left the game after playing 7:18. Ferguson was suffering from illness, according to the Thunder. Donovan did not have an update after the game.  

The Thunder will get a few hours rest before facing the Carmelo Anthony and Trailblazers on Saturday.  Portland is 4-6 in their last 10 and will be on the second of a back to back themselves after facing the Mavericks on Friday. Tipoff is at 8 pm on Fox Sports Oklahoma.