If there was a basketball game between two teams with the following stats, who would win?
The first team attempted only 72 shots, made only five threes, allowed 21 offensive rebounds, grabbed 43 total rebounds and had 16 turnovers. Meanwhile, the second team put up 98 shots, made six threes, allowed only four offensive rebounds, grabbed 48 total rebounds and turned the ball over only 13 times.
The second team won that game, right? Wrong.
Though the Thunder were outrebounded, put up fewer shots and turned the ball over more, they were still able to top Memphis, 106-89. Their efficiency on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball is what propelled them to the victoy.
Oklahoma City, despite putting up 26 fewer shots than the Grizzlies, were able to get 40 buckets, good enough for 55.6 percent shooting. On the other hand, they held Memphis to a paltry 34.7 percent shooting effort. The Grizzlies also only converted on 34 shots, despite the massive advantage in attempts.
That’s been the narrative for much of the year for Oklahoma City. With their young weapons like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and even sixth-man Kevin Martin, they have been busting their tails on the defensive end and running their fast-paced, well-fueled offense to near perfection this year.
They boast the NBA’s third best field goal percentage at 47.7 percent, which is an obvious factor in why they lead the league in points per game at 105.7.
But with that, they also stifle their opponents from being efficient, having the league’s third best opposing field goal percentage at 43.2 percent. Given that and their high-powered offense, that’s why they are tied for the NBA lead in points per game differential at +8.4.
Rarely in the NBA are there teams that have the ability to run their opponents out of the gym with their scoring, but also be able to stop their opponents consistently. That’s what makes this Thunder team so special.
The odd thing is that it seems like many people are taking what Oklahoma City is doing for granted. They are expected to be good and to dominate so people seem to almost throw them aside and focus on surprisingly good teams like the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Clippers or surprisingly bad teams like the Los Angeles Lakers.
Don’t forget that the Thunder are still here and are putting on a clinic both offensively and defensively. And that’s why they are poised to make another run to the NBA Finals this season.