NBA Stats

Apr 18 2014 7:56PM

SportVU Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (7)

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies square off in the No. 2 vs. No. 7 opening round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs. The series tips off with Game 1 on Saturday, Apr. 19 in Oklahoma City (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Both teams picked up wins on the final night of the regular season to secure their respective playoff positions and set up this matchup.

While the Thunder had been comfortably in the playoff picture during the final weeks of the regular season, the Grizzlies essentially had their playoffs begin early as they won their last five games of the season to rise from ninth to seventh in the West. Their reward is a matchup with OKC, which won the season series with Memphis three games to one.

We take a closer look at some of the key matchups in this series with the help of SportVU player tracking technology. The SportVU data allows us to look at specific player vs. player matchup stats in a variety of categories such as drives, rebounds, the amount of time each defender spent guarding a player and much more. How did scoring champ Kevin Durant fare when being defended by Tayshaun Prince? How well did the Thunder bigs defend the talented Memphis frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol? Check out the stats below to find the answers.

And for additional statistical analysis on this first round matchup, be sure to check out John Schuhmann's numbers breakdown on

Top Matchups

T. PrinceK. Durant36:4617-1937%1-333%20-210015
K. DurantT. Prince30:39019-4740%4-1233%46-7130348
M. GasolS. Ibaka23:15011-1861%0-00%53-500025
S. IbakaZ. Randolph20:09415-2658%0-10%00-000030
Z. RandolphK. Perkins18:5636-1540%0-00%66-821118

Kevin Durant vs. Tayshaun Prince

Durant was aggressive in creating shots for himself in the half-court, where Memphis was content to allow Prince to guard him one on one. Despite allowing 48 points, Durant shot just 40% from the field averaging 1.02 points per shot, both well below his season averages.

Durant vs. Prince
Matchup Time30:39
FGM-FGA19-47 (40%)
3FGM-3FGA4-12 (33%)
FTM-FTA6-7 (86%)
PPS: points per shot

Offensive Rebounding

Zach Randolph and Steven Adams grabbed the most offensive rebounds for their teams in the four regular season games between these teams with 11 and 13, respectively. However, while these players were matched up with each other for a cumulative total of over 22 minutes in the half-court, they attacked the glass the most when they were able to exploit a different opposing defender.

Zach Randolph

DefenderPosMatchup TimeOReb
K. PerkinsC18:563
S. IbakaPF4:192
T. SefoloshaSG0:242
S. AdamsC16:281
N. CollisonC7:551
H. ThabeetC1:361
D. FisherPG0:211

Steven Adams

DefenderPosMatchup TimeOReb
M. GasolC8:574
K. KoufosC7:174
Z. RandolphPF5:552
C. LeeSG0:282
M. MillerSF0:141

Memphis Frontcourt: Primary Matchups

The Grizzlies derive a large portion of their offense from the frontcourt tandem of Randolph and Gasol, who were primarily matched up with Ibaka, Adams, and Perkins in the half court. While Ibaka and Adams altered more shots in terms of blocks, Perkins was able to discourage the tandem from attempting shots and also allowed a lower FG% than his two counterparts.

Kendrick PerkinsSerge IbakaSteven Adams
Match Up Time19:3227:3422:26
FGM-FGA6-15 (40%)16-33 (48%)11-26 (42%)
FTM-FTA6-8 (75%)5-7 (71%)7-12 (58%)
Points Allowed183729

Drives Comparison: Conley vs. Jackson

Conley and Jackson led their respective teams in drives this year, and were also the top 2 drivers in the 4 games between these teams this year. Jackson looked for his own shot much more often than Conley did in this season series, which may be due to the fact that Conley was guarded by the Thunder frontcourt on 44% of drives compared to just 21% for Jackson.

PlayerDrivesDrive PtsDrivesDrive PtsDrivesDrive Pts
Mike Conley1141462510
Reggie Jackson5619182424

Thunder 3-Point Attempts

As expected, the Grizzlies did not take many 3-point shots and as a result the Thunder had each of the top five matchups in 3-point attempts taken against the opposing player. What stands out in particular is how much of Oklahoma City's offense came from behind the 3-point line with the exception of Durant, who had the lowest percent of attempts from the field that were from beyond the arc among the five matchups.

OffenseDefenderFGFG%3FG3P%% from 3
K. DurantT. Prince19-4740%4-1233%26%
K. DurantJ. Johnson4-944%1-520%56%
J. LambM. Miller5-956%3-560%56%
R. WestbrookM. Conley4-1136%1-425%36%
J. LambJ. Johnson0-60%0-40%67%
% from 3: percentage of total field goal attempts that come from 3-point range