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NBA Finals notebook: Defending OKC

by Ryan Aber Published: June 15, 2012

Miami forward Shane Battier ranks as one of the league's top defenders.

Asked if there is an art to defending without fouling, Battier said: “Yes. It's a fine line, and every game is different because you have to understand how the refs are calling the game. You have to understand the players you're playing against. These guys (the Thunder) are foul-drawers, so you really have to stay disciplined and concentrate every possession, because if you have a mental lapse, they're going to shoot free throws. That's how this team really, really beats you. You have to have amazing discipline mentally.

“You let them shoot 30 free throws, it's a losing equation.”

The Thunder actually has been hurt by its free-throw shooting.

During the regular season, OKC led the league in free-throw percentage (.806), free throws made (21.4 per game) and was second in attempts (26.4). So far in the Finals, however, the Thunder is shooting just 73.6 percent from the line (39 for 53).


The Thunder and Heat are two of the most athletic teams in the league, but OKC ranked dead last in assists and turnovers during the regular season, while Miami tied for 20th and 21st, respectively.

Rankings for both teams have improved considerably in the postseason, which helps explain their journeys to the NBA Finals.

Battier credits his teammates' passing for his 17.0-point scoring and 70.6-percent shooting.

“I'm getting good looks,” Battier said. “We're not the best passing team in the history of basketball, and I've let people know that on my team, so I've gotten some good passes. I've told those guys, ‘If you give me good passes, I'm going to make some shots.' We're getting some very good passes in this series.”


The second and final part of MTV's original sports documentary “Nothing But Net,” featuring Thunder star Kevin Durant with the Douglass boys basketball team, will air at noon Sunday on MTV2.

Durant spent some time with the Trojans during their season, including serving as a referee for a scrimmage and bowling with the team at RedPin Bowling Lounge in Bricktown.

Douglass players also received all-black Nike Kevin Durant shoes as well.

The Trojans won their third consecutive Class 4A state title.


Miami center Chris Bosh, who is 6-foot-11, 235 pounds, is hardly known as a banger. However, he has made his presence known in the first two games of the series, averaging 13.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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