Western Conference Finals Game 1 Is Today
San Antonio Spurs: The Western Conference Finals begin tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
Charles Barkley and his “love” for the city of San Antonio may be funny, but the headline of the series is the injury to Serge Ibaka, who will miss the remainder of the postseason.
Ibaka is, without a doubt, the third-best player on the Oklahoma City Thunder, so this is a huge blow to OKC, especially since Ibaka is particularly dangerous against the Spurs with his outside shooting.
According to NBA.com, with Ibaka on the court, the Spurs field-goal percentage is almost 10 percent lower (51.4 to 42.3). Their three-point shooting is 54.2 percent with Ibaka on the bench and 33.3 percent with him playing; And, lastly, per 100 possessions, the Spurs score 120.8 points per game when Ibaka doesn’t play, compared to just 93.0 when he does.
Those are some eye-popping stats in regards to Ibaka’s importance, especially on the defensive end.
Spurs have won 9 strait G1’s…longest streak since Bulls ’96-’98..Thunder are 0-3 in G1’s on road..and lost 11 strait G1’s back to Sea days
— Ric Renner (@RicRenFSSW) May 19, 2014
Ronald Agers of FanSided lays out the keys to
stop slow down MVP Kevin Durant.
In the first round against Memphis Tony Allen used his physicality to force Durant into difficult fade away jumpers. In the second round against LA, Chris Paul stayed attached to Durant, as well. The Clippers further complicated things for Durant bringing a strong and fast double team. Durant had trouble passing out of it and turned the ball over and the Clippers got out on the fast break.
Here are more interesting stats from NBA.com’s John Schuhmann:
- Leonard has been the best mid-range shooter among players who have attempted at least 20 mid-range shots.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder lead the postseason with 16.7 fast break points per game.
- The Thunder forced just 11.1 turnovers per 100 possessions, the lowest rate in the playoffs.
- Westbrook and Kevin Durant rank first and second in postseason usage rate.
- The Thunder offense has scored 111.4 points per 100 possessions with Westbrook on the floor and just 93.4 with him on the bench.
- Reggie Jackson averaged 21.3 points in four games against the Spurs, his highest scoring average against any team.
- Durant committed a career-high 11 turnovers in the Jan. 22 meeting in San Antonio.
- The Thunder scored 120.4 points per 100 possessions in Marco Belinelli‘s 122 minutes on the floor and just 92.9 in his 70 minutes on the bench.
- Duncan and Splitter combined to shoot just 16-for-41 (39 percent) in the restricted area.
- Duncan shot just 5-for-18 when being defended by Kendrick Perkins.
Who Will Represent the West in the 2014 NBA Finals?