Friday, April 4, 2014
Keys to victory: Thunder sweep Spurs
By ESPN Stats & Information
The Oklahoma City Thunder made it a clean sweep of the San Antonio Spurs, beating them for the fourth time this season on Thursday. They became the third team to sweep the Spurs in a regular-season series of that length since Tim Duncan's career began.
DIfference Maker- Pick and Roll
If you were going to pinpoint one stat that best illustrated the difference between the Thunder and Spurs this season, it would be the success of the Thunder's pick-and-roll against the Spurs defense.
The Thunder scored 18 points on pick-and-roll plays Thursday, including eight by Kevin Durant. The Spurs’ pick-and-roll defense ranks in the top 10 in the league, but has struggled against the Thunder this season.
Oklahoma City is averaging 29 pick-and-roll points in the four games against the Spurs this season on 53 percent shooting (64 percent from 3-point range).
Other teams are scoring 24.1 points on 42 percent shooting (43 percent on 3-pointers) on pick-and-rolls against the Spurs.
Westbrook, Thunder solve Spurs transition D
The other stat that was a huge difference maker on Thursday night was the Spurs struggles with their transition defense.
During the 19-game winning streak, the Spurs were allowing only 15 transition points per game. The Thunder tallied 35. Russell Westbrook outscored San Antonio in transition by himself, 18-17, hitting 7 of 10 shots in transition situations.
Durant does it again
Kevin Durant scored 28 points to lead the Thunder and has averaged 26 points per game against the Spurs this season. He's scored 25 or more points in 39 straight games, the longest single-season streak since Michael Jordan had a 40-gamer in the 1986-87 season.