Thunder in midst of mini-slump
December, 25, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information
Isaac Baldizon/Getty Images-NBAELeBron James and company got the better of the Thunder this time around.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been just a little bit off their game, and now they’ve paid the price a bit with two straight losses.
The Thunder’s loss to the Miami Heat was decided in similar fashion to the New York Knicks-Los Angeles Lakers game earlier in the day-- in the paint.
As the chart on the right notes, the Heat outshot and outscored the Thunder decisively in the paint. The Thunder’s 28 points in the paint were their second-lowest total of the season. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were a combined 7-for-20 on those scoring opportunities.
This marked the fourth straight game in which the Thunder were outscored in the paint. That encompasses wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks, and losses to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Heat.
In those four games, the Thunder are shooting 46 percent (73-for-158) in the paint. Prior to that, they were shooting 57 percent on paint-based shots, averaging 21 makes per game, among the most successful teams in the NBA.
The only one of those four teams that ranks in the top 10 in the NBA in lowest opponents' field-goal percentage in the paint is the Spurs (49.6 percent, fourth-best).
It was a little surprising the Thunder didn’t fare a little better against the Hawks, who rank 13th (52.7 percent), the Heat, who rank 17th (53.4 percent) and the Timberwolves, who rank 22nd (54 percent).
Also surprising: the Thunder would allow a team to shoot as well as the Heat did did Tuesday.
They are holding opponents to 48.7 percent shooting in the paint this season, third-best in the NBA.