[Author's Note: Out of full disclosure I lived in Oklahoma for two years. Love the place. I miss Ted's Mexican Restaurant more than you'll ever know.]
Bloggississts to Read
125 points. The last team to drop that many on the Thunder in regulation was the Utah Jazz, back on April 6th, 2010. So yes, the Knicks scored more on the Thunder last Sunday than any other team in three years. That, on its' own, is pretty darn amazing.
...There's no one cure-all solution to the Thunder's problem guarding the three tonight. But, there are two over-arching themes.
2. Whenever the Thunder were on the floor, there was always a glaring defensive weakness. Whether it be playing big against a small lineup, playing Fisher and Martin together, or simply a bad matchup, there always seemed to be something for the Knicks to exploit.
1. The Thunder spent too much time trying to pressure a excellent passing team, especially with big men. The Knicks are one of the best teams in the league at handling the ball, and they CAN make you pay.
Definitely an awesome breakdown from the offensive explosion from that game the other night. Also, remember when the Jazz's offense was just flat out dominant? Good times.
The bigs take lots of 12 foot jumpers. This problem is the biggest, but it's also the hardest one to get around. Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison can both shoot deep two pointers really well, and they make them at an extremely high percentage. It's a go-to offensive option, because it's relatively easy for a power forward to get an open shot in that range. Unfortunately, having the bigs hang around the perimeter gives your team less chance to grab an offensive board. There's no real solution or work-around for this that wouldn't hamstring the offense, but there are those that have suggested cutting down on these types of shots in the past.
The bigs set too many picks. Again, this is another problem that's hard to get around. The Thunder love to set high pick and rolls and play the two man game. This results in the trio of bigs (Perkins, Ibaka, and Collison) often standing away from the rim on that particular play.
We're a jumpshooting team. I never thought I'd be paraphrasing Charles Barkley in a serious analysis piece, but it's true. The Thunder take a ton of mid-range jumpers, and they don't really have any post threats. It's true that a lot of players do go into the post, but the Thunder don't feature a single back-to-the-basket player, nor do they have a player who shoots primarily in the painted area. As a result, there's lots of long rebounds that will easily go to the defense.
Dara Mirzaie writes:
The Thunder closed out tonight in impressive fashion on the road. Anytime a team shoots as badly as the Pacers did tonight, it's going to be easy for the Thunder to win. Even more impressive than holding the Pacers to 8 points in the fourth, the Thunder outrebounded the Pacers 53-31. If the Pacers were going to win tonight, they needed to win the rebounding battle, and get as many second chance points as they could.
A downside to tonight's game, is that Kevin Martin's cold streak continues. The Thunder need to have Martin lead the second team and be another scoring option for the Thunder, unfortunately, Martin, who had 9 points tonight, has gone cold recently and has played inconsistently.
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