“NBA play-offs” Thunder’s amazing journey has finally come to an end

Thunder’s amazing journey came to an end today. The average age of the team is 22.8 years old, not only the youngest team in the league this season, but also the second youngest team in NBA history. It defeated the Pelicans in the away game the day before yesterday and became the second team in history to win the tenth place in the division Afterwards, today they faced the Gray Wolves in the play-offs, and finally lost, and failed to continue to write surprises. Although the Thunder were behind by 10 points after the first half, many people still expect the Thunder to have a chance to comeback. According to ESPN Stats Info data, the Thunder has 17 games behind double-digits this season and finally completed a reversal, ranking second in the league; the Timberwolves lead 19 times in double-digits, but screwed up the win The dilemma, tied for the most in the league. However, the Timberwolves, with slightly better experience and stature, stabilized their position in the second half and won by 25 points at the end, winning the last playoff ticket in the Western Conference. Image source The Gray Wolves twin towers teamed up to beat the Thunder’s weak restricted area. There is no doubt that the main reason for the gray wolf’s victory lies in the obvious advantage of the restricted area. Rudy Gobert, who was suspended in the last game, returned to the team and joined forces with Karl-Anthony Towns (hereinafter referred to as KAT) twin towers. In contrast, the Thunder adopted a starting lineup of four small and one big. The tallest Jaylin Williams was only 206 cm. The Timberwolves made up their minds to attack the penalty zone from the start of the game, constantly feeding the ball to KAT’s low singles, or Mike Conley initiated a pick-and-roll match with Gobert. Facing the Thunder’s four small and one big, it is easy to form a misplaced RBI opportunity . KAT’s all-round attack skills are one of the reasons why gray wolves are difficult to stop. Even though the Thunder retracted in the defensive circle and denied in front, trying to prevent the Timberwolves from receiving the ball, KAT could still go to the top of the arc or hold the ball in a high position, launch an attack face-to-face, or cooperate with Gobert in high and low positions, making the Thunder hard to defend against . From the data point of view, although there is not much difference in the number of rebounds between the two sides, and even the Thunder’s offensive rebounds are better than their opponents, but all other data related to offense in the penalty area, most of them are dominated by the Gray Wolves, including scoring in the penalty area (58 vs. 30). , Paint area hit rate (60.4% vs. 38.5%). The Thunder’s defense line in the restricted area can almost be described as a bankrupt. The shortage of inside manpower and bottlenecks in the fast break made it difficult to check and balance the twin towers. In fact, the Thunder’s defense in the penalty area has not been particularly prominent. The previous play-off game against the Pelicans also failed to effectively limit Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valančiūnas from scoring points in the penalty area. The Pelicans team shot more than 77% at the basket. However, Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (hereinafter referred to as SGA), the two major ball-handling points of the Thunder in this campaign, both had a way to break through to the basket. The combined shooting rate of the two was 57.7% (15 of 26 shots). Opponents compete. In contrast, this battle was only 22.7% (5 of 22 shots). Especially in this campaign, the SGA hit rate in the restricted area was 21%, which was his worst performance in more than a year. And when SGA and Giddey did not perform as expected, it highlighted that the Thunder lacked other effective means of scoring points in the restricted area. Against the Gray Wolf Twin Towers, the main rotation elders Jaylin Williams and Dario Saric can’t get a bargain. In the second half, the Thunder used a dead horse as a living horse doctor. At one point, the swingman Luguentz Dort was used as the fourth position, and he was used as the Rollman for PR. Facing such a predicament, the Thunder certainly did not sit still. According to statistics on the official website, the Gray Wolves, who mainly play the Twin Towers, are slow to return to defense. They averaged 22.6 points per game in the regular game by opponents through offensive and defensive transitions, ranking eighth from the bottom in the league. Earlier in the game, the Thunder tried to speed up the offensive tempo and launch more offensive and defensive conversions or early offenses, and they also received good results at the beginning. However, after being raised by the coaching staff, the Timberwolves returned to defense more aggressively from the second quarter. In the end, they still scored on the fast break, beating the Thunder 9-8. In addition, the Thunder made 32.5% of their three-pointers in this game, which was also lower than the season average (35.6%). It is really difficult to fight against the Gray Wolves with twin towers when they can’t get into the inside, the outside shooting is stuck in a bottleneck, and the fast break is also blocked. The star credits required by SGA behind the glorious achievements of the regular season SGA played a breakthrough performance this season, averaging 31.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The average points and steals are both fourth in the league. The number of games with 30+ points ranks first in the league, and he was also selected for the first All-Star Game in his career, and he is also a popular candidate for the Best Improvement Award of the Year. What’s even more frightening is that he averaged less than one three-pointer per game, and his average score broke through the 30 mark. The last guard to achieve this achievement was named Michael Jordan. As the core of the Thunder’s offense, it is of course the opponent’s defensive focus. In the previous play-off game, SGA was strictly guarded by Herbert Jones and Josh Richardson of the Pelicans in the first half, and only made 3 of 10 shots. However, he revived in time in the second half, scored 25 points alone, and led the team to victory. It’s a pity that in today’s key battle, he failed to stage a resurrection again. Under the watchful eye of cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SGA hit less than 30% in this battle, although it still scored 22 points with 12 free throws. SGA’s abnormality may be somewhat related to facial injuries, but he still needs to show stronger dominance and stability before he steps into the forest of superstars. Especially in the decisive quarter, when the Gray Wolves resorted to a 2-3 zone defense, the Thunder team’s offense fell into a quagmire. As the commander of the field, SGA not only failed to make good use of the organization to guide the team out of trouble, but also made too careless pass errors . SGA, who has played in the NBA for five seasons, all performed abnormally under the pressure of the sudden death game, not to mention the second-year student Giddey. Failing to continue the performance of the quasi-big three-pointer with 31 points in the previous game, Giddey only made 2 of 13 shots and only scored 6 points in this game. If the Thunder win this game, the Thunder will become the youngest team in NBA history to advance to the playoffs, breaking the record set by both the Thunder and Durant-Westbrook-Harden. Although not perfect, this season’s Thunder has written a very successful season. 14 members of the team were under 25 years old, but they were able to win 40 wins. It is also ranked first in the league in the rankings of offensive fouls, showing the maturity of over-age defense. SGA, Giddey, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams also all contributed more than expected. Don’t forget that big rookie Chet Holmgren will return from injury next season, and the Thunder will hold 15 first-round picks in the next five years, so the outlook is bullish. However, the Thunder still have a lot of room for improvement. The play-offs highlighted the disadvantages of the team’s thin lineup in the penalty area and insufficient functionality. Furthermore, the home and away performances of the Thunder in the regular season are significantly different. The home win rate is nearly 60%, and the away game is less than 40%. It seems that more veterans need to bring experience to improve the stability of the team. These links may be the directions that the uniform team can start to strengthen during the off-season. ※Why is the jersey worn by Stephen Curry different from that of his teammates? Please see my IG fan special @etbasketball, and immediately follow up to view more basketball-related articles Recommended reading: “Lin Miao Shot” Off the ball offense increased, role positioning changed Jeremy Lin’s qualitative change for Iron Man 2023 NBA All-Star Week Review: Innovation The format, the glory of Utah, the revival of the slam dunk contest and the worst game in history? 2023 NBA Mid-Season Trade Limit Review: Chamberlain’s single-game percentage record is no longer out of reach for those inconspicuous small transactions other than Irving, KD and Westbrook! 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