Thunder-Griz: The Numbers Inside The Matchups

By Randy Renner

We all know things tend to change in the playoffs from what happened during the regular season especially with all the injuries and lineup adjustments both Oklahoma City and Memphis made in this regular season.

The Thunder didn't have their regular starting five on the court in any of the four games they played against Memphis and what has become the Grizzlies starting five was on the floor against OKC in just two of the four games.

However, you can get an idea of how things might unfold in the series by looking at how things went in some key individual matchups.

The new SportVU technology provides a fascinating look.

In the regular season games Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb did the most damage on offense.

Remember all four games were played when Lamb was still in the rotation. He averaged 20 minutes a game, scored 8.5 points a game on 44.8% shooting overall and was 4-for-12 on threes (33.3%).

Durant dominated, averaging 31 points on 51.8% shooting overall. He averaged six rebounds and five assists.

Tayshaun Prince will likely get the first crack at trying to guard KD and he held him under his series average during the regular season. Prince guarded Durant for 30:39 and KD was 19-for-47 (40.0%) against him. That's almost 12 percentage points below his series shooting average. Durant was 4-for-12 on threes.

With Prince guarding him, Durant averaged 1.02 points per shot. During the entire series KD averaged 1.45 points per shot. So Prince's defense definitely slowed him down some.

Russell Westbrook played in two of the four games and averaged 24 points on 58% shooting. He also handed out 7.5 assists per game. But when Westbrook was guarded by Mike Conley he was just 4-for-11 (36%).

Serge Ibaka averaged 15 points on 50.9% shooting and nine rebounds against the Grizzlies but when Serge was being defended by Zach Randolph his shooting percentage jumped to 58 and he scored 30 points on Randolph in the 20 minutes Z-Bo was defending him.

When Serge was on defense and going up against Marc Gasol things went the other way. Gasol averaged 14 points on 53.6% shooting in the three games he played. When he was being defended by Ibaka, Gasol scored 25 points in 23 minutes on 61% shooting.

One of the many reasons the Thunder organization likes Kendrick Perkins so much is his ability to defend both those Memphis bigs. And when you look at the numbers provided by SportVU it's pretty obvious.

When Ibaka defended either Randolph or Gasol he allowed them to shoot 48% and score 37 total points in almost 28 minutes of direct matchups.

Steven Adams allowed them to score 29 points on 42% shooting in 22 minutes.

Perk bothered Gasol and Randolph the most, limiting them to just 18 points on 40% shooting in 20 minutes.

When it came to gathering in offensive rebounds during the regular season series Adams proved to be more effective than anyone from either team. He had 13 offensive rebounds. Randolph had 11.

The best 3-point shooter the Thunder had against the Grizzlies was Derek Fisher. He shot 45.5%, Westbrook was next at 42.9%, then Jackson at 40%. Durant was held to just 30% from deep against the Griz.

As you might expect Mike Miller was the sharpshooter for them hitting 58.3%. Most of his seven makes (four of them) came in one game.

Courtney Lee hit 41.7% and Prince knocked down 40%.

Those are some of the numbers from the regular season. Can't wait to see how those trends continue or change during the playoff series.