Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Brief: Thunder/Magic (3/15/13)

It'll be hard for Orlando to beat OKC when their ability to force free throws is absolutely abysmal.

Ready for a barnburner tonight? I hope not if you plan to watch the offensively and defensively challenged Magic take on the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

Not Drawing Fouls

Hapless would be a good term to describe the Magic. The team lost 12 in a row at one point this year. And while Orlando might not be the worst team in the game (thanks to the ineptitude of the Bobcats), the Magic have very few redeeming qualities.

They rank in the bottom half of the NBA in effective field goal percentage (eFG%), turnover percentage and offensive rebounding percentage. Defensively, they rank in the bottom half for eFG% allowed and turnover percentage forced. But perhaps the one area for the Magic that is the most dismal is their free throw-to-field goal attempt ratio of .148. It is not so much that Orlando cannot make free throws (they actually have the 11th best free throw percentage). The big problem is that the team rarely gets to the line.

True, the Magic do not have the star players that might draw a lot of calls automatically, but that has not stopped plenty of other teams from drawing fouls and getting free points. Among the top ten teams in opponent fouls are Denver, Minnesota, Indiana, Utah and even Charlotte. Orlando ranks 29th in opponent fouls and dead last in free throw attempts.

Does it Make a Difference?

Now maybe this should not be a big deal, but consider that Orlando has scored 799 fewer total points than the Thunder and made 663 fewer free throws. If both teams score their season averages, the Magic will lose by 12 and make 10 fewer free throws tonight. The Magic do a solid job cutting down on opponents' trips to the foul line, so maybe they have some hope there, but until they learn to draw fouls, they could severely struggle against a team as good as the Thunder at getting to the line and making free throws.

There are no excuses for OKC tonight. They should blow Orlando away, but they should also remember that they lost to the Wizards, Cavs and Timberwolves lest they slip up against another bad team.