Thunder And Clippers’ Streaks About Offense And Easy Schedules

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers have gone streaking. The only double-digit winning streaks of the 2012-13 season have propelled OKC and the Clips past the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs to the top of the Western Conference standings.

On Wednesday, the Thunder take an 11-game winning streak into Atlanta, while the Clippers put their 10-game winning streak on the line against the last team to beat them, the New Orleans Hornets.

Both streaks are about incredibly efficient offense. The Thunder have scored almost 116 points per 100 possessions over the last 11 games, while the Clippers have scored more than 112 over the last 10. Both are big jumps from the level each team was playing at before their streak started.

Thunder efficiency

Stretch Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
First 13 games 95.5 107.5 100.5 +7.0
Last 11 games 93.5 115.9 100.5 +15.5

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Clippers efficiency

Stretch Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg
First 14 games 94.8 104.5 99.7 +4.8
Last 10 games 93.1 112.2 96.3 +16.0

Interestingly, both teams have been playing at a slower pace during their winning streak. The Thunder have defended at the exact same level as they did through their first 13 games and they currently rank ninth in defensive efficiency. The Clippers have improved defensively and are now the only team in the league to rank in the top five in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

Both teams are great examples of how offense is about more than just shooting. They both rank in the top five in effective field goal percentage for the season, but their in-season improvement has really been about other factors.

The Thunder’s offensive improvement has been about taking care of the ball and crashing the glass. During the streak, they’ve turned the ball over 2.6 fewer times per 100 possessions than they did in their first 13 games. And their offensive rebounding percentage is up from 23 percent to 31 percent. Combine the two and they’re getting about six more shots per 100 possessions.

For the Clippers, it’s all about turnovers. They went from turning the ball over 17.6 times per 100 possessions in their first 14 games to just 12.1 in their last 10. That, plus a small improvement on the offensive glass, has given the Clips about eight more shots at the basket per 100 possessions.

The Clips’ turnover improvement has come from everywhere but Chris Paul (who wasn’t turning the ball over much in the first place), but has really started with Blake Griffin. Griffin had 43 turnovers in the Clips’ first 14 games and has had just six in the last 10.

Both winning streaks come with a caveat, however. Both the Thunder’s 11-game streak and the Clips’ 10-game streak are, in part, a product of the schedule. Over the last few weeks, OKC and L.A. have had two of the easiest schedules in the league.

The Thunder beat the Spurs on Monday, but their 11 wins have come against teams with a (current) cumulative record of 119-154 (.436). Eight of the 11 have come at home and only one has come on the second night of a back-to-back. For the season as a whole, the Thunder have played the easiest schedule in the league.

OKC is about to face an interesting test, though. Less than 24 hours after Wednesday’s game in Atlanta, they play in Minnesota. If they can keep the streak going through those two games, they’ll have deserved four days off before their Christmas visit to Miami.

The Clippers’ schedule was pretty tough for the first month, but has eased up quite a bit since. They won in Chicago last week, one of five wins during their streak that came on the road. But their 10 wins have come against teams with a cumulative record of 103-144 (.417). They’ve had two back-to-backs during the streak, but the Rose-less Bulls were the best team they’ve knocked off.

Things aren’t going to be much harder for the Clips over the next couple of weeks. The best teams they face over their next eight games are the 14-12 Nuggets and 14-12 Jazz. Then they’ll face the 17-8 Warriors twice in the first five days of January.

62 Comments

  1. upnunder says:

    I do not agree that the Clippers have a winning streak because of an easy schedule. They are playing well, including a suffocating defense. They have a great bench that deserves a nickname. I like “Bomb Squad” or “D-Bomb Squad.” the “D” is for defense since the bench’s trademark is their defense. Bomb is appropriate because the bench is the “bomb” they are great! Also, they explode, they increase the lead when they come in and their defense is everywhere “like when a bomb explodes.” They are explosive, esp. Barnes, Crawford, Bledsoe and Odom when they hit some bombs (3′s) that blows open the game for the Clippers!

  2. Lakers-R-Us says:

    @John. Your statement doesn’t make any sense! You may as well go around to every team that’s not playing well and remark that their best player is the problem! So would you say Paul Pierce is the problem in Boston? Or Kevin Love is the problem in Minnesota? That’s a bold statement and you don’t back it up with anything. Take Kobe off that team and see what happens!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Take Kobe off the team and the Lakers actually might win more.

