Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Monkey Brief: Thunder/Wizards (1/7/13)

Warning: this could get ugly, especially with Serge Ibaka leading the way on the offensive boards.

Oklahoma City allowed the Raptors to hang around during the first half yesterday, but the disparity in talent ultimately proved to be too much for Toronto. Tonight, that disparity in talent will become even more glaring. The Thunder currently own the third best record in the NBA, while the Wizards are basketball’s worst team (as indicated by their league-worst record and numberFire’s lowest nERD rating of 23.7). A word of caution – this game could get ugly.

Serge-ing on the Offensive Glass

For the second straight game, Oklahoma City won the battle for the glass on the offensive end. After the Nets beat the Thunder in part by holding Oklahoma City to an offensive rebounding percentage of 17.6 percent, the Thunder responded by posting offensive rebounding percentages of 26.3 percent against the 76ers and 33.3 percent against the Raptors. Serge Ibaka led the charge, snagging a whopping 26.0 percent of all available offensive rebounds when he was on the floor against Philly and then followed that up with a solid offensive rebounding percentage of 18.4 percent against Toronto.

While offensive rebounding is not really a weakness for the Thunder (who rank 16th in offensive rebounding percentage), it is hardly a strength either. If Ibaka can continue to improve his game on the offensive glass, it will go a long way to making second chance points a strong part of Oklahoma City’s game.

A Half-Hearted Cheer for Defense

The Wizards stink. They are dead last in scoring at 88.9 points per game and unsurprisingly have the worst effective field goal percentage mark in the game at .445 percent. They do not get to the line, miss their free throws when they do get there and turn the ball over often.

But if there is one area where Washington is not completely inept, it is on defense. The Wizards allow 97.2 points per game, 15th in the NBA. Part of that might be due to the fact that with the second worst margin of victory in the game (-8.31), opponents ease up at the end of games. But Washington also ranks in the top half of the game in eFG percentage allowed (13th) and defensive rebounding percentage (11th). So perhaps they can at least slow Ibaka’s growth as an offensive rebounder if nothing else.

This game should not be close. If both teams play completely out of character tonight, perhaps it could be interesting. Just do not expect that to happen. As long as they do not beat themselves in every aspect of the game, the Thunder should get things rolling on the road tonight.