Three reasons to be concerned about the Oklahoma City Thunder's defense

By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: January 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm •  Published: January 16, 2011
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Opponent field-goal percentage

By far the most alarming area of slippage this season has been the accuracy with which the Thunder has allowed opposing teams to score. After allowing teams to shoot just 44.8 percent, which ranked tied for sixth last season, the Thunder has allowed 46.8 percent this season, which ranks 23rd. Eight teams have already shot at least 50 percent against the Thunder. Utah has done so twice.

3-point defense

Another drastic drop off has been the Thunder's ability to defend the 3-point line. Last season, the Thunder gave up just 34 percent to 3-point shooters. That mark ranked third. This year, the Thunder has allowed 37.5 percent, ranking 25th. The Thunder has allowed at least seven 3s on 17 occasions this year. By comparison, the Thunder has made seven or more 3-pointers only eight times.

Inability to contain penetration

A large portion of the defensive struggles stems from breakdowns. The Thunder simple hasn't been able to keep guards out of the paint. Dribble penetration has been a huge problem all season. It's led to layups, dump-offs, kick-outs and fouls. The Thunder has had to rely on too much help all year and it's put the team defense in disarray.

By Darnell Mayberry



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