By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies both survived injuries that knocked out key players for big chunks of the season. Their reward is facing each other in the first round.
This is a rematch of last year’s conference semifinals, a series won by the Grizzlies in five games. Oklahoma City will have Russell Westbrook this time, but the Grizzlies aren’t the same team either. They’ve made some upgrades on the wings and still have one of the league’s best defenses.
Here are some statistical nuggets regarding the 2 and 7 seeds in the Western Conference, as well as the four regular-season games they played against each other.
Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23)
Pace: 97.9 (9)
OffRtg: 108.1 (7)
DefRtg: 101.0 (5)
NetRtg: +7.1 (3)
- The only team that has ranked in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency each of the last three seasons.
- Best second quarter team in the league, outscoring opponents by 10.7 points per 100 possessions.
- Won 14 of the 31 games they trailed by 10 or more points. That winning percentage of .452 led the league and was more than twice the league average (.214) for situations when teams trailed by at least 10.
- Kevin Durant grabbed 74.9 percent of his rebounding chances, the highest mark in the league.
Memphis Grizzlies (50-32)
Pace: 92.2 (30)
OffRtg: 103.3 (16)
DefRtg: 102.1 (8)
NetRtg: +1.2 (14)
- Only 17.1 percent of their shots were 3-pointers, the lowest rate in the league.
- Courtney Lee shot 50.7 percent from mid-range, the best mark among players with at least 100 mid-range attempts.
- Marc Gasol led the league with 14.4 elbow touches per game.
- Went 33-13 and ranked second defensively, allowing less than a point per possession, after Gasol returned from injury on Jan. 14.
- 32 of their 50 wins were within five points in the last five minutes. They ranked second in clutch-time DefRtg and first in clutch-time NetRtg.
- No series offers a bigger contrast in pace. The Thunder have averaged 5.7 more possessions per 48 minutes than the Memphis. The next biggest discrepancy in the first round is Chicago-Washington, which offers a discrepancy of only 2.7.
- The Thunder ranked 14th in offensive rebounding percentage overall, but had the second highest offensive rebounding percentage against Memphis, grabbing 30.2 percent of available offensive boards in the four meetings.
- OKC scored 130.4 points per 100 possessions in the 57 minutes that Westbrook played against the Grizzlies. He played in the first and last meetings, shooting 14-for-24 from the field and 17-for-18 from the line.
- Three of Memphis’ five starters – Mike Conley, Tayshaun Prince and Zach Randolph – shot less than 40 percent against the Thunder, though the starting lineup scored an efficient 116.8 points per 100 possessions in 33 minutes together.
- Durant shot 19-for-47 (40 percent) when Tayshaun Prince was guarding him and 25-for-38 (66 percent) on all other shots against the Grizzlies.
- See more exclusive SportVU matchup data here.