The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Indiana Pacers 152-95 on Saturday night, falling to 21-42 on the season.
Though OKC has grown accustomed to playing without Luguentz Dort as of late, they carded perhaps their worst performance to date, struggling to contain the Pacers offense. Late into the third quarter, Indiana was still shooting 70 percent from the field, a mark that’s simply unacceptable.
Life won’t get any easier for the Thunder, as the Western Conference leading Phoenix Suns roll into town Sunday evening.
Mark Daigneault might opt to bin the tape from Saturday’s performance, as it was tough all the way around.
Former Thunder enjoy their return to Oklahoma City
Domantas Sabonis and Doug McDermott combined for 57 points in their return to the Chesapeake Energy Arena, leading the charge to down the Thunder.
Sabonis only needed the opening half to log a triple double, entering the break with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to his name. The Lithuanian big was too much for OKC’s centers, as he finished with 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting with 19 rebounds.
McDermott led all scores with 31 points, tying his career high from back when he was with the Chicago Bulls.
Oklahoma City defense leaked all night
Any time you give up 152 points, it’s never a pretty outing.
But the efficiency at which the Pacers dismantled the Thunder was alarming.
Finishing shooting 66 percent from the field, the Pacers also shot 21-of-33 from 3-point range, burying any chance the Thunder had.
Understandably, there is going to be a drop off missing their start defensive stopper in Dort, but allowing seven different players to reach double figures, with three of them topping 20 points, is a recipe for disaster on any night in the NBA.
The Thunder will have to tighten up the defense tomorrow night if they want to avoid getting embarrassed again versus the Suns.
OKC took better care of the basketball
One of the lone positives of the night, the Thunder bucked their recent trend of turning the ball over in droves.
Only coughing it up 14 times as a team, Oklahoma City still moved the ball around decently enough, racking up 23 team assists.
Though the shots didn’t fall for the Thunder, cleaning up the turnovers will be a big step for the team going forward as they look to balance an aggressive mentality with taking care of the basketball.
Oklahoma City won’t have to dwell on the loss for too long, as they get right back at it tomorrow against the Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns. Tip-off from the Chesapeake Energy Arena is slated to start at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening.