Thunder: Who’s more clutch, KD or Russ?
USA Today had a fascinating piece as its “Cover Story” today, and the Thunder was front and center.
If you’ve read the national newspaper, you know that the “Cover Story” is the meaty feature that appears on every section front. The sports page today focused on clutch players in the NBA Playoffs. The piece, written by Jeff Zillgitt, delves into all the different aspects that make a player clutch.
This is a topic that we’ve written about before as it relates to Kevin Durant. He’s become a much better player in the clutch — which is defined as the last five minutes or less of a game with a score margin within five points — and it doesn’t take a lot of statistics for folks in these parts to know that.
Thunder fans have seen it with their own eyes this past couple years.
But Zillgitt sites some fascinating numbers about KD and his tag-team partner Russell Westbrook. This season, the Thunder has had 30 games that came down to clutch situations. Durant and Westbrook both averaged 4.9 minutes in the last 5 minutes of those games. Not a shock since both of those guys are going to be on the floor at the end of close games.
But here’s what’s interesting about their clutch-time performances.
“Durant averaged 4.8 points to Westbrook’s 4.1,” Zillgitt wrote. “Yet Durant took 32 more shots and had a lower shooting percentage (39.3%) than Westbrook (43.5%).”
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