Game Day Preview: OKC Thunder – Utah Jazz, Game 2

OKC Thunder Paul George (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Paul George (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 15: Russell Westbrook
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 15: Russell Westbrook /

Enough Standing Around

Whether you watched one or 82 of the Thunder’s regular season games. It’s likely you noticed they stand around a lot on offense, there is very little player movement.

On stats page where speed and distance is tracked the OKC Thunder traveled the shortest distance on offense this season (690.40 miles). In contrast, the Spurs traveled the farthest distance on offense (801.30 miles).

Not only did OKC travel the shortest distance this season, it was the shortest distance in a single season since the league began tracking distance during the 2013-14 season.

It’s unlikely there will be much change in the standing and watching style offense in the post-season. However, to this point, the Rockets have traveled the shortest distance on offense in the playoffs. Adding slightly more movement to the offense could unlock a lot for Oklahoma City.

More Bench Production

Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson were the only two members of the Thunder to appear in all 82 regular season games. They were both reliable all season, their numbers will not blow you away, but their presence counts for something.

In Game 1.  Oklahoma City’s bench got outscored 34-17.  Felton scored two-points, Patterson didn’t score, and Jerami Grant didn’t score until the 7:54 of the fourth quarter. The Thunder’s starters scored 99 of their 116 points which is not ideal. The bench must step up and provide more in Game 2.

Continue Controlling the Pace

In the regular season, the Jazz allowed 116 or more points on seven occasions. Defensive dynamo Rudy Gobert played in four of the seven games, Utah went 0-7 in those games.

There is a reason Utah has the best defense, it’s a necessity. If their opponent starts scoring they simply don’t have the firepower to keep up. The Thunder must continue to push the pace and score at a high level in order to continue having success in the series.

One area the OKC Thunder must improve is if Gobert gets into foul trouble tp take advantage. When Gobert picked up his fourth foul with 5:19 remaining in the third. the Thunder outscored the Jazz 48-47. That margin must be greater than one if the situation occurs again.