MEMPHIS. Tenn. — Kevin Durant, Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson have all been better than average in the Thunder's second-round playoff series against Memphis.
Problem is, everybody else who's been on the floor for OKC has been below average.
If Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Martin and Nick Collison could have just been average, the Thunder wouldn't be trailing 2-1 in this best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal.
These five players need to be average, not heroic.
If everybody on the OKC roster not named Durant, Fisher or Jackson could shoot the same percentages and produce the same numbers they did during the 2012-13 regular season, the Thunder might be one win away from returning to the conference finals for the third straight season.
*Ibaka is supposed to shoot 57.3 percent from the field, not 30.8 percent.
*Sefolosha also is shooting 30.8 percent against Memphis, but shot 48.1 percent in the regular season.
*When “Steady Eddy” Collison comes off the bench, he shoots 59.5 percent from the floor, not 28.6 percent.
*Martin became an elite sixth man because he shot 45.0 percent from the floor, not 38.1 percent like now.
*Perkins shot 45.7 percent during the season, but has misfired at 14.3 percent so far in the series.
Is it unreasonable to ask these players to just be average?
“No, we'd like that,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after Sunday morning's practice in preparation for Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. Monday at FedExForum. “We don't need guys to play special. We need guys to play solid. That's not asking a lot and they've done that at the defensive end. They've missed some shots. Sometimes that's the way the ball bounces and you have to understand that.”
During the regular season, OKC averaged 105.7 points, shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3-point range.
So far against the Grizzlies, the Thunder has averaged just 89.0 points, shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 33.3 from 3-point range.
Some, but not all, of OKC's frustration has been because of a Memphis defense that might be the league's finest.
But Ibaka hasn't missed three dunks in the last two games because of the defense, nor is that why Sefolosha is shooting 16.7 percent from 3-point range after hitting 41.9 percent during the season.