OK City has secured 1st place in the Northwest division with a record of 54-26. They are one game behind the Lakers and Dallas, and with two games left could move into 2nd place in the West behind San Antonio. They are tied for the longest winning streak in the conference at 4 games, and are 8-2 in the last ten games. They are 30-10 at home and have the 4th best road record at 24-16.
The Thunder own a 3-0 lead in the season series against the Kings including a 126-96 win in our last game back on Feb. 15th. In that game Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic started for Oklahoma, but less than 10 days later they were traded along with OKC's 2012 first round pick to Boston for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson. The Thunder also traded Mo Peterson and DJ White to Charlotte for Nazr Mohammed which finally gives the Thunder the size in the post to go up against teams like the Lakers.
Prior to the trade OKC was 36-20 (64.3%) since the trade deadline they are 17-6 (73.9%). Field goal percentage is at 47.1%, 3P% is at 36.4%, PPG are at 105.1, Tot Rebs are at 43.5, and Off Rebs are at 11.6. Every percentage is up 1% and every total is also up 1. So, they're shooting better, scoring better, rebounding better, and winning more often; I guess size does matter.
Since the trade, Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha remain as the starting backcourt. Serge Ibaka moved in the starting PF spot and Kendrick Perkins moved into the starting center spot, and Kevin Durant remains as the starting SF. Off the bench we have Nazr Mohammed and Nick Collison down low, with James Harden, Eric Maynor, Daequan Cook, and Nate Robinson filling the guard and wing spots.
Since joining the team, Perkins is averaging 5.5 pts/ 8.6 rebs/ 1 blk in 25 mpg. Mohammed is averaging 6.5 pts/ 4.6 rebs/ in 17.3 mpg. Nate has only played in 3 games and averages less than 4 mpg.
Durant and Harden have combined for 720 of OKC's 1350 three point attempts and are shooting around 35%. Cook and Maynor are the true high percentage three pts threats but don't take a lot of attempts per game. Maynor shoots 39.4% on just over 1 three point attempt per game and Cook shoots 41.3% on just over 3.5 per game.
Perkins leads the team with 8.6 rpg and 2.5 on the offensive glass, Ibaka is 2nd at 7.6 per game with 2.7 coming on the offensive glass and third is Durant at 6.9 rpg. Westbrook, Mohammed, Sefolosha, and Collison all average around 4.5 rpg.
They are only slightly better than average defensively (ranked 14th), but they have the 6th best offense rating. What makes them really good offensively is that they have the highest FT% in the league at 82%, and they have 3rd best rate at getting to the FT line at almost 30 times a game or almost 25 pts per game.
The Thunder beat the Lakers in the Staple Center last night in what was a very intense game, including a moment where Perkins and Kobe got into it and received technical. Now with two games left and the Lakers up one game and owning the tie breaker, OKC needs to beat us and hope that we turn around and beat the Lakers. And, the Lakers need to either win on Tuesday at home against the Spurs or here on Wednesday against the Kings to lock up 2nd place in the West. So, I'm guessing there aren't going to be any easy games to finish the season, unless the Lakers beat San Antonio in which case LA may rest their starters.
As for the Kings chances against the Thunder, well their not very good. We foul too often and we turn the ball over too often. Our offense looks good, except when we put the ball into Sam or JT's hands away from the rim and they try to dribble the ball thru a crowd. When the Kings went up against Perkins while he was still with Boston, DeMarcus and Sammy did pretty good and held Shaq and Perkins to 10 pts and 10 rebs, while combining for 24 pts/ 13 rebs/ 7 blks themselves. And, both only had 3 fouls. I think Thornton on Westbrook and Tyreke on Sefolosha, should be an interest matchup. But, as always how do we stop Durant. Maybe the answer is to give him all the open 3pt shots he wants and hope for the best. Let's hope for the best, go Kings.