Now you're starting to see why Mike Brown quickly lost patience last season with J.J. Hickson and why Byron Scott grows irritated with him this year.
Sometimes, Hickson just doesn't get it.
The Thunder had built a 22-point lead in the first half and appeared to be on their way to a blowout, but the Cavs cut the deficit to 11 at the half and then to 10 on a jumper by Mo Williams with 4:20 left in the third quarter. That's when Scott started subbing reserves for the starters and that's when the game started getting out of control again.
The Thunder went on a 19-1 charge through the end of the third quarter, frustrating Scott and sending him back to the lab to find the right combination of starters and bench players. It's obvious now that by moving both Boobie Gibson and Antawn Jamison to the starting lineup, it has taken the Cavs from the best bench in the league to one of the worst.
"I have to find a combination of that second unit that's going to come in and play the right way and do the right things," he said. "As soon as all five guys are off the floor, we're getting slaughtered."
That brings us to Hickson. When Scott said a few weeks ago that Hickson wasn't properly boxing out, he disagreed and said he was doing it. When informed Scott didn't like the way the bench performed over the weekend, Hickson's head snapped up.
"Oh so he's blaming it on the bench?" Hickson said. "If he feels that way, then that's the way he feels. That's his opinion."
Perhaps catching himself and not wanting to step too far, Hickson backtracked ever so slightly.
"He's the head coach. He gets paid to make decisions to put players in and it's up to us to bring life to the game when we get in and cut the other team's lead down even more," he said. "We haven't been doing a good job of getting that done. But it's a long season, it's a work in progress."
The numbers back up Scott. When he put the bench in the game in the third quarter, the Thunder ripped off a 19-1 run. To be fair, the Cavaliers trailed nearly the entire game. They've shown a better effort the past couple of nights, but it isn't producing anymore victories.
The bigger problem is Hickson, who just isn't getting it. The day after Scott pulled he and Joey Graham from the starting lineup, he started installing new components of his Princeton offense. I asked Scott if that's because he is now starting the five guys that know the system the best and therefore he can move forward into other things. Scott emphatically said yes. Only two starters were replaced. Hickson was one of them.
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