Views from OKC: 2017 is a cursed year, but bring on the Rockets!

Jan 4, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Ramon Sessions (left) steals the ball from Oklahoma City Thunder guard Semaj Christon (6) during the first half at the Spectrum Center. Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

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Thunder drop second straight to start 2017

“After losing a tight, competitive game on the road to the Bucks that they maybe probably should’ve won, the Thunder essentially repeated the exercise against the Hornets tonight. With 5:39 left, the game was tied. With three minutes left, OKC was down three. It was going to be about stops and execution, which really just means, can Russell Westbrook make his shots?”

That last sentence isn’t good. Why is it that the Thunder can play great team offense in the first 45 minutes of than revert to Russell Westbrook ball. He’s has played INCREDIBLE in crunch time this season, but that style simply doesn’t win games in the long run. Billy Donovan HAS to work on running sets through other players (i.e. Victor Oladipo and Steven Adams) just to throw opponents for a different look. Teams are starting to clamp down in crunch time and we’ve seen that the last two games.

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Moving on and previewing Thunder @ Rockets tonight

“Harden is also having an extraordinary season: His eight triple-doubles are second to Westbrook’s, and as of Sunday, he actually had more double-doubles than Westbrook. But it is not as if the Rockets are superior to the Thunder simply because Harden is subtly winning the superstar matchup. Houston has more talent.”

When the New York Times says your team is apart of the Game of the Week, you listen. They were spot on with their analysis though. Although they are both relatively new teams, they have a true disdain for each other. You obviously have the Patrick Beverley-Westbrook beef, but it goes beyond player rivalries. The Rockets and Thunder have been compared all season because of their MVP candidates, and the role players and superstars alike want to prove whose team is better. It’s going to be veryyyyyyyyy interesting television.

So…how do we figure out if this season is a success?

“The Thunder entered the season with the most young talent on the roster since Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Serge Ibaka were in their first years as professionals. Cameron Payne, Alex Abrines, Domantas Sabonis and Josh Huestis are all in the first two years of their respective careers, and now that the Thunder wouldn’t compete for a championship, they would try to develop each of the young players.”

First off, shoutout former Thunderous Intentions Expert Shawn Woods. Our time barely overlapped, but he left me with an incredible staff to build the foundation. Thanks Shawn.

At this point I have fundamentally stopped caring about the Western Conference standings. Sure I still look them up daily, but at the end of the day this year is all about developing the Thunder’s prospects. We forget they are the fifth youngest team in the league with the third youngest rotation. So stop fretting about getting homecourt in the first round. If it happens, great. If not, that’s fine too (as long as Abrines, Jerami Grant, Payne and Sabonis have shown significant growth).

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