Game On: Thunder at Pelicans

Published: December 6, 2013

Two similar offenses collide tonight as the Pelicans welcome OKC to town.  You’re probably a little surprised to hear that the offenses of these two teams are similar, considering the gap in reputation between them, but they do have stark similarities.  Both teams shoot at about the league average in efficiency.  Both teams are solid offensive rebounding teams.  Both teams take a low number of three point shots.  Both teams rely on wing players and have big men that are largely of the pick-and-pop variety.

Really, the one differentiation in their offenses is the Pelicans shoot better from deep – and the Thunder draw more free throws.  On a per-possession basis, the Pelicans have actually outperformed their Thunder conterparts so far this season.

The test, however, comes on the defensive side of the ball, where the Pelicans can’t stop anyone – while OKC has a top-6 defense in the league.  Their defense is predicated on few fouls, strong rebounding, never gambling for steals, and contesting shots.  They are good at keeping teams from getting to the basket – with teams only getting to the rim on 30.8% of their shots – which ranks in the top 10.  Those that do get to the rim also have a hard time converting.  The result of this defense is a lot of teams taking three pointers – not corner threes – of which OKC again is top 10 when it comes to limiting those shots – but standard threes from the wing and top of the line.  Close to 22% of opponent shots come from there – which is the highest number in the league – resulting in about league average shooting.

That means they will give you the long three.  With Anderson, Gordon, H0liday and Morrow – let’s hope they take it, because I have a feeling the drives to the basket by Gordon and Evans which are normally pretty effective will not be against this team.

Keys to the game:

  • Go under every pick with Westbrook.  Westbrook is cat-quick but still isn’t a great shooter.  Don’t hedge on those pick and rolls – go under and meet him coming off the other side.
  • Penetrate and kick.  OKC will collapse on drives – find the open wing shooters.
  • Please don’t foul on the perimeter.  OKC lives at the line – cut down on the dumb fouls, and that will save a world of pain later.

Enjoy the Game!

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