Three reasons to believe in the Oklahoma City Thunder's defense
Though it's looked mighty unpleasant at times, and clearly isn't to the level it was a year ago, the Thunder's rebounding hasn't been terrible this year. OKC still ranks in the upper half of the league in both rebounds per game (41.6) and rebounding differential (plus-0.97). Also, Nenad Krstic is just a 0.1-average rebound away from giving the Thunder six players averaging five or more boards. Gang rebounding equals a huge advantage.
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When it has mattered most, the Thunder generally has strung together solid stretches of shutdown defense, most notably in second halves. The Thunder is outscoring opponents 50 to 48.1 on average in the second half.
For now, the Thunder can be satisfied with a 27-13 record. There isn't a single team currently playing at the level it would like to be. But there are about 20 teams that would love to be 14 games above .500 while working on weaknesses. The Thunder has that luxury, and there is plenty of time in the second half of the season for the Thunder to shore up its current shortcomings.
By Darnell Mayberry
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