The Oklahoma City Thunder took their game up a level when the playoffs started. Great teams do this.
What changed for the Thunder? Most notably, turnovers.
The Thunder turned the ball over more than any team in the NBA this season averaging 16.3 per game. In the playoffs, they are turning it over the least at 10.7 per game.
Kevin Durant and the rest of the team knows this and Durant wants his coach to stop talking about it.
“One thing Scotty needs to do is just shut up,” Durant said. “We’ll probably be a better team.”
It’s not surprising that people are talking about this. The Thunder were one of the most efficient offenses in the NBA despite their turnovers in the regular season and are that much more potent now in the playoffs.
It sounds simple but one of the things that seems to have really changed for the Thunder is their focus. That happens with the playoffs. Teams know the games matter more and the Thunder look more precise in every way now.
Russell Westbrook and Durant were both among the six players who turned the ball over more than anyone else in the league this season. They combined turned it over 7.4 times per game.
Westbrook is turning it over just 1.6 times per game now in the playoffs while Durant is still at 3.2.
Westbrook has played great this postseason and one of the keys coming into the playoffs was how he would be shooting his midrange pull-up jump shot. He was inconsistent with it at times in the regular season and when he is hitting it, it helps calm down the rest of his game and make him more under control.
The Thunder will play the most efficient offense in the NBA in the Western Conference Finals. Turning the ball over will not be acceptable if they plan to win the series.
The way things have been going, as long as their coach doesn’t jinx it, they should be fine.