Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stat Line of the Day: May 22nd

Oklahoma City Thunder: 1-17 3PT, 32-36 FT vs. Mavericks
Harden (L) and Durant shot a combined 0-12
from downtown in Game Three
In a close Game Three loss to Dallas, the Thunder's shooters were something of a mixed bag. OKC as a team shot 36.5% from the field--not great, but far from Butler-in-the-title-game-esque. The real striking stat from Scott Brook's squad was their three-point shooting. The Thunder shot only 1-17 from downtown, including an 0-8 from Kevin Durant and 0-4 from James Harden. In fact, until Russell Westbrook hit the team's lone three-pointer with 35 seconds remaining, the Thunder were about to set the record for postseason three-point futility. If the Thunder had ended the game 0-16 from downtown, they would have set an all-time playoff record for the most three-point attempts without a make.  Instead, they shot 5.9% from downtown--just a horrifying mark.  Granted, the Thunder were a mediocre three-point shooting team during the regular season: 19th in the NBA at 34.7%.  The Mavericks were also above-average at defending the three-ball this year: 7th in the NBA at 34.3% against.  However, 1-17 is just an impressive level of futility--one that made the difference in a close game.

Not to be overly negative with this post, though, I want to highlight how impressive the Thunder's free throw shooting was last night. OKC was the NBA's best free-throw shooting team during the regular season (82.3%), and they were second in the league in free throws attempted (29.3/game).  Last night, the Thunder shot 32-36 (88.9%) from the line, including 10-12 during a furious fourth quarter comeback. Though the Thunder fell short, the free throw shooting of their big stars got them back into a game that had looked lost when they were down 27-12 after the first quarter.  Durant shot 10-11 and Westbrook shot 13-14: 92% combined.  Though they were only 1-10 from three-point range, 23-25 from the free throw line for Westbrook and Durant should at least give Thunder fans a little hope going into Game Four.

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