Box score…if you can stomach it.
It’s tough to win in the NBA when you can’t shoot and you can’t defend. The Thunder found it out…again tonight against the Pacers in a second straight trip to the woodshed.
There really isn’t much to say about this game that isn’t just summed up by that first paragraph; we just didn’t score enough points or in any way efficiently, meanwhile the Pacers ripped us a new one. We allowed the Pacers, who shoot 49.7% eFG on the season to bomb away at 54.5% tonight. Our guys in blue, who are already fairly dreadful shooting on the season at a dead last in the NBA 47% eFG shot 44.5%. Add to that, we got into a running game with the third fastest team in the NBA and if you’ve been watching this season, you can imagine how well that has worked for us this season. Tonight each team used 104 possessions, one of the fastest games of the season for us, and were never really in the contest. We are 0-9 in games with a pace over 100, and have only won one game all season with a pace in the high 90′s, and that was a one point win against the lowly Kings.
I applaud Presti for filling out our roster with a bunch of long, atheletic guys who play defense (I’m talking ’bout you Weaver, Thabo, Westbrook), but this team is so bereft of shooters and scorers that it’s a wonder we’ve gotten this far. Outside of Durant, how many guys on this team would you say can consistently put the ball in the basket at a better than average clip night in and night out against NBA competition? Jeff Green? Maybe next year. He disappears in a lot of games right now, and I would call him a complimentary player at this stage of his career. Russell Westbrook? Streaky shooter/scorer at best. He has the potential but is shooting 41.8% eFG. Krstic? Uhhm 1-13 tonight. His jumpshot is also complimentary. Where are the guys who you can give the rock to and be pretty confident that he will get the score?
Our roster, especially the guards is filled with non scorers or non efficient ones: Thabo, Weaver, Westbrook, Atkins, Watson, Mason, Wilkins, Livingston. There is lot’s of versatility there, but not a lot of scoring. Weaver is putting up the best percentages right now (53.9 % eFG) but only takes a half a handful of shots per game. Livingston is firing away nicely after two games, but his career shooting is 44.5% eFG. Presti really has his work cut out for him to get this team more competitive on both sides of the ball. With a slate of playoff teams to match up against in the last dozen games or so, we’ve really been exposed. We are not ready for the party yet.
- When I saw the starting lineup for the Pacers tonight I thought we might have trouble. We match up poorly with these guys. Our best offensive player doesn’t really get any advantage over all star Danny Granger. Hibbert was a nice pick for the Pacers in the mid first round, Murphy is most of what you hope Jeff Green becomes some day, Jack is steady and Brandon Rush was great at Kansas and is long and tall and can shoot. Where would we find an advantage here?
- The Pacers didn’t really play exceptional defense I didn’t think, we had a gazillion open looks at the basket, we just don’t shoot well. In those games where we actually shoot above our averages we look like a decent team, but when we shoot like we did tonight, or against the Blazers the other night, we see how far we have to go. We haven’t had very many dominant offensive games this season. Outside of the Spurs game last week, I think you have to go back awhile to find one.
- Livingston had his second quality game in Thunder blue. He and Westbrook were our best guards by far. It’s especially nice having Livingston in the lineup because it keeps Chucky and Earl on the bench.
- Any chance that the coaching staff might have mentioned that we needed to guard Troy Murphy out on the perimeter since he is 8th in the NBA in 3fg% and 13th in three point makes? I mean, just because he got six open looks and nailed all of them….just wondering.
- For a few minutes Brooks had a lineup of Westbrook, Livingston, Thabo, Durant and Green out there.
- Krstic got T’d for swinging a little kick at Hibbert after the two scuffled under the basket. I sort of wanted to laugh. I hadn’t seen that before. What would have happened if he did that to Shaq?
- The Pacers starters had 90 points. The Thunder starters had 52.
- All the Pacer starters went for double figures plus TJ Ford as well off the bench. We had three starters in double figures (barely) and three off the bench, who did most of their damage in garbage time with the exception of D.J.White.
- D.J. White had a nice first game. He can definitely score, which we really need. He shot the face up jumper, he posted up a couple of times and he was actually +1 on the game. He didn’t seem to be looking for rebounds all that much.
- We allowed the Pacers to shoot 50% for the game and 55% in the first half. The Thunder shot 28% in the first quarter and 31% in the third and only put up 19 points in each quarter.
- I appreciate the way our our PG’s rebound (Livingston and RW each had 7), but what does that say about our bigs if they lead the team in rebounds?