Pacers Can Expect More Jumpers From Russell Westbrook, Which Is Fine With Kevin Durant

Mar. 27, 2012; Portland, OR, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots the ball over Portland Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith (4) during the fourth quarter of the game at the Rose Garden. Westbrook scored 32 points as the Thunder won the game 109-95. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant recently made a comment that his team is better when high-scoring guard Russell Westbrook takes more shots than Durant. Seems like an odd statement considering Durant is currently second in the league in scoring, but he does share the load with Westbrook and in fact, heading into tonight's game, both players average 19.5 field goal attempts per game.

With perfect timing for Pacers fans, Mike Prada at SB Nation took Durant's comment and dove into MySyngerySports.com to see if the numbers agreed with Durant.

As it turns out, Durant has lots of evidence in his favor. For example:

  • The Thunder do compile a better overall record when Westbrook attempts more off-the-dribble jumpers than his season average. Westbrook has attempted at least 11 off-the-dribble jumpers 27 times this year. The Thunder are 21-6 in those games, good for a 78-percent winning percentage. They're 19-8 in games where Westbrook attempts 10 or fewer off-the-dribble jumpers, good for a 70-percent winning percentage.
  • While Westbrook shoots roughly the same average number of off-the-dribble jumpers in wins and losses, he shoots a slightly higher percentage in wins (40.2 percent to 38.9 percent).

Check out the whole piece to learn more about Westbrook's tendencies and what the Pacers will have to deal with at the Fieldhouse on Friday night. Last year at the Fieldhouse, Westbrook put up 43 on the Pacers in an overtime win by the Thunder. He didn't do the bulk of his damage against the Pacers with the jumper last year, instead attacking the paint and getting to the line to make 17 of 18 free throws. He was also 8 for 12 shooting around the rim while making 5 of 11 jumpers outside the lane. I think I'd prefer to take my chances with more jumpers from Westbrook even though that approach has been working for the Thunder.

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