Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Brief: Thunder/Warriors (4/11/13)

The faster Golden State goes, the more turnovers they commit. Westbrook and OKC use this to their advantage.

Ready for a possible playoff preview tonight in Oakland? Both the Thunder and Warriors are guaranteed a playoff spot, but neither has locked down their seed yet. Oklahoma City is in a heavyweight bout with San Antonio for the top seed in the West, while Golden State is clinging to the sixth seed. This season series has belonged to the home team so far, with the Thunder taking two games in Oklahoma City and the Warriors one in Oakland.

Getting Shots to Fall

In both games in Oklahoma City, the Thunder scored 119 points for comfortable wins. In one game in Oakland, they scored only 99 in a close loss. What was the difference for the offense? It certainly wasn't offensive rebounding. At home the Thunder posted ORB percentages of 27.0 percent and 21.7 percent. The road loss fell in the middle at 23.7 percent. Free throw-to-field goal attempt ratio also had little impact on Oklahoma City's scoring, as they actually had their best FT/FGA percentage in the road loss.

No, the Thunder's low offensive production in Oakland can be pinned mostly on a poor shooting night. In its wins over Golden State, OKC posted eFG percentages (eFG%) of .584 and .547. In the one loss they had an eFG% of only .494. For a Warriors' squad that ranks eighth in eFG percentage allowed, that could open the door tonight again, especially with the Thunder coming off of a .451 eFG% against Utah.

Out of Control?

An interesting trend emerged in the first three games between these two teams. Golden State's production gradually declined from 109 to 104 to 98. At the same time, the Warriors turnover percentage increased from 12.4 percent to 13.5 to 16.0.

Perhaps the reason for the increased turnovers and lower scores was the pace. Though the Dubs rank fifth in the NBA in Pace factor at 94.2, they struggled to handle an increase in tempo in these three games that saw the pace factor rise from 93.3 to 96.7 to a scintillating 104.0. Faster games mean more possessions, but that has not translated into more points for the Warriors against the Thunder.

This series has had one solid game mixed with a couple of duds, but with playoff seeding on the line and the game in Oracle Arena, the intensity could be ratchet up making this a fun contest tonight.