OKLAHOMA CITY — Even with one of the most talented rosters in the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder hardly have it all figured out.
For as many clutch victories as the Thunder (15-15) have eked out, there have been just as many disappointing losses from a unit that was assembled as the West’s newest super squad.
Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook have struggled to find a rhythm and an offensive system that works as they head into Wednesday’s home game against the Utah Jazz.
In the Thunder’s close win against the Nuggets on Monday, the shot distribution among Oklahoma City’s Big Three was far from even.
Westbrook attempted 28 shots while George took 13. Anthony attempted only six and finished with four points.
“I’m good with that, if we win. I’m cool with that, man,” Anthony said to ESPN about his shot total after the win. “(Westbrook) had it going, and any time he has it going, we just gotta space it out, play off of him, let him work. The ball will find us. As far as the shots go, there’s going to be nights like that.”
But even with the growing pains, the squad has won three out of its last four games. The Thunder’s past seven wins have all been by six or fewer points.
The Thunder barely squeaked by Denver, winning 95-94 thanks to a fourth-quarter outburst from Westbrook.
Westbrook scored 16 of his season-high 38 points in the final period to help the Thunder win.
Center Steven Adams, who entered concussion protocol after the win against Philadelphia, did not play against the Nuggets. He didn’t practice Tuesday, according to coach Billy Donovan, and is questionable for Wednesday’s game.
While the Thunder might be without their primary big man, the Jazz will be lacking Rudy Gobert, who is out with a left PCL sprain and a bone bruise.
Donovan Mitchell and forward Derrick Favors are questionable with a toe contusion and concussion, respectively. Favors has missed the last two games with a concussion.
Mitchell has been one of the breakout stars for the Jazz this season.
Entering Tuesday’s action, Mitchell, a rookie, was tied with Kemba Walker for the sixth-most points scored in the fourth quarter with 175. But even with Mitchell’s emergence, the Jazz (14-17) are also going through growing pains and are coming off a 120-99 loss to Houston on Monday night.
In his first season in Utah, point guard Ricky Rubio still hasn’t settled in. He’s averaging 3.1 turnovers to 4.9 assists per game. Rubio, who spent six years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is also shooting 29 percent from 3-point range and 39 percent from the field.
“It’s been a different type of game,” Rubio told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s something I have to get used to and it’s taken more time than we thought. But at some point, it’s all going to click and we’re going to get the chemistry down. It has to be a balance between individual and team work.”
Though Rubio is still searching for consistency, the Jazz have gotten production from guard Rodney Hood. He is averaging 17.3 points in his last four games.
The Thunder won the last meeting 100-94 on Dec. 5.