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Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez (11) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.

Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo

The Oklahoma City Thunder had committed five technical fouls in their previous four games heading into Sunday’s eventual 108-104 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. That's when they added three more.

It continues a streak for the Thunder as one of the NBA’s most tech-craving teams. Paul George picked up his sixth of the season. Carmelo Anthony picked up his seventh. Steven Adams, his eighth. All three are now top-19 in the NBA in techs. And none of them even leads the team. That honor goes to Russell Westbrook, whose 11 technical fouls are tied for most in the NBA.

Even coach Billy Donovan is right there with them. His seven techs lead all NBA coaches.

“We’ve got to do a better job there,” Donovan said. “Just call it like it is…We’ve talked about that and have talked about, ‘Let’s control what we can control.’”

Sunday’s game was particularly contentious with Anthony and George both getting T’d up on contact plays at the rim they thought were fouls but went uncalled. Adams got his after getting called for an illegal screen.

“We’ve got guys that attack, that are aggressive going to the rim,” George said. “[There are] times when we don’t get calls we should get. And then they call other stuff on us. So, it’s a level of frustration that builds up over the course of the game. We have the right to be upset for getting hit, and nothing’s being done about it.”

Anthony was more diplomatic when asked for a reason why this team continues to rack up techs.

“We play so aggressive…It’s physical,” he said. “Sometimes, we expect calls that don’t go our way. Sometimes, the referee is in a tough position to make some of those calls.”

• In the zone: A four-game losing streak is just what Westbrook wanted — or something like that.

The reigning MVP is hardly discouraged about the recent struggles. In fact, he thrives on them.

"Adversity is great. Me personally, I love adversity," he said. "It gives you an opportunity to bring your teammates together, bring everybody together, look forward to positive things. Throughout the season, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. You know what I mean? But never flinch. That’s one thing about this organization, about our team. We never flinch based on what’s going on. We’re always gonna stay together.”

• Practice: The Thunder may be on a four-game losing streak, but they also have a convenient excuse: they haven’t been practicing. Much has been made of the recent schedule and travel schedule, sending the team all over the country amidst an exhausting stretch. One of the results is a lack of practice time.

The Thunder plan to practice in Oklahoma City on Monday before leaving for the Bay Area, where they’ll take on the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. When they do, it will be their first home practice since Jan. 22. The Thunder most recently practiced Jan. 31, but that was held in Denver. 

Fred Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the postgame show, Thunder After Dark, and the OKC Dream Team, a weekly Thunder podcast that runs every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter: @FredKatz.

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