Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Brief: Thunder/Nuggets (3/1/13)

With Oklahoma City dominating the Hornets in rebounding, OKC may be starting to turn a corner on its main weakness. The real test comes tonight.

If the Thunder played Wednesday night with the objective of utter domination, mission accomplished. The game was over by the third quarter allowing the bench to see significant action. Derek Fisher went 0-4 shooting (all from three), while Reggie Jackson and Ronnie Brewer were a collective 8-14, making strong cases that they do indeed deserve more minutes than Fisher.

However, with the starters pulled by the fourth quarter, there were plenty of minutes to go around, so there is no cause for consternation over Fisher’s 20 minutes. What might cause some heartburn for the Thunder is a trip to Denver.

Who wants Seconds? Denver Does.

The season series against the Nuggets started off well enough for the Thunder with a 20 point home win on January 16, but turned south four days later when they lost in overtime in the Mile High City. The reason for the loss was simple – Denver destroyed Oklahoma City on the offensive glass, notching an offensive rebounding percentage of 41.7 percent.

Denver does have the most offensive rebounds in the NBA thanks in large part to the trio of Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee (and to a lesser extent Gallinari), but snagging 41.7 percent of all available offensive boards was great even by their average ORB percentage of 31.5 percent.

Turning the Corner?

The good news for the Thunder is that they owned the glass against a New Orleans team that ranks in the top half of the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage (although they did not have Anthony Davis on Wednesday). The Thunder posted an ORB percentage of 41.9 percent with a total advantage on the glass of 48-25.

Kevin Durant led the way with 11 boards and Serge Ibaka chipped in seven. Nine other Oklahoma City players got at least two rebounds. Fisher – surprise, surprise – was the only Thunder player to not get at least one board. (Since I have been down on Fisher both Wednesday and today, I want to point out that it was his first game in months, he was +12 for the night and had two assists, a steal and no turnovers. Jury is still out.)

If the Thunder can crash the boards in Denver even close to the way they did against New Orleans, they should have a much better chance of taking tonight’s game. If, on the other hand, the Thunder give the third ranked scoring offense of the Nuggets as many second chance opportunities as last time, Oklahoma City could be in for a tough game.