      There was an interesting ESPN stat that basically said: when Kobe scores LESS, the Lakers’ winning percentage INCREASES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Is Kobe the problem? Maybe not THE problem, but definitely PART of the problem. His scoring has become TOXIC to Lakers’ winning endeavors.

      I dare anyone to come up with a chart or graphic that accentuates this whole thing. The higher point-total Kobe scores, the team’s probability of losing INCREASES. It’s like some sort of downward statistical slope, a negative slope!! Kobe is a negative player — a MINUS player.

      • Gian says:

        Yea thats not much to point out when the team is overall on a negative slope. Charts, and stats and graphs can be made to look like anything.. You can make an argument that he’s been the most efficient, with a higher fg percentage this year than the other years he’s won a ring.. And yes.. He’s won a ring playing that way. Not playing any different. Now that they are losing, you’re taking all of that back?? Haha thats funny.

        One criticism i can make about Kobe is.. He’s not doing a good job leading the team. He wants them to play with the same intensity he does.. And right now they arent responding.. Its always easy to blame Kobe. Bu id also blame him for winning his 5 rings.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        BTW, even if the Lakers can get it going a little better, will they make the 2013 playoffs?

        It appears Golden State (despite losing tonight), Minnesota, Denver, and Houston are LOCKS for the bottom 4 seeds in the western conference. We all know who the elite top 4 are in the West — those also appear to be LOCKS when this LONG 82-game season is finally over and the playoffs are all set up.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is it a coincidence that Kevin Martin and Jamal Crawford, the two top Sixth Man of the Year candidates right now, lead the two best benches in the league? The best offenses in the league don’t stop just because the team’s stars leave the court, and that’s the way it should be.

  4. Melomvp says:

    Heat will loose to knicks

  5. John says:

    Kobe Doesnt play defence and is THE problem.

  6. erome says:

    CLIPPERS vs HEAT NBA FINALS

  7. Melomvp says:

    Lal needs towin atleast 45 of the last remaining games for them to play in the playoff

  8. Melomvp says:

    Its gonna be nyk on east and okc or lac on west

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      I like Ray Allen and the Heat a lot.

      HOWEVER, I would love to see a 2013 NBA Finals featuring MVP candidates Durant and Anthony! This could be a great feud of the future, kind of like the Ewing-Olajuwon feud of the 90s.

  9. bball fan says:

    dr.rasheed & purpngold, thank for being sensible lakers fans to post those types of comments

    • purpngold says:

      Im just an honest fan. I love my team, but Im not going to pretend like Im blind either…although there is still a tiny bit of hope deep inside of me that tells me.. as long as we have the Black Mamba, we’re still a dangerous team, and anything can happen..

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        Your logic doesn’t hold water. As long as the Kings have Demarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Isiah Thomas, they’re a dangerous team and anything can happen?????

        The Kings probably won’t make the playoffs, though they have star players. Same thing goes for the Lakers.

  10. DerrickBoom! says:

    the coach of okc and LAC. have same face lol

  11. Paul says:

    Lakers will win the championship, in the D-League, whaaat ? No, but seriously now, leaving that bad joke aside, the lakers don’t have a chance against the thunder and the clippers. Even if Nash comes back from injury, I bet he is gonna get injured again, plus nash (as great as he WAS) will get destroyed by Westbrook and Paul. The Lakers have major problems on the defensive side, and OKC and LAC are the best offensive teams in the west, if not in the league. The Lakers lost the championship when they hired D’Antoni. Phil’s triangle would have done miracles for them.

  12. purpngold says:

    OKC and Clipps are just doing what they are supposed to do. Both of these teams are deep and talented, they should be winning against subpar opponents. I expect both of them to be deep in the battle for the western championship. Lakers have quite a whiles to go. I dont believe DAntoni is the coach to lead the them to a championship run. The Lakers will make the playoffs but that’s about it. The Clips hold the upper hand on the Lakers right now. Big time.

  13. nba says:

    Clippers and OKC had tougher schedules than Lakers, Clippers beat spurs twice at home and on the road, humiliated the heat, took OKC to overtime on the road, and beat Memphis. Lakers had most of their games at home against under .500 teams….

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      I agree. I’m not going to waste time and actually look at every team’s schedule. Who cares? Once this season is over, every team will have played ever other team equal amount of times, usually only playing opposing-conference teams twice a season.

      This John Schuhmann is obviously a Laker fan.

      The Lakers have had the easiest schedule thus far. Schuhmann probably knows that; he’s just in denial because his beloved Lakers probably won’t make the playoffs.

      I know this much. The Lakers have played OKC once, the Clippers once, the Spurs once. Haven’t played Memphis yet, right?

