Thunder on fire at free-throw line

By John Rohde, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Modified: November 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm •  Published: November 11, 2010

If a game comes down to a free-throw shooting contest, advantage Thunder. OKC has easily outshot every opponent at the line this season.

Take away free throws, however, and the 4-3 Thunder would still be winless. OKC has been outscored from the field in every game this season.

The Thunder has two one-point victories and is coming off a six-point victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday night, during which OKC converted 35 of 37 free throws (.946).

“We have to get to the free-throw line for us to be successful,” Brooks said.

Maintaining a high free-throw percentage also depends on who is sent to the line. A steady diet of Durant and Westbrook would bring in a hefty income of free points.

Actually, every Thunder player in the usual rotation – other than rookie Cole Aldrich (1 for 2) – is a solid candidate. Serge Ibaka, the youngest player on the team, is shooting 89.5 percent (17 for 19).

Thunder players freely admit they are in competition among themselves from the line. No one wants to be the man who misses. No one, not even Durant, is off-limits to ridicule.

“When I missed one free throw, Russ called me Shaq,” Durant explained, shaking his head while referencing Shaquille O'Neal, a career 52.7-percent free-throw shooter. “Nothing against Shaq, but I was thinking, ‘Man, he called me Shaq.' So every time I step to the line, I think about that and try to sink them.”

While the Thunder no doubt can hit an open 15-footer from the free-throw line, the same does not hold true from the 3-point line, where it convincingly ranks dead last at 20.3 percent.

“I'm pretty positive we're not as bad a 3-point shooting team that we've displayed,” Brooks said. “Our shots are going to start falling.”



Team free-throw leaders

ALL-TIME

1. Boston (1989-90) .832

2. Dallas (2002-03) .829

3. Boston (1990-91) .824

3. Toronto (2008-09) .824

5. Milwaukee (1988-89) .821

5. K.C.-Omaha (1974-75) .821

2010-11

1. Thunder .873

2. Houston .835

3. Denver .822

4. Charlotte .814

5. LA Lakers .812

Source: Basketball-Reference.com

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