Monday, April 24, 2017

Bricks Lead to Brink

I'll just say it. That was one of the worst five minutes of basketball I've ever seen. Stupid fouls, missed calls, turnovers, both teams looked like they just started at the YMCA league.

The worst, which most Thunder fans will agree with, is the foul Jerami Grant committed on Houston forward Nene.

With about 20 seconds to go Steven Adams went to the line with a chance to cut the deficit to just three. But, after making the first free throw Adams went to half court to set up a play of his own. Westbrook began nodding his head and made his way to the three point line, waiting for his opportunity.

Adams return to the free throw line, takes one dribble and throws the ball off the front of the rim. The Thunder center skies for the rebound and throws a pass to a waiting Russell Westbrook. BANG.

The Thunder were down just one point, 108-107. Any way the Rockets played it, OKC would have an opportunity to tie the game unless they really screwed up.

Spoiler: They screwed up.

The Rockets inbounded the ball, where the Thunder immediately should've fouled. They denied the ball to their best free throw shooter (Harden), which was a success. The only poor free throw shooter the Rockets had on the floor was Nene, but he was on the other end of the court.

It didn't really make sense to waste time hoping for a miracle steal, the Thunder needed all the time they could get. But the Thunder did not least not yet. No, Oklahoma City decided to wait and foul Nene as the big went up for a layup. They screwed up.

The only way the Thunder could eliminate themselves from the game at that point was allow a three point shot, or foul on an and-1. Fouling on the inbounds would have gotten rid of both of those possibilities.

Nene made the following free throw, eliminating the Thunder from the game and placing their season on the line Tuesday night.

There's still a chance the Thunder could pull it out (they themselves blew a 3-1 lead last year), but chances are slim. Russell Westbrook needs to pull one last rabbit out of his hat, or rather some teammates that'll contribute when he's not on the floor.

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