      OKC has played the Clippers once, Memphis once, and the Spurs TWICE.

      The Lakers have had the EASIEST schedule in the entire NBA thus far. I’d like to see Schuhmann try to argue with that statement. The Lakers were apparently lucky they recently defeated the BOBCATS by a mere ONE POINT. ROFLMAO!! Good luck as we get toward the all-star break and the Lakers’ schedule gets MUCH TOUGHER. That’s the “penalty” of being in a “big market.” Usually, Lakers get the toughest opponents in the second-halves of seasons because they used to be contenders that people would want to watch when the playoff race really heats up. Get ready, Laker fans, for a race to the bottom of the Western Conference standings. They’ll probably finish the season as seed # 14. LOL!!!

  14. yeahman says:

    ball is circle mamennnn.. anything can happen..

  15. jayrsabaot says:

    lakers is one of the team in nba have a deep bench, but they cannot get there chemistry they struggling it since andrew bynum traded to phila. dwight is not a dominant low pause player, his a kind of center that played pick and roll. lakers cannot perfect that paly for dwight. they have to work on the sequence to become a dominant team in this season..

    • Badgers says:

      Can’t tell if you’re trolling or just ignorant…Deep bench? It’s widely accepted by fans and journalists that they have the weakest bench in the league

  16. dr.rasheed says:

    I get jealous when others teams do good in comparison to Lakers. West is getting better day by day.
    What can I say: Have to give the credit to Clippers team game. OKC is just too good. Evey game Lakers lose to OKC, it reminds me of last year’s western conference final; bitter memories. More scars.
    Lakers I am thinking they are out of this season for sure. They may start winning games but no championship (matchup issues), that’s for sure with the way how things are going. I agree with some of the comments here.
    Defense is a killer. Take the D out of D’Antoni. If Lakers had some other coach then Mike D’Antoni then I would have considered them in the championship hopes.
    We are spoiled fans for decades and we want more…

  17. TooCold says:

    You guys are such a joke, watch kobe get his 6th ring. Every year omg kobe is a ball hog and just shoots it 50 times a game.. Right now he should be the top for MVP. he has been doing absolutley everything for his team. Watch them all step up their game in the playoffs like they always do. dhoward and nash goin for their 1st ring harder then ever,, and kobe goin for his 6th just like it was his first. GLHF everyone else. You’ll need the luck to hold kobe under 40 every playoff game. kthx

    • Realist says:

      lmao

    • Phil says:

      Let Kobe score 40. He can ball all night but LA will still lose.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      He can’t average 40 a game. Bull spit. If he tries to go that high, he’s liable to injure himself (if he hasn’t already).

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      BTW, to state the obvious — a true MVP can’t be on a struggling sub-.500 team.

      I doubt that has EVER happened before. The MVP has probably always been on AT LEAST a playoff team — if not — a contending team.

      I hate Laker fans — they’re so arrogant and full of themselves.

      Give me your e-mail, so I can laugh in your face when the Lakers finish under .500 once the season is over.

      Nash would have a better chance winning in Phoenix than L.A. Lakers. Nash knows that — that’s why he’s “injured” and taking his time.

      • Gian says:

        This is the dumbest comment. Nash sitting out cause he thinks he can’t win? You just sound like a hater. You should give ut your email for making predictions about whos in and whos out of it in December… Psh… Uneducated… Typical Hater.. Kick’em while theyre down..

  18. CP3INL.A says:

    No chance, Lakers beat none of them, But in playoff LAC or OKC?

  19. jose machado says:

    i have to agree, the schedules are not so good for some teams, but for others, it seems they always play at home.

  20. Cameron says:

    Been an interesting season thus far. Hopefully in the playoffs the Clippers won’t get destroyed again by the SA Spurs like last year.

  21. googergieger says:

    They both have some of the easiest schedules in the league. Seriously who is making these schedules? Denver has the worst schedule in twenty years. Spurs are right there. Meanwhile other teams that are marketed to bejesus and back by the NBA propaganda machine have schedules that are easier than Kim Kardashian.

    • Phil says:

      every team will play a similar schedule to every other team in their conference by the end of the year. OKC hasn’t even played Miami or NY yet, but they will. In the end you play every team at least twice.

