OKC Thunder find perfect clutch time lineup in Houston

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Chris Paul
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Chris Paul /

The OKC Thunder went into Houston needing a victory. They walked out victorious, but the team gained more than just another W.

On Saturday night as the OKC Thunder and Houston Rockets began the fourth quarter, it was the Rockets who had a three-point lead. After a collision with Nene on the previous play Steven Adams exited the game. Although Adams was cleared to return he never did.

Furthermore, the lineup Billy Donovan put out on the floor in the fourth quarter flourished. It might be the key to winning the final two games and finding success in the post season.

The lineup featured Russell Westbrook, Alex Abrines, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Jerami Grant. Prior to Saturday night the five man combination appeared in 11 games, total playing time 26 minutes.

In their first 26 minutes on court the lineup has scored 81 points on (27-41 for 65.9 percent) shooting. Committed seven personal fouls, while drawing 19 fouls. The lineup also has a positive assist to turnover ratio of 16-8. This lineup also boasts a plus19 in the plus/minus department.

Moreover, the aforementioned lineup’s numbers from Saturday night did not accurately depict their impact on the game. The five man group played five minutes, shot (1 of 9 for 11.1 percent). They registered no assists nor turnovers, and were a minus -2 in the plus/minus department.

Let’s talk about spacing

The lineups greatest strength is a valuable component in today’s NBA, the ability to space the floor. Using Nick Sciria‘s Spacing Rating metric the lineup possesses an (85.0 percent) spacing rating. The highest possible rating is 100 percent, so a rating of 85 is stellar.

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Using the same metric the Thunder’s current starting lineups spacing rating is (30 percent). A poor rating like that will not get it done in the clutch. As it allows the defense to collapse and clog the paint.

If you apply the same metric to the Rockets, the Rockets have multiple lineups with a spacing rating of (96.6 percent) or better. It is quite clear watching the Rockets they have mastered the art of spacing the floor.

If the OKC Thunder properly utilize their super spacing lineup they may go further in the playoffs, than previously anticipated.

That’s it for me today Thunder Nation. Stay with Thunderous Intentions and check out our game day coverage as the Thunder visit the Miami Heat in the final road game of the 2017-18 regular season.

All stats provided by NBA.com/Stats and Smartbasketballguy.com