Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Monkey Brief: Thunder/Sixers (11/24/12)
The Thunder did not exactly get their road trip off to the sort of start that they wanted, losing to the Celtics in Boston last night. Now, they venture into Philly to take on a tough defensive team. Turnovers continue to plague Oklahoma City, as it still ranks dead last in offensive turnover percentage, and probably will not improve much against a 76ers squad that forces a turnover percentage of 15.3, seventh in the NBA.
But the Thunder have dealt with turnover issues and still won. Against the Celtics, a whole new set of issues arose. Some were uncharacteristic problems and others were growing concerns. Either way, there are some key stats that the team will need to improve upon tonight.
Too Many Open Looks
Shot defense was non-existent for Oklahoma City in its loss to Boston. The Celtics notched an effective field goal percentage of .544 against the Thunder. That was one of the better shooting performances of the season for a team that has been top ten in eFG percentage all year. The Thunder defense is normally solid, allowing the sixth lowest eFG percentage in the NBA, but can ill afford the sort of breakdowns that it had against Boston.
Compounding the problems created by poor shot defense was the fact that the Thunder sent the Celtics to the line far too often. While Boston is one of the best teams at drawing fouls, it had a free throw to field goal attempted ratio of .263 against Oklahoma City, a mark above their season average. This is a growing problem for the Thunder who now have allowed four consecutive opponents to post better FT/FGA percentages than their season averages. Those performances have dropped Oklahoma City into the bottom half of the NBA in defensive FT/FGA. Philadelphia has a FT/FGA ratio of .174, but it will doubtless be looking to reach the line more often than that tonight.
Oklahoma City and Philly each had three game winning streaks snapped in their last outings. The season is long and hiccups are to be expected. If the Thunder want to avoid two in a row against tough home teams, it will have to improve the stats that facilitated the stumble against Boston.