'We’ve just gotta move on': How will Thunder respond after the worst loss in NBA history?

·4 min read

Mark Daigneault and his staff watched the film of the Thunder’s inconceivable 73-point loss to the Grizzlies, but the coaches didn’t dissect the tape with the players.

“The lessons that you want the team to take from that game are self explanatory,” Daigneault said after practice Saturday. “I didn’t see a need to double down on that.

“The feeling that you would try to generate with the film already exists. Letting it breathe I think is almost more powerful than to dwell on the actual visuals of it.”

There’s been plenty of time to let it breathe. Plenty of time to dwell.

The Thunder has had a rare three-day break between the loss at Memphis on Thursday and its next game Monday night at Detroit. The team flew back to Oklahoma City on Thursday night to practice at home Saturday and Sunday before flying north to play the league-worst Pistons (4-18).

How exactly does a team respond to a 73-point loss? Who knows. It’s never happened.

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OKC’s 152-79 loss at Memphis was the most lopsided in NBA history. Think of all the thousands upon thousands of games that have been played in the league’s 75 years. None have been uglier.

“That’s gonna stay in our head for a long time,” Thunder guard Lu Dort said. “We’ve just gotta move on, regroup and look ahead to the next game.”

Teams that have suffered historic drubbings have actually fared OK in their next game.

Let’s take a look at the seven teams that have lost a game by at least 60 points, sorted by biggest defeat.

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Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) shoots between Thunder center Mike Muscala (33) and guard Paul Watson (8) during the second half of a 152-79 win Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.
Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) shoots between Thunder center Mike Muscala (33) and guard Paul Watson (8) during the second half of a 152-79 win Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

2021-22 Oklahoma City Thunder

► 152-79 loss at Memphis Grizzlies (73 point-margin)

Next game: TBD

Final record: TBD

1991-92 Miami Heat

► 148-80 loss at Cleveland Cavaliers (68 point-margin)

Next game: 118-112 (OT) win vs. Indiana Pacers

Final record: 38-44

1997-98 Portland Trail Blazers

► 124-59 loss at Indiana Pacers (65-point margin)

Next game: 102-101 loss at Boston Celtics

Final record: 46-36

1971-72 Golden State Warriors

► 162-99 loss at Los Angeles Lakers (63-point margin)

Next game: 121-101 win at Baltimore Bullets

Final record: 51-31

1991-92 Sacramento Kings

► 153-91 loss at Golden State Warriors (62-point margin)

Next game: 98-87 loss at Seattle SuperSonics

Final record: 29-53

1960-61 New York Knicks

► 162-100 loss at Syracuse Nationals (62-point margin)

Next game: 119-112 win vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Final record: 21-58

2017-18 Memphis Grizzlies

► 140-79 loss at Charlotte Hornets (61-point margin)

Next game: 100-93 loss vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Final record: 22-60

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Dec. 2: The scoreboard in Memphis shows the final score of the Grizzlies' 152-79 rout of the Thunder on Thursday, with their 73-point win setting a record for largest margin of victory in NBA history.
Dec. 2: The scoreboard in Memphis shows the final score of the Grizzlies' 152-79 rout of the Thunder on Thursday, with their 73-point win setting a record for largest margin of victory in NBA history.

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First, all seven losses were on the road.

Second, the six teams before the Thunder that lost a game by at least 60 points combined to go 3-3 in their next game after the blowout.

Two of the six teams finished with winning records. Not all were in rebuilding mode, though, like the Thunder — a team constructed to rack up losses in hopes of winning the 2022 NBA Draft lottery.

Still, before Thursday night, the Thunder has been relatively competitive, at least in line with preseason expectations.

OKC is amid an eight-game losing streak, but five of those games were decided by single digits.

“We know who we are,” Daigneault said of public perception. “We know how we work. No one’s inside of our locker room. No one’s inside of our practices. I’m extremely confident in this group’s competitive character, overall character and we’re not gonna allow ourselves in an 82-game season to be defined by one game — whether it’s a positive game or a negative one.”

That doesn’t mean the Thunder has already moved on from an all-time trouncing.

“Forgetting about it would be food for the weak at this point,” Daingeault said. “We have to own it, and we need to look in the mirror.”

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: How will Thunder respond after the worst loss in NBA history?

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