The Thunder's adjustment to everything has always been "play harder" or "make more shots," but there's something far more complex here. They're paying for their regular-season sins, for their insistence on relying on top-level talent triumphing over everything else. Like Westbrook said, the shots they take are the shots they take -- they either make them, or they don't. While the Spurs are executing with the sharpness of a knife, the Thunder are running their dulled offense and hoping that it's just one of those nights when they go in.
It is impossible to ignore the predicament the Thunder are in, though. They seem unprepared to handle the loss of Ibaka. But how can you really blame them? The regular season doesn't predict the future, but remember, the Thunder did go 4-0 against the Spurs. Remove Chris Bosh from the Heat, David West from the Pacers, or Tim Duncan from the Spurs in the middle of a postseason series and there would be some significant issues.
The Thunder aren't well equipped to cope, in terms of depth and structure. They aren't producing good shots, and their defense is entirely in shambles. It's about far more than the absence of one player, but there is a shellshock element at play here. The Thunder just don't look like themselves anymore.
"We're down 0-2," Durant said. "If they'd have won this game by one point, we still would have been down 0-2. You know, it's easy for you to go hide and run and be negative and clash, but it's hard for you to stay positive at a time like this when we lost by a lot two games in a row. It's hard for you to stay together, but we have a group of guys that's not front-runners, and we'll figure it out."
As 2012 proved, one win can right a ship rather quickly. The Spurs have picked the Thunder apart, humiliating them in almost every way, but a playoff series can flip in a new direction any given night. The Thunder might spend the next few days trying to remind themselves of what they accomplished two years ago, but first, they probably need to remember who they are.
Royce Young's work appears regularly on Daily Thunder, part of the TrueHoop network