After watching game one, a few things stood out to me. Enes Kanter is a problem for anyone not named Steven Adams on the boards. Kanter was third in the league in offensive rebounding percentage (13.8.) However on defence Kanter was matched up with Steven Adams, the Thunder made it clear their plan was to attack Kanter in pick and rolls with Westbrook and Adams. This worked well for the Thunder, as Westbrook was able to deliver some nice pocket passes and Adams was able to get his flick shot off with little resistance from Kanter. Without Nurkic this should be there all series for the Thunder. Kanter just doesn’t have the length to contest Adams’ shot.
If I were coaching the Thunder I would try to slow the game down. Game one felt like a track meet, I felt for Adams watching him run up and down the court. I would imagine he would play much better if he didn’t have run so much.
Going into this series I thought these two teams were eerily similar. They both have two stars and a solid big man, followed by a bunch of unproven role players. That’s why I think both of these teams should have the same strategy. For the Blazers I would suggest clogging the paint a little more to help out Kanter and leave either Jerami Grant or Schroeder open. For the Thunder I would try to trap Damien Lillard in pick and rolls, start Schroeder and tell him to pick up Lillard when he crosses half court, also help off of Moe Harkless more (27.5 3pt %). The Blazers are deeper, in my opinion, have better shooters off of their bench, so if you take away Moe Harkless, Terry Stotts can put in Rodney Hood or Seth Curry. The Thunder don’t have shooters coming off of their bench Raymond Felton 32%, Dennis Schroder 34% (0-7 last night)
It still amazes me that people think Westbrooks triple doubles really matter. How many of his rebounds do you go “Oh wow what rebound?” Maybe once a game? Do you know what would happen if Westbrook didn’t get his 10 rebounds a night? Absolutely nothing, somebody else would get them, as in the 7ft 265 pound giant, from New Zealand Steven Adams! I read this stat the other day on NBA.com about Steven Adams and let me tell you it blew my mind are you ready for it? Here it is.
For the second straight season, Steven Adams had more offensive rebounds (391) than defensive rebounds (369). No other player in the last 20 years has averaged at least 7.5 rebounds per game, with more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds.
I read that stat and I just laughed, it tells you all you need to know. But unfortunately, nowadays people are so obsessed with stats! Particularly young people. I’ll give you a personal example.
I play this online video game where the object is to kill the other team. I know sounds every video game right? With the gun, I use it takes 4 shots to down someone then another 2 shots to finish them off. You want to finish them off otherwise there’s a chance they can get revived and come back to life. So when I see someone down I finish them off, because why risk it right? Wrong!! turns out people get super pissed off if you finish off their kill. Some of them turn on their mics and start cussing at me “calling me a kill stealer.” ….and well a lot of other things I won’t repeat. My response is always “I just want to win, I don’t care you can steal my kills, and I’ll steal yours, we’ll work together to win.”
It’s not always about stats at the end of the game. If you watched the game last night you wouldn’t have thought “oh Westbrook played out of his mind.” No, you wouldn’t get that. You would have thought Damian Lillard played better than him. Because he did!