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Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Brief: Thunder/Knicks (3/7/13)

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The new sign of the Apocalypse: Russell Westbrook and the Thunder only committed two turnovers against the Lakers.

The Thunder ran away from the Lakers and now travel to New York to face the Knicks. One has to imagine that Oklahoma City and its fans would be fairly thrilled if they can manage to dispatch both LA teams and New York in three consecutive games.

Attention, Pigs Have Flown

Against the Lakers, things largely went according to recent routine for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook dropped 37. Kevin Martin struggled in shooting 3-12, including 3-11 from three point range. The Thunder shot a strong effective field goal percentage of .521 as a team. And they allowed the Lakers to grab 36.4 percent of all available offensive rebounds, a rather poor defensive rebounding effort.

However, in the midst of this typical performance, one thing about the Thunder’s night was shockingly out of character. Oklahoma City committed two turnovers in the game. Not in a quarter, not in a half. In the game. This is a team that averages more than 15.5 turnovers per night and has the third worst turnover percentage in the NBA at 14.5 percent. Against the Lakers, it was 1.8 percent. Go figure.

Keep the Turnovers at Bay One More Time

Going out on a limb, I would guess that the Thunder are not going to come close to that stellar effort again, but they better work to keep the turnovers at a minimum against the Knicks. New York has committed the fewest turnovers of any team in the NBA and has the lowest turnover percentage of 11.5 percent. Meanwhile, their defense does a solid job forcing turnovers, ranking sixth in turnover percentage forced at 14.5 percent.

Of course, most teams that found success against the Thunder have done it not only in the turnover column but in the offensive rebounding category as well. Here the Knicks tend to struggle, with an offensive rebounding percentage of just 26.0 percent. As long as Oklahoma City can keep that number down, they can probably weather a few more turnovers than the pair they had against LA.

The Thunder and Knicks are both playing good basketball right now and are in second and third place respectively in their conferences. Now they get to square off against each other in Ronnie Brewer’s triumphant return to Madison Square Garden (in which he will probably play about 9 minutes if he even sees the floor). But in all seriousness, this is a game that you do not want to miss.

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Kevin Martin
GF, Minnesota Timberwolves

Russell Westbrook
PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

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