Saturday, February 23, 2013
Can Bulls quiet ultra-efficient Kevin Durant?
By Justin Page
ESPN Stats & Information
Kevin DurantThe Thunder host the Bulls tomorrow night on ESPN. Here's what you need to know about this matchup of playoff probables:
(left) has enjoyed an extremely efficient season, once again leading the NBA in scoring. Meanwhile, the Bulls have missed injured star Derrick Rose
(right) at both ends of the floor.
DURANT MAJORING IN EFFICIENCY
Three-time defending scoring champion Kevin Durant is having an outstanding season on offense, even by his own lofty standards. He's again leading the league with 28.9 PPG, but he’s only attempting 18.0 field goals per game.
Charles Barkley (1987-88) is the only player in NBA history to average at least 28 points while attempting 18.0 or fewer shots per game.
Durant is also posting career highs in field-goal percentage (51.6), three-point percentage (42.6) and free-throw percentage (90.8).
If Durant continues this pace, he would become just the second player in NBA history (Larry Bird in the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons) to average at least 28 points, shoot at least 50 percent from the field, at least 40 percent from three-point range and at least 90 percent from the free-throw line.
BULLS MISS THEIR ROSE
On the Bulls' sideline, the impact of Derrick Rose's absence has been obvious at both ends of the court.
Rose took home MVP honors in 2010-11, becoming just the sixth point guard in NBA history to win the award, and even when he missed time, the Bulls managed to survive, posting an 18-9 record (.667 win pct) with Rose out of the lineup.
This season, however, Chicago has seen its win percentage dip to .582.
With Rose on the court last season, the Bulls averaged 107.6 points per 100 possessions (only one team had a higher rating last season). This season, the Bulls are averaging 100.1 in that category (24th in the NBA).
Filling Rose's position has been a struggle, with Bulls point guards averaging only 8.7 PPG. Last season, Rose averaged 21.8 PPG.
BULLS TRAVEL WELL
The Bulls may be on the road Sunday night, but that's where they've been at their best this season. They're 17-10 on the road so far, and they're the only team in the NBA with a better record on the road than at home.
In fact, if the winning ways continue for the Bulls and they reach the postseason, they would be just the fifth playoff team since 2000 with a better record away than at home.
The Bulls come off a big win over the Bobcats, when they committed just six turnovers (their fewest in a game this season), but they'll be visiting a Thunder team that is outscoring opponents by a league-best 8.7 points per game this season.