The Oklahoma City Thunder are fighting for the top spot in the NBA’s Western Conference with the San Antonio Spurs. When the majority of people think about the Thunder, the first thing that comes to mind is how great of a team they are on offense. It’s definitely their best known trait.
The offense of the Thunder definitely deserves some credit. Oklahoma City averages the third most points per game in the league this season at 105.8. They also shoot a remarkable 48.1 percent from the field and shoot 38.1 percent from three as a team. The Thunder, as everyone knows, also feature Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, two of the most potent offensive players in the NBA.
It’s been the defense, though, that has helped carry the Thunder over the past few weeks.
Oklahoma City has been a pretty good defensive team for most of the season. They’ve allowed the 12th fewest points per game, 96.6, this season and have held their opponents to just 42.5 percent shooting from the field and 34.7 percent shooting from long range.
Over their last 10 games, though, their defense has been playing at an elite level. The Thunder have allowed just 91 points per game over that span while holding their opponents to just 39.9 percent shooting from the field and 33.8 percent three-point shooting. That’s not just good defense, that’s superb defense.
It’s essentially common knowledge that the intensity always gets a little higher when the playoffs roll around. Teams know that if they don’t give it their all on both ends of the floor, then they don’t have a chance of winning a series. The Thunder seem to have gone into that mode where they are ready for the postseason. Their defense as of late has been unbelievably stingy, just the way it needs to be for them to make it back to the NBA Finals.