The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped nine and a half games behind Houston to ninth place in the Western Conference with their 116-103 defeat at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night, December 11. It was an embarrassing loss before a hometown crowd that has seen the high expectations they had for the Westbrook - Anthony - George combination dwindle through the season's first 26 games. And for the team's stars, it was just as hard to swallow.

Westbrook has continued to express optimism that the team will figure things out. But Westbrook has carried the team on his back before, and so he would have reason to believe that the added pieces will eventually fit together to give them juice for a playoff run down the stretch.

With the expectations weighing on them to join right in and compliment Westbrook, though, the morale has appeared unusually low for Anthony and George.

Anthony confessed to feeling like he is in the worst shooting slump of his career, following his 11 point performance. With George witnessing his former Indiana Pacers compiling a 16-11 record compared to the lowly 12-14 OKC stands at, he projected a certain angst about their issues that seemed to contradict Westbrook's assertion that the Thunder have "just gotta figure it out and play the same way every night."

"For the talent that we have, obviously this is not where we want to be. But we're going to remain optimistic, though, about the future and what we can do. Once we can find a way to do it night in and night out, it's no panic mode, but we have to start playing better," George said.

"It's getting to a point where we can't allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we're going to figure it out; we can say all that. But at some point, its got to stop."