The Oklahoma City Thunder ended a four-game homestand with a poor defensive performance, but they have a good chance to bounce back on the road.
The Thunder look to avoid their second back-to-back losses of the season Tuesday when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats, who are coming off an especially anemic offensive showing.
Oklahoma City (19-9) had its five-game winning streak snapped with a 113-110 loss to Phoenix on Sunday. The Thunder had held opponents to 89.7 points per game on 41.1-percent shooting while winning the previous three games of their homestand, but allowed the Suns to shoot 57.5 percent.
“We didn’t play the defense we need to win an NBA basketball game,” coach Scott Brooks said. “I’m disappointed in that. … We couldn’t stop them when we needed to.”
Kevin Durant(notes) scored 28 points, but shot just 8 of 19 and missed 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Russell Westbrook(notes), Nick Collison(notes) and Jeff Green(notes) each scored 19 points as Oklahoma City reached the century mark in scoring for the fourth straight game.
Oklahoma City has done a good job at bouncing back after losses this season and a game against Charlotte (9-18) doesn’t figure to change that. The only time the Thunder lost back-to-back games was Oct. 31 and Nov. 3 against Utah and the Los Angeles Clippers.
After this contest, Oklahoma City will visit New York on Wednesday to complete a quick trip against Eastern Conference foes. The Thunder are 8-3 against teams from the East, giving up 97.5 points in those contests compared to 104.7 against the West.
Oklahoma City will look to put up similar defensive numbers against a Charlotte team that is among the lowest-scoring teams in the league with 92.2 points per game and has been even worse recently. The Bobcats lost 108-75 to Washington on Monday.
After shooting 56.3 percent in the first half, the Bobcats, who have lost three straight and five of six, made only one field goal in the third quarter - tying a franchise low for any quarter - as they were outscored 31-11. Charlotte has averaged 79.8 points in its last five games and hasn’t scored more than 85 during a three-game skid.
“We’re just terrible on all cylinders,” said Stephen Jackson(notes), whose 13 points were a team high. “Even myself, I played terrible and had six turnovers. As a team we’ve been playing bad. At the end of the day, (the coaches) job is to prepare us and our job is to go out there and play. He’s one of those coaches that if the team’s not playing well he likes to take the blame. I’m one of the same guys. I’m not playing well.”
The Bobcats have won three straight at home against the Thunder, but are 1-8 in the second game of back-to-backs, losing the last five.
These teams split their two-game season series in 2009-10. Durant totaled 56 points in those contests.