Advance-Scouting: Thunder at Mavs

Our NBA scout Kyle Leath takes us inside tonight's Thunder-at-Mavs game with an Advance-Scouting look at OKC ... Their offensive sets, their defensive habits and how to beat the Thunder, all from Nuggets scout and long-time Mavs staffer Kyle Leath!

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks, 730 pm


F- Kevin Durant F- Shawn Marion

F- Serge Ibaka F- Dirk Nowitzki

C- Kendrick Perkins C- Brendan Haywood

G- Thabo Sefolosha G- Delonte West

G- Russell Westbrook G- Jason Kidd


• The Thunder transition game is among the best in the league. All players run the floor and attack the basket on the break. Westbrook has the strength, along with speed, putting him at the top of the list of point guards. Durant is great as a trailer to shoot the three. ... and of course is also a great finisher ...

• Scott Brooks used a deep playbook in the half-court. Primarily, look to see a lot of pindown sets, running Durant off a lot of down screens to get open on the wings. They will also run pick/roll action with Westbrook/Durant. Westbrook will take smaller guards and post them up.

• Shot 58.7% versus Dallas last week. Took only 63 shots compared to Dallas' 90.

• When James Harden is on the floor, he will be a focal point, along with Durant, in half-court sets. Harden is 5th among non-starters in scoring at 16.0.

• Their up tempo carries over into their half-court play as they get into their sets quickly. They are very good with ball movement, swinging the ball to the weak side quickly.

• They will turn the ball over as they get going up and down sometimes out of control. Committed 26 turnovers in game last Thursday vs. Mavs.


• The Thunder are a solid team in defensive transition. From time to time they will give up some chances, seeming to lose a bit of focus, but all five players normally get back hard to close off penetration lanes. Their length and athleticism benefits them greatly as well.

• Their half-court scheme is pretty basic and once again their athleticism allows them to play the ball aggressively. The perimeter defenders will chase (go over) screens and have very active hands in the passing lanes.

• OKC have held ALL five opponents under 45% from the field.

• The post players will deny passes inside. Ibaka is a beast at the rim, led the league in blocked shots last year, and Collison and a trimmed down Perkins are very good interior defenders. Post players show hard on pick/roll situations but will mix coverage, especially in a situation where Nowitzki is involved and will pick/pop for the perimeter shot.

• Post also will switch some screens, especially late in shot clock. Ibaka is the best at this. And again, he will challenge shots ...

• They can be penetrated on because they seem to rely too much on their athleticism and lose solid rotations against ball movement. Weak side cutters can hurt them getting to the basket.

Stat Check:

• OKC is 5th in the league in scoring at 102.0/gm. Dallas gives up 102.5 good for 26th.

• OKC is 4th in the league in FG% at .480. Dallas is last in the league at Opp. FG%, .503.

• OKC is 4th in the league in 3pt FG% at .417. Dallas allows its opponents to shoot .419, 29th in the league.

• OKC is 4th in the league in FT% at .814.

How to Beat the Thunder:

• DEFEND!!! Every possession!!

• Defensive transition. Must get back and stop break. Make them play in the half-court

• Stay focussed on defensive end of floor. Mavs have played with more intensity the past couple of games

• Work the offense and make OKC defend GOOD shots, not early, rushed ones.

Kyle Leath, a long-time Mavs staffer, former college head coach and now scout for the Denver Nuggets, provides you with an NBA-style scouting report before Mavs games.

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