Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr OKC 105.0 114.3 53.5% 32.6 40.0 20.0 GSW 126.7 61.9% 42.5 9.7 16.2
Tough loss tonight to the Warriors, but it is to be expected when you play this brand of basketball. I’m not really sure why the Thunder get caught up in trying to outscore a scoring team and completely disregard defensive intensity. I don’t think it’s for lack of trying, but defense needs to compulsive with this team if it wants to get out of the basement in the NBA. Defense can’t be an on again off again thing if we are going to be successful. Some nights the jumpshots won’t fall. Some nights the refs may short change you, but there is really no excuse for not “bringing it” on the defensive side of the ball.
I was hopeful that this might not be “that” kind of game (like last night, or last week against the Lakers) and that we wouldn’t get caught up in this run and gun track meet style of play, but the 105 possessions we used tonight tells me otherwise. When we beat the Warriors a few weeks ago we only used 98 possessions. When we beat the Knicks in January we only used 96, and when we beat the Warriors on New Year’s eve we used 96. That’s actually fairly fast since league average is only 91.7. The 105 tonight is just over the top run and gun, and it plays right in the Warriors hands, just as it did for the Suns last night when we used 104. Is it me or does anybody else see that trying to “out track meet” these run and gun teams doesn’t seem to pay off for us? How about this statistic: 8 games above a pace of 98 and we are 0-8. Maybe we should re-think this strategy.
I don’t necessarily think there is anything wrong with running and playing an up tempo style of play if you have the personnel and system for it. But if you do it at the expense of offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency then you are playing a losing gambit. Tonight our offensive efficiency was a very good 114, but our defensive efficiency (or GSW’s offensive efficiency) was a dismal 126.7. You won’t win a handful of games all season playing like that. In fact, our defense is so MIA during this little 5 game losing streak that we would lead the league in defensive futility at an average of 118 points allowed per 100 possessions in the last five.
Turnovers have again reared their ugly head for this team as well. After doing fairly well protecting the ball in the last little string of games, last night against the Suns and again tonight against the Warriors we completely dropped the ball (is that a pun?). We had 9 turnovers in the first quarter, then only one in the second, followed by six in the third and then 5 more in the final quarter. We lead the league in turnovers and it is easy to see why. Green had seven, Durant had five and Westbrook had 4.
We demolished the Warriors on the boards 44-27, including 16-3 on the offensive side which kept us alive, and we actually had more scoring opportunities (fga+fta) than they did (119-117), but they were able to punish us with the three ball, going 9/19 (47%) to our 2/14 (14%).
- Weaver had what is probably his best career night offensively, going for 19 and 5 with 2 steals and an assist. I hope he keeps it up, he’s been in a real funk the last few games. Tonight I saw a few new things from him: he attacked the rim a few times, and he pulled up for a deep two in transition. Last week it almost seemed like shooting was the last thing he wanted to do. It was good seeing him being aggressive.
- Westbrook also was an animal attacking the rim. He had at least five layins or dunks tonight, not counting the one he missed trying to make the ESPN play of the day.
- We had our first good look at T-Bone Selofosha. To me he looks bigger than I remembered; both taller and more muscular. He moves really well, especially without the ball. He is an aggressive defender and he uses those long arms and has good foot work. He amassed 5 fouls in 18 minutes, but most of those were when he was helping on defense under the rim, not from reaching on the perimeter.
- I thought Brooks made a conscious effort to try and be more deliberate in the second half with the offense. We repeatedly posted up Green on the left block and Uncle Jeff did a good job, converting at least four of them.
- Is it just me, or does Westbrook telegraph a ton of passes?
- Collison only got credited with one block, but I bet he had at least four of them tonight.
- Earl was back at it again: launching jumpers early in the shot clock instead of getting the ball to the real shooters. The GSW announcing team went so far as to suggest that a great strategy for the Warriors might be to back way off Watson and dare him to shoot. Duh…do ya think?
- I just don’t understand why we couldn’t find any takers for a backup point guard with 13 million owed over the next two years, who is shooting 37% from the field and 27% from three, and still calls his number every chance he gets? Sheesh, what’s the league coming to?
- Did I mention we had 9 turns in the first quarter?
- Not to belabor the point, but is it a coincidence that the last two games we tried to play at warp speed and we wind up with double digit losses?
- We actually made the same number of field goals as the Warriors did; the difference was the three point shots that they made and we didn’t, and the four extra converted free throws.
- We scored 120 points tonight and only got nine of them from our bench!!
- What’s happened to our perception when our superstar can drop 32 and 6, and it seems like a “normal” game from him?
- Uncle Jeff had 27 points, 15 boards and 6 assists (to go along with his 7 turns)!
- Krstic must have needed a rest tonight.
- RW had 31 points and 11 assists and 5 rebounds tonight. He got to the line 24 times (ooops!) He led the team with 24 FGA’s, making 13 of them (52%). His jumper looked very good tonight.
The boys get two days off before hosting the Fakers Lakers on Tuesday night. Lets hope Brooks and the gang can challenge these guys to bring a better defensive effort next time they take the court.