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Smart Thoughts of the Week: Nov. 27 – Dec. 4

Smart Thoughts of the Week: Nov. 27 – Dec. 4

Throughout the week some of you drop some brilliant or at least somewhat thoughtful comments and so this is a try at highlighting some of them. Disclaimer: It’s not that I necessarily agree with all of them, but they were interesting and for the most part, well put. Consider everything [sic’d].


Home sweet dome. (Bryan): On the home record thing… I think it’s just a matter of a young squad having a hard time with the additional pressure of 18,000 screaming fans with high expectations. All the extra noise seems to help them on the defensive end, but when they get possesion and the crowd is holding it’s breath, they seem to crack.

I think they just need to build a little confidence with a few good wins at home and they will be fine from then on.

I would also say that the Thunder seem to genuinely strugle with teams after they have played them once already… it’s a small sample size but it’s starting to look like a trend. Five of the Thunder’s eight losses were to teams they had already played. They are 0-5 in the second half of two-game series.

Sometimes it’s that simple. (Sammy): Comparing the gross number of assists in wins vs. losses does little to help us, since, by your own admission, it’s natural that we scored more in wins than we did in losses. More helpful, I think, would be to compare team assist percentage from wins vs. losses (that is, # of assists/# made fgs).Often times in losses, I think we look for things to blame and decide ‘we didn’t share the ball enough’ or ‘we didn’t rebound enough’ because the actual answer is crappy and boring: we didn’t shoot well enough. For some reason, I think we like to blame ball movement or rebounding or defense more than missed open looks because the first three sound correctable but third is just bad luck.

You see, Joe is very smart. That’s why his thought goes here. (Joe): I think it’s the offense. Seriously. Our defense is very very good, top 6 or 7 actually. You can’t be unhappy about that. The offense shoots considerably more midrange jumpers than the NBA average while simultaneously shooting much less at the rim or from three than the NBA average. We take much more of the least efficient shots in the game and much less of the most efficient shots. It’s really that simple. Our offense is largely predicated on drive and dish, and the shot that results is usually a midrange. We need more better shooters to up our efficiency (Thabo stands out) or to tweak our offense.

We use screens all the time, but when is the last time you actually saw our screener roll to the basket and get a shot close in? Our bigs always pull up and shoot (Green and Krstic). We need to go to the rim and the PNR is one very established way of doing it. We have the athleticism.

If we upped our offensive efficiency by a percent or two we would be in the playoffs. We may still be, but it would be virtually assured all things being equal and our defense holding the line.

Hang on the line, we’ll get you some Johnnie’s. (ATH): Long-time reader, first-time poster here. I grew up in Oklahoma and now spend a few evenings a week chasing down Thunder games from various locales in Northwest Arkansas. It’s been a great first month. And while it seems somewhat reasonable to be optimistic about the upcoming stretch of tough games due to the Thunder’s tendency to rise up/stoop down to the competition, most of these good teams have good coaching, and, as was pointed out in an earlier thread, the Thunder seem to be (potentially) figure-outable.

When you factor in the inevitable wear of fatigue on an injury-depleted squad and the forgettable fact their they’re SO young, a lot of late-game meltdowns could be on the way. It wouldn’t be a big deal really, and it wouldn’t necessarily keep them out of the playoffs, but December could be disappointing.

Durant. Dominating. Defense. Wha? (Kev): I will say it again: Durant is DOMINANT at the defensive end. Durant continues to play the passing lanes well. He uses his great length to deflect the ball and get steals. In the first quarter, Andre Iguodala was working out top, and he attempted a pass to Durant’s man, Willie Green. Durant stepped in, deflected the ball with the off hand, and romped in for the easy dunk. Fast forward to the second half. There’s about seventy five seconds left in the 3rd quarter. I like to point out subtle plays that don’t show up in the stat sheet.

The 76ers have the ball in transition after a Thunder turnover. 76ers guard Jrue Holiday is dribbling upcourt, and there are transition defense issues because Holiday’s man, Westbrook, is on the ground after that initial miscue. Holiday finds Jason Kapono on the right wing. Kapono does one thing well: shooting the three ball. Durant is in the middle of the lane and is the back defender. Sam Young is nearby, so Durant was protecting the lane as he should. Durant does a great job in reading the situation after Holiday releases the ball. He advances to Kapono and does a good job of contesting the wing three. Kapono misses. Last year, he would have stood and watched Kapono. It was just a great play.

The best part about Durant’s play tonight is that he had only one mistake. He lost Willie Green after Green passed the ball off, and Willie got the ball back on a give and go and scored. The rest of the game was great. Durant did a great job of closing out, and he didn’t overhelp and get out of position. He also got to guard Iguodala for parts of the second half, and he did a great job on him. AI2 loves to get in the lane, but Durant wasn’t having it. Remember the jump ball after the timeout? That was a double dribble, the 76ers got away with one. It was no big deal anyway; minutes later, Kevin forced Iggy to turn it over. Anyone notice how Thabo stayed on the bench after he left the game in the 3rd quarter. We didn’t need him. Durant was on his game: his defensive game, that is.