The Thunder had six one-pass possessions, which hardly were better in terms of ball and/or player movement. Westbrook took a virtual handoff from Kevin Martin, then backed down and made a turnaround jumper. Westbrook penetrated and kicked the ball to Sefolosha, who nailed a 3-pointer. Westbrook passed to Ibaka, who was fouled and made two foul shots. The last three were late in the game, all virtual handoffs from Westbrook to Durant, who missed a deep 2-pointer on the first, was fouled and made two foul shots on the second and missed a jumper on the third.
So there it was: 17 possessions in 81/2 minutes, virtually all of them using hero ball. The Thunder scored 20 points on those 17 possessions, made five of 11 shots and got 13 foul shots. Actually solid offensive production. But it was all a struggle, and Westbrook and Durant dominated the ball. In the last 41/2 minutes, in fact, only Westbrook and Durant so much as touched the ball in the frontcourt. Amazing. Simply amazing.
Sunday, the ball movement was much better. Maybe Scotty Brooks laid down the law. Several times, Westbrook passed the ball quickly after crossing midcourt and was given the ball right back. Maybe Foreman Scotty told his point guard, at least one pass is mandatory. Of course, the Clippers went to that zone in the fourth quarter, and that skews the study somewhat. But it’s still interesting. The Thunder clearly was more interested in passing.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunder had 24 possessions. Only five were passless; one of those was Westbrook’s breakaway dunk and another was in the final second, when Durant was fouled. So really, only three no-pass possessions. And there were only three one-pass possessions.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Thunder slumped and went eight straight possessions without scoring. That zone totally stymied OKC. But the Thunder found its rhythm. A hidden gem in this victory — the Thunder scored on its final nine possessions. That’s remarkable efficiency. The first two of those possessions resulted in foul shots, plus Durant’s final foul shots. But that means six straight possessions resulting in a Thunder field goal:
* Two passes, then Kevin Martin drives through the zone for a lay-in and a 95-90 OKC lead;
* Zero passes, courtesy of Westbrook’s steal and breakaway dunk for a 97-90 lead;
* Seven passes, resulting in the Ibaka dunk that made it 97-90;
* Zero passes, with Westbrook’s drive through the Clippers giving OKC a 101-100 lead;
* Three passes, the final a nifty Westbrook dish to Ibaka for a 3-point play and a 104-100 lead;
* Five passes, then Westbrook feigning his way past Lamar Odom to the baseline for an open 14-footer and a 106-102 lead.
Lots of good offense there, in a variety of ways. And much different than Friday night, when in the fourth quarter the Thunder passed fewer times than Barry Switzer’s wishbone.
Professor Discusses 1 Tip To Match 5 Winning Numbers.