The OKC Thunder display Friday highlighted why they miss Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook so much. In a home loss to the Pistons Scott Brooks‘ team made one free throw.
Over 53 minutes and nearly one-hundred shot attempts only Steven Adams would make a foul shot for the home team.
See KD has led the NBA in made free throws for five years straight. In addition Russ has been among the top-five league wide in each of his last three healthy seasons. Getting to the foul line and converting has been the primary advantage for OKC during their five year run of success.
Sans their stars the Thunder have become the first team in at least three decades to make fewer than two foul shots in an overtime game.
Only the expansion Toronto Raptors featuring rookie Damon Stoudamire played an entire NBA game while not hitting a freebie.
Date Tm Opp Result MP FGA FT FTA
2014-11-14 OKC DET L 89-96 (OT) 265 96 1 6
2014-02-08 MEM ATL W 79-76 240 90 1 1
2013-11-24 PHO ORL W 104-96 240 95 1 3
2012-01-14 TOR CHI L 64-77 240 86 1 7
2004-02-25 NJN MIN L 68-81 240 83 1 5
1996-01-09 TOR CHH L 91-92 240 84 0 3
The Oklahoma City Thunder have played ten playoff games in 2014. Understanding the sample size is still small we could see flukes in OKC’s production by lineups. But early on there are dramatic differences in Scott Brooks 5-man units.
The Thunder’s most common lineup is Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. In 127 minutes played through 10 games this unit is playing even with it’s opponents.
When Brooks goes small and inserts Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler for Perk and Thabo we see an improvement in rebounding and big jump in shooting efficiency. Overall this small unit is +30 points/100 possessions.
This is an outrageous difference and is not likely to last. But ten games in there is no argument which Thunder lineup has been most productive this playoff season.