SILENCE THE THUNDER!
Game Time Start: 7:00 PM ET
Where: The Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Officials: T. Washington, C. Kirkland, L. Richardson
Media Notes: Indiana Notes, Oklahoma City Notes
Local TV: FSI
Local Radio: WIBC 93.1 FM
- NBA Audio League Pass (available free to NBA All-Access members)
- NBA League Pass Broadband (subscription req'd)
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Season Records: (W-L)
33-21 (Home: 17-7) 40-13 (Away: 17-9)
Upcoming Games: Apr 07 Apr 09 Apr 11 Apr 13 Apr 14 vs vs at vs at 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 7:00 pm 8:30 pm
Projected Starting Lineup: C PF SF SG PG HIBBERT WEST GRANGER GEORGE COLLISON Projected Starting Lineup: C PF SF SG PG PERKINS IBAKA DURANT SEFOLOSHA WESTBROOK
Kyrylo Fesenko, getting into wacky hijinks in Point Place, WI, out
Eric Maynor, torn ACL, out
Minimally Relevant Video:
Eight Points, Nine Seconds PreviewReview: Tim Donahue: By the Numbers - The Homestretch
Time for another installment of the By The Numbers series? Indiana has a
dirty dozen games left. It’s April, and the playoff race is in full swing, so
let’s look at the big numbers.
After the win in Washington, Chris Denari mentioned something I had not
realized – the 33rd win of the season for the Pacers guaranteed that Indy
would be .500 or better for the first time since 2006. Good on them.
As I mentioned at the All Star break, the season has been a little uneven.
Indy is only 17-15 after a 16-6 start, but to be anything less than thrilled
with where the Pacers stand right now is more indicative of wildly
inappropriate expectations than any shortfall by the Pacers.
Most impressive, the Pacers are 16-14 on the road. They are one game
away from reaching coach Frank Vogel’s goal of a winning record away
from home. To give you an idea of how big of a deal that is, the NBA
has averaged fewer than 8 winning road teams per season over the last
12 years. The Pacers’ road record is sixth best in the league, and one of
only seven winning road records in the league this year.
As it stands right now, the Pacers in are in the top ten in both Defensive
(9th) and Offensive (8th) efficiency. Should Vogel’s squad finish the
season this way, it will be the first time since 2004 that the Pacers have
accomplished such a feat.
To further understand how impressive this would be, it should be noted
that this would be only the fourth time Indiana has been in the top ten at
both ends in their 37-year NBA history. Besides 2004, they also did it in
1995 and 1998. In all three of those seasons, the Pacers made it to the
Eastern Conference Finals. That 1998 team, in my opinion, was the best
NBA Pacer team ever.
Those two numbers represent the Pacers’ shooting at the rim and from
16-23 feet according to Hoopdata. This is a mixed bag.
The .579 at the rim is an improvement from the last time we spoke (.556),
and Indiana is no longer dead last in the Association. They have clawed
their way past New Jersey and even Charlotte to stand 28th! Yay! But,
really, they’re still bad at the rim. Roy Hibbert (.557), David West (.560),
and Darren Collison (.531) 40% of Indy’s shots here, and their collective
.551 is worse than any team in the league. Paul George remains strong at
the rim - shooting .638 on the second most attempts on the team (163) –
and he’s joined by Tyler Hansbrough (.633) as the only Pacers hitting better
than the league average .627.
At .362, Indy has creeped out of the bottom five, but they’re still well
short of the .379 league average. David West is back to .470, matching
last year’s sterling percentage. Darren Collison is up to .420, as that little
pull up has become a reliable weapon.
Tyler Hansbrough is still at .340, which I still believe is killing his offensive
game. Last season...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s
Daily Thunder Clutch squared: Westbrook and Durant are figuring it out
Ever since “The Altercation,” things have really cooled on the “Russell
Westbrook and Kevin Durant can’t co-exist front.” Mainly because the
Thunder have risen to the best team in the West while Westbrook and
Durant have looked equally spectacular.
They’re the top scoring duo in the league averaging a combined 51.9
points per game. They’ve both scored 40-plus in a game together twice
this season, something no other duo in NBA history has done. Since
the start of 2010-11 season Durant and Westbrook have each scored
20-plus points in a game 70 times, most in NBA. I could go on, but I
think you get it. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are very good.
And yet, there’s this perception. I say “this perception” because I’m
not even sure if I know what it is anymore. Some think Westbrook is
a ball-hog. Some think Durant and Westbrook hate each other. Some
think Westbrook and Durant are locked in a battle for alpha dog
supremacy. Some get locked into rudimentary statlines that explain
nothing about the way Durant and Westbrook play together. Some
just think they don’t play basketball very well together.
But those that have watched the Thunder play this season, they’ve
seen an interesting dynamic. Westbrook and Durant appear to be
getting along very well on the basketball court. Oklahoma City’s
record (37-12) should say enough, but the question is if Westbrook
and Durant can, or will, succeed in the postseason. The spotlight will
be on and every fourth quarter jumper that Westbrook takes will be
criticized, analyzed and scrutinized.
I’m trying to get out in front of that with this. So let’s start with this
stat: In terms of “clutch” scoring, which is defined as the final five
minutes (and overtime) of a game with a margin of five or less,
Durant leads the league with 126 points. Joe Johnson and Chris Paul
are second with 109. Westbrook is fourth with 102. Kobe is fifth is
100. Consider this too though: Durant is shooting 41.1 percent in the
clutch, Westbrook 49.3 percent. (Kobe? He’s at 31.3 percent. Just
wanted to toss that out there.)
The Thunder, who have played a good number of close games, have
scored 277 points as a team in the clutch. Durant and Westbrook have
combined for 228 of them. The Thunder have been one of the best
teams at closing close games, and that’s been largely due to the
success of Westbrook and Durant operating in those moments. They
finished one and two in clutch scoring last season (Westbrook 199
points on 39.1 shooting, Durant 194 on 40.6), but this year, it’s a
much more cohesive, natural attack.
As for the idea that Westbrook doesn’t defer, that’s just incorrect.
Consider this:...CONTINUE READING AT DAILY THUNDER