(Picture via The Lost Ogle)
Pace: Thunder 94.8 (18th) vs. Cavs 93.2 (28th)
Offensive Efficiency: Thunder 102.8 (21st) vs. Cavs 108.1 (5th)
Defensive Efficiency: Thunder 100.3 (5th) vs. Cavs 100.4 (6th)
Get excited for LeBron vs. Durant. In my opinion, these are the two best scorers in the NBA this season. In my opinion, it doesn’t get better than LeBron’s 29.7 ppg on 61.1% TS or Durant’s 29.2 ppg on 60.1% TS.
Despite Durant’s offensive brilliance, the Thunder’s success this season has been because of their work at the defensive end. The Thunder absolutely shut down the 16-23 foot range and are excellent at defending the three, so it will be important for the Cavs not to settle. Additionally, OKC allows tons of shots at the rim, so the Cavs should look to attack the basket early and often.
-Russell Westbrook is an X-Factor’s X-Factor. His shot is shaky, he doesn’t make half of his layup attempts, and he’s prone to silly turnovers. But he has range on his shot, can get to the rim at will, and is capable of making brilliant passes. He’s a nightmare on defense, and can get the Thunder into a deadly full-court game. He’s not consistent by any stretch of the imagination, but when he’s on, watch out.
-Thabo Sefolosha has been getting some all-defense buzz, and Scott Brooks loves his length and athleticism on the perimeter. We’ll see how he does against LeBron.
-James Harden is another guy who can make plays and shoot from the perimeter, and plays under control. The problem: failure to finish inside is the silent killer, and Harden shoots an unbelievably bad 35.2% on layups. Yeesh.
-First game starting at the point for Boobie. Hopefully he can play within himself and knock down open shots when they’re there.
Daily Thunder (Gold Star)