Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Monkey Brief: Thunder/Warriors (1/23/13)

One California team: defeated. Now the Warriors will need to secure the perimeter to prevent OKC from taking down another.

Oklahoma City has struggled at times to play great basketball on the road. Not last night. The Thunder won by double digits on the home court of the second best team in the NBA. Next stop, Oakland, home of the rejuvenated Golden State Warriors.

Rain of Threes

In last night’s game, the Clippers had a lower turnover percentage, higher offensive rebounding percentage, and did a better job getting to the line. But the Thunder made 52.6 percent of their shots from the floor, including a barrage of 15 three pointers on 27 shots (55.6 percent). That resulted in a ridiculous effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of .622. The formula of straight up outshooting opponents on the way to victory has worked for Oklahoma City all year against weak and mediocre opponents, but last night it held up against a really good team on the road.

Securing the perimeter

What hope do the Warriors have of slowing this kind of shooting? Much has been made of Golden State’s improvement on defense. Granted, the team still allows 99.4 points per game (22nd in the NBA), but opponents average an eFG% of only .480 against them, the seventh best defensive mark in the NBA. On three pointers, Warrior’s opponents shoot a mere 32.7 percent. That is the second best three point defense in the game.

While the Thunder’s rain of three pointers terrorized the Clippers, the Dubs likely will not allow as many wide open looks. Of course, Oklahoma City is adept at taking what the defense gives it (as evidenced by the league-leading 106.1 points scored per game) so it is not enough to simply take away the three.

The Thunder have to be feeling pretty confident after the win in Los Angeles, but there can be no letup tonight. The Warriors, after struggling recently against good teams, are also fresh off of a Monday victory over the Clippers that might have put some bounce back in their steps. This has the makings of a fun game.