We lost and it's easy to point fingers (I do it far too often), but this game was markedly different in some ways that should be noted and also showed some problems we've seen before that could end up going under the radar and not addressed. So let's breath and take a look at a few things.1) The Wolves won the turn-over battle. We only turned the ball over 12 times and only once each by Ridnour and Beasley. Beasley's only TO was the awful inbound pass at the end of the game when it really didn't matter anymore. Luke only turned the ball over once and it wasn't until the 4th quarter. If I'm the coach I make certain every player knows how important this was and how key to success it will be long term.
2) We had 93 FG attempts and the Thunder had only 77 with about an even split of 27 FTAs for them and 26 for us. We are one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, period. When we win the TO battle we are playing at a serious advantage. When this starts to click regularly the Wolves will move from competing regularly to dominating regularly.
3) Pekovic was 4-7 from the field and 3-4 from the line at the half with 11 points. In the third quarter he grabbed two offensive boards and converted them for 4 more points and missed his only shot not resulting from his own offensive board. In the 4th quarter he did not get a shot. The reason this stuck with me was because the last time we played Oklahoma Darko had taken over the game and was scoring effectively and we just stopped going to him half way through the fourth. In the first 5 mins and 20 seconds of the fourth Darko was 3-4 from the field with 2 assists and 1-1 from the FT line. He did not touch the ball again on offense with more than 6 mins of the quarter remaining. Rambis stated after the fact that it was because Oklahoma was fronting Darko and removed him as an option. Darko finished 9-14 3-4 from the line with 21 points. Oklahoma did not remove Pekovic from the game we did. We gave him the ball for 1 shot attempt in the second half. I think this is important because in two games against Oklahoma our Eastern European Bigs combines for 15-24 shooting from the field, 6-8 from the FT line for a total of 36 points. They won't do this against every team, but our Centers can beat Oklahoma in the paint. It doesn't appear we are prepared to let them.
4) Love took 10 shots in the fourth and 4 of them were put back attempts off hit own missed shot where he managed to get the offensive board. This means he had a minimum of 8 shots in the paint. He went to the line once and Collison was whistled for the foul. Ibaka was credited for 6 blocks in the fourth quarter and whistled for 2 fouls one on Telfair and an and one on Beasley. Love's game has many facets, but his post play is designed to draw contact and get to the line. Down low he is an asset when the whistle is blown and a liability when it's not. It suck, but he has no control of this factor. He's still got a lot of other things going for him, but he needs the refs to blow the whistle in the paint to remain effective.
5) Ridnour took 1 shot and had six assists in the first half. His one shot was a circus shot with 15 seconds left to beat the shot clock. He made it and was fouled. It appears we can function just fine with a pass first PG.