Billy Donovan says Thunder needs to 'capitalize' on shots at the rim
The bounce pass split two Trail Blazers defenders and flew straight into Steven Adams’ hands. The Thunder center rose over the rim and slammed down a dunk attempt. Only it didn’t go in.
The ball hit the rim and flew out.
Adams wasn’t the only one. Jerami Grant also missed a dunk in the Thunder’s 111-98 Game 4 loss to the Trail Blazers on Sunday. Others missed layups. Portland outscored OKC 36-22 in the paint Sunday.
“Those things sometimes happen,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Monday, before getting on a plane back to Portland, “but those are the kind of shots you want, at the rim. We just didn’t finish really well in around the basket for a good portion of the game. And for our team, when we’ve been kind of up and down shooting, when you get those kind of shots you’ve really got to capitalize on them, and I didn’t think we capitalized as well as we needed to.”
The Thunder made as many 3-pointers as Portland in Game 4, and it took OKC just five more shots to hit that mark. When facing sharp shooters Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, coming that close to matching their efficiency from beyond the arc was a success.
But OKC shot the same percentage (37.5) from inside the arc.
“It’s not really a mental lapse,” Grant said. “Missing layups, you just do it, you know? So we’ve just got to fix those next game and just keep moving forward.”
Perkins weighs in
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Former Thunder center Kendrick Perkins said he sees a “dysfunctional team” in OKC, after the Thunder’s loss Sunday.
Perkins joined Mike Greenberg and Seth Greenberg on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Monday to talk about, among other things, his former team falling behind 3-1 to the Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
“Offensively we don’t know what they’re running,” he said. “Defensively, they can’t figure it out. We don’t know if they’re trapping CJ, we don’t know if the they’re trapping Dame. The role players are not stepping up right now. Russ (Russell Westbrook) is struggling. I don’t know what’s going on with Russ.
“But to me, Oklahoma City have to hang their hats on the defensive end. I feel like right now they’re getting in a battle that they can’t win and try to out-shoot Dame and CJ and the Portland Trail Blazers for those 3-point shots. They should own the paint. Every game they should dominate in paint points. I think it starts from the top. With OKC, it starts at the top with the coaching. I think at the end of the day you have to put players in position to be successful.”
Perkins played for the Thunder for four years, from 2011 to 2015.
Donovan on the team's mentality after falling behind 3-1 in the series: “It’s obviously the first team to four games, and they’re a lot closer to that than we are. But we have to play a game tomorrow. And the biggest thing is to try to get the next game back here. We’ve got to put everything we have into this game, like we have every other game.”