5 strengths OKC Thunder can utilize to win 8 ‘seeded’ games

Terrance Ferguson #23 of the OKC Thunder and Chris Paul #3 celebrate after the victory over the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Terrance Ferguson #23 of the OKC Thunder and Chris Paul #3 celebrate after the victory over the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
MARCH 08: Luguentz Dort #5 of the OKC Thunder looks on during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The trio of key strengths required to win:

Other factors cited by analysts include teams who run specific offenses predicated more on shooting may take time to get into a shooting rhythm and flow. Squads who exhibited upper-tier defense, the ability to win on the road, and a deep bench are also expected to fare well in Orlando.

The reason for this trio of points is logical. The old adage, defense travels has never been more apropos. Moreover, a team that can use solid defense to navigate cold shooting spells to keep games close has a decided advantage.

Depth is always key but particularly in this unusual situation with players returning after such a long hiatus. Even more compelling are the clubs who utilized their roster depth to accumulate wins while core players were out. It’s one thing to have a deep squad and quite another to be able to go deep into your bench with players who’ve gained experience in winning moments this season.

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Every team will need to win on the road because EVERY game is on the road. Some pundits are suggesting the pathetic road record of the 76ers and Heat can be thrown away – but can they? If a game comes down to the clutch time the experience of winning on the road has to be considered a huge edge.

To that end, half the teams attending have winning road records – –  the top seven seeds in the West plus the top three East seeds and the Pacers. Of those teams, seven have a winning percentage of 60 percent or better while the OKC Thunder, Lakers, Bucks, and Raptors are the only teams who won 64.5 percent (or higher) of their road games.

Again, some analysts are citing road wins as a non-factor, but then consider three of these clubs are leaders in winning the most games in clutch time. NBA fans are very familiar with this fact given the OKC Thunder 29 clutch time wins ranks first overall. The Raptors have the fifth most (22) and the Lakers are tied in eighth (18).

That’s not to say the Bucks can’t win in the clutch – they just finish teams off earlier and therefore haven’t had as many clutch time opportunities. Perhaps a more telling stat is the percentage of clutch games these four clubs convert into wins. Using clutch time win percentage as the defining caveat, the Bucks rank first (78.9%), OKC Thunder third (69%), Lakers are fourth (66.7%) and the Raptors are sixth (64.7%).