Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Brief: Thunder/Spurs (3/11/13)
It is one versus two in the West tonight in a mid-March showdown with serious playoff seeding implications. The Thunder are young and the Spurs old, but that may be irrelevant tonight with Oklahoma City playing its fourth game in five days and the Spurs playing only their third in the past seven.
Efficiency at its Finest
San Antonio quietly chugging along to a top Western Conference record has become a bit cliche at this point. Yet it is a cliche that is true, and when you look at the numbers it is not hard to see why the Spurs win so often.
They rank fourth in scoring with 104.8 points per game, thanks in large part to the second best effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in the NBA at .540. They are tenth in points allowed with a defensive eFG% of .474 (fourth) and a defensive rebounding percentage of 74.5 percent (eighth).
But San Antonio has an Achilles heel. The Spurs are merely an average team when it comes to committing and forcing turnovers, and they have the worst offensive rebounding percentage in the game at 20.2 percent.
This leaves the Spurs unable to capitalize on the Thunder's two greatest weaknesses - defensive rebounding and their propensity for copious turnovers. Take the last matchup for example, one that the Spurs lost. San Antonio outshot OKC but had an ORB percentage 14 percentage points lower than the Thunder and committed more turnovers.
The Spurs still operate with the same lethal efficiency and tenacious shot defense. But they are also not a credible threat on the offensive boards and turn the ball over more than in the past. This is a battle for first place in the West. The winner becomes the front runner and the loser has work to do to reclaim home court. This should be a good one.