      • googergieger says:

        You can’t really compare. One team has the advantage of having twenty or so games to gain confidence and chemistry, while another team hasn’t even had two games in a row at home to relax and gain said chemistry. Much more it is a lot easier to start with a great record than have to come from behind towards the latter part of the season. Over work yourself into the playoffs in order to have a favorable seeding, where as other teams had the luxury of having a beyond easy schedule to build a cushion for themselves. Much more even in Februrary when Denver has a sane schedule(not great, just not insane), there is a part where they play a back to back, rest one night, and then another back to back. It used to be the fans had the officiating to look over, now with the schedules the way they are, hard to think the NBA cares about making it fair. They just like making it as easy as possible for the teams they only ever talk about. Nothing really to point to, to make a counter argument either.

  22. bball fan says:

    1/3 of the way into the season and the Lakers won’t be a .500 team. Looking at the schedule they’ll be slightly above .500 at best by the halfway point of the season. If there’s anyone they’ll destroy it’s themselves.

  23. Doucheku says:

    Knicks Vs. OKC in the Finals. I said it from the first day and I am sticking by it.

    Who will win? Up for grabs.

  24. CP3toStayinLA says:

    I must say both the Clips and OKC are playing great! Being a big supporter of the Clips, if they keep playing focused they can win 20 games during this current win streak. Let’s Go Clips!

  25. rukidnsports says:

    The Spurs on the other hand just finished a run of 8 games in 12 days and were traveling on the 4 other days. 6 of the 8 were on the road and included road back to backs against Utah (8-1 at home) and Portland and at OKC and Denver(7-1 at home) 17 of the Spurs 27 games have been on the road.

  26. Trevor says:

    my lakers would destroy those two lucky scheduled team

    • eddie says:

      the lakers wont be doing any destroying just yet bro, it takes time for them to really gel

      • Macky says:

        lmao. the lakers have played so many home games already. if anything their schedule is easier than LA and OKC. Yet they are still below .500. Your Lakers wont make it out of the first round. Overrated team by an uneducated fan base. Waiting for Nash to come back as if he’ll fix any of their defensive problems. Good luck Steve Nash on guarding some of the best point guards in the NBA. He stands no chance against Westbrook, Paul, Parker and Connley. That’s just the west too LOL.

      • Batto says:

        lakers wont be making it past first round

    • u idiot says:

      OKC and Clippers already beat the Lakers…

    • Alex says:

      Yes, well said Trevor

    • Logic says:

      Haha get to .500 first before talking about the Lakers destroying anyone. They barely beat the Bobcats yesterday by 1 measly point (101-100). And the Bobcats are on a 12 game losing streak.

    • ummmmhm says:

      good luck

    • Doc Stone says:

      Oh Trevor “your Lakers” are no more. The times have changed and you better get with it because you’ll be buried in the past.

    • Carl says:

      I’m a Laker fan, and I’m telling you to stop running your damn mouth.

    • jeamy says:

      Lakers already played Clippers this year buddy. Wanna guess who lossed that game? lol

      • Lakers fan preaching patience says:

        people, its December! We cant write off the Lakers just yet, just as we cant go writing off Miami, or crowning Clips / OKC… You dont win championships in December… Lets see where everyone is at when the dust settles in April… BUT as it stands, the Lakers couldnt survive a playoff series against the T’Wolves if it were played today, let alone OKC, SA, or anyone else!!!

    • KD35 says:

      Yes…Please let them at least get ranked in the top half of the western conference, before talking about destroying teams. Lakers fans should rejoice because of how well the Clippers are doing. After all drawing them in the first round of the playoffs is the only shot at home court advantage you got.

    • DWM says:

      Nash couldn’t even handle Eric Bledsoe…what a joke Nash is.

      • upnunder says:

        yep, CP3 and EB would run rings around Steve Nash. For the Lakers sake, I hope that he will be the savior that Coach D’Antoni is counting on, otherwise Dwight Howard will be leaving them ole guys. they are not old, just well aged.

  27. Chris says:

    I’d say the real tests area about to come but I think the spurs were test enough for OKC and LA.
    The clippers also best Memphis and destroyed Miami. OKC ate LA’s faces, it’s safe to say they’ve already been tested

    • U mad bro? says:

      U mad bro? Do you really think one game against a team proves they’re better than them. If you actually watch the Heat you’ll realize that memphis will stand no chance against them in a 7 game finals if they even make it that far

  28. mike hock says:

    Two of the best of the West. Both should finish in the top four this year. The best part about the Clippers this year is the team play, everyone shares minutes and the ball. It appears that the only statistic any Clipper seems to care about this year is the win column. As for the Thunder they are the western conference champs until the playoffs start. It’s valid that this has been an easier stretch in the schedule for both teams but being the league of the best players in the world, any given night any team can be formidable.