Last night’s scrappy victory over the Grizzlies on the road put an end to the month of February in the Thunder’s innagural season. By most standards it was a rough month for our guys; 3 wins out of 12 games. It was a definite let down after the Thunder’s first winning month of January, where the team seemed to pull it all together and go 7-7.
What happened in February that made it so bleak when there was so much success in January? The simple answer is that the level of competition increased.
In October the Thunder only played one game, a loss to Milwaukee. In November however we played 17 games and won a mere 2 of them. November was a tough, and it was the month that Coach P.J. was fired, leaving Brooks to coach the last five games of that month. Of our 17 opponents, 10 were at or above a .500 record (59%).
In December we played 15 games and also won only 2. The team was in most all of the games and some momentum began to build. Of the 15 opponents, 8 had winning records (53%).
January was our breakout month where we saw some fruit of the labors. We won 7 of the 14 games that month, and four others were losses by 3 points or less. Of the 14 opponents, 7 had winning records (50%).
And that brings us to February. February had 12 games, of which we won just 3. Of the 12 opponents we faced, 8 of them were teams with winning records (66%), the toughest month of our season to date. Click here to see a breakdown of the Thunder’s month by month performance.
February was indeed our month of stiffest competition. The teams we faced are getting into their playoff mode and are battling for the seeding. The stiffer competition showed in our offensive and defensive efficiency, where going from a postitive efficiency differential (offensive efficiency-defensive efficiency) of .7 in January to a -4.6 in February.
As you can see, our offense has continuously improved as the season has progressed, to the point that we averaged 109.6 points/100 possessions in February, which would be top ten in the league if held for the season. Unfortunately our defense definitely took a step back against the stiffer competition, dropping to an ungainly 114.2 points/100 allowed, which would be dead last.
The lower table shows we also had our best month shooting the ball and limiting our opponent’s shooting in January. February was a step back in both areas; most notably opponent’s shooting almost 50% from the field and 40% from three.
With that being said, what do we have to look forward to this month with our superstar out for an extended period? Well, we have 15 games in March, and it is just as tough as February, with 10/15 opponents having winning records (66%). 8 of the games are on the road. In April we do get it a bit easier with only 8 games to finish the season, 4 of which are teams with winning records.