Monday, February 13th, 2012

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s porous defense will cause them to falter in the playoffs

Published on February 9, 2012 by Anthony Carriuolo   ·   No Comments

Two nights ago the late heroism of the terrific duo of Oklahoma City Thunder SF Kevin Durant and PG Russell Westbrook shot their way to victory in a shootout against the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena. Golden State Warriors’ SG Monta Ellis scored a monstrous 48 including almost 40 in the first half.

The Golden State Warriors in many ways are a similar team to the Oklahoma City Thunder, albeit a far worse version. They lack severely in defense, but can outscore anyone. Even though Golden State SG Monta Ellis had a magnificent night, a three point win against a clearly inferior team in which Oklahoma City needed 119 points is a condemnation of their defensive talents. The Oklahoma City Thunder have one of the most prolific offenses in the game. However, in the case of the Western Conference, the defensive play is far weaker than their Eastern competitors. The West may be better from top to bottom, but their defense is shirked for sniper-like shooting and attacking offense.

The NBA Finals win for the Dallas Mavericks against the Miami Heat was a fluke. No I am not a scorned Heat fan, but it is important to know the reason why it was a fluke was that the Mavericks won very unconventionally: by shooting their lights out and playing a great zone defense. Ninety-nine times out of one-hundred, defense is going to be the epicenter of a championship team, as shown by virtually every team to play in the finals.

Say what you will about Thunder SF Kevin Durant, but on his best night he is the third best player in the NBA, behind the complete yet aging Lakers SG Kobe Bryant, and the Miami Heat SF LeBron James. Durant only scores, he has no defensive capability. He will be scorched every game by other elite opposition at the small forward spot.

The Oklahoma City Thunder look primed to take all those last place finishes and high draft picks to glory, but will need to defend the basket before they defend a trophy.


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