SportVU Series Preview: Spurs vs. Thunder
The last two teams to represent the West in the NBA Finals -- the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 and the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 -- square off in the Western Conference Finals with a return trip to the Finals on the line. Game 1 of the series tips off Monday at 9:00 PM ET on TNT.
The Thunder swept the season series and have won 10 of the last 12 meetings overall between the two teams. But the top-seeded Spurs have home-court advantage on their side and appear to be the healthier team heading into the series. Both teams had a starter leave the series-clinching game of the Conference Semifinals, with Tony Parker suffering a hamstring injury and Serge Ibaka with a calf injury. The Spurs got good news on Parker as he has a Grade 1 strain and says he'll be ready for the series opener on Monday. The Thunder, on the other hand, have lost Ibaka for the remainder of the season after his MRI on Friday.
The playoffs are all about matchups and thanks to SportVU, we have player vs. player matchup data that we can analyze as we get ready for this series to begin. Who got the better of the point guard matchup between Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker? How well did Kendrick Perkins do when guarding Tim Duncan? How well did the Thunder shoot the three against the Spurs defense? Check out the stats below to find the answers to those questions and more.
Top Matchups | Thunder 3-Point Attempts | Tim Duncan: Primary Matchups | Kevin Durant: Defense | Drive Defense
|T. Parker||R. Westbrook||24:08||0||8-18||44%||0-1||0%||2||2-2||15||0||1||18|
|K. Leonard||K. Durant||22:21||1||3-9||33%||1-5||20%||1||0-0||3||0||0||7|
|K. Durant||K. Leonard||20:22||0||12-28||43%||1-4||25%||6||6-6||9||0||3||31|
|R. Westbrook||T. Parker||19:03||0||8-25||32%||1-6||17%||4||2-2||14||0||0||19|
|T. Duncan||K. Perkins||18:52||2||5-18||28%||0-0||0%||7||4-4||2||2||0||14|
Tim Duncan spent most of his time in the offensive zone guarded by either Perkins or Ibaka in the regular season, where Perkins experienced much more success in limiting Duncan's productivity. In nearly double the amount of time spent guarding Duncan he allowed the same number of field goal attempts at a lower rate and also gave up fewer points.
The Spurs did a great job of limiting the Thunder's effectiveness from beyond the 3 point line from their primary options. Westbrook and Durant shot just 29% while the rest of the team was at 57%, and the numbers were exacerbated to 21% and 74% respectively when looking only at the primary Spurs defenders that guarded Westbrook and Durant.
|Primary Defenders||Rest of Team|
|Rest of Team||14-19||74%||25-44||57%|
Kevin Durant shut down the San Antonio wings on the defensive end, where his primary matchup Kawhi Leonard scored just seven points in over 22 minutes. However, the other Spurs wings that Durant guarded did not fare much better, with the combination scoring just 14 points on 22 attempts in over 40 minutes of matchup time.
|Leonard||Other Primary Matchups||Combined|
Over the course of the regular season only Parker and Westbrook drive on a single player more than 10 times. Parker was particularly effective, registering 13 drives in the short amount of time that Ibaka had to guard him in the half court.
|Offense||Defense||Matchup Time||Drives||Drives/Min||Drive Pts||Drive Pts/Min|