Mavs Advance Scout: How To Beat The Thunder

NBA scout Kyle Leath provides you with a pro-style scouting report on tonight's Mavs-at-Thunder game, part of the ramp-up with includes Fish, Emily Jones and Bob Ortegel for the Fox Sports Southwest pregame show at 6:30 before they hand it to Mark Followill and Derek Harper for the play-by-play!

The Starting Lineups:

THUNDER 29-8 MAVS 22-16

F- Kevin Durant F- Shawn Marion

F- Serge Ibaka F- Dirk Nowitzki

C- Kendrick Perkins C- Brendan Haywood

G- Daequan Cook G- Vince Carter

G- Russell Westbrook G- Jason Kidd

Thunder Offense:

• 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.

• Scott Brooks uses 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.

• 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.

Thunder Defense:

• 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.

• 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.

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 3rd in Scoring at 102.1/gm

• OKC is 2nd in FG% at 47.2%

• OKC is 1st in FT% at 79.5%

• OKC is 1st in Blocks at 7.7/gm

How to Beat the Thunder:

• DEFEND!!! Every possession!!

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

• FOCUS!! Stay focussed on defensive end of floor.

• PATIENCE!! 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. Again, catch Fish, Dana Larson and Bob Ortegel for the Fox Sports Southwest pregame show at 6:30 p.m. before they hand it to Mark Followill and Derek Harper for the play-by-play!


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