Rutgers rallied from a 25-point deficit to beatin Clan- und Funwars 26.08.2019 09:30
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The Oklahoma City Thunders two worst losses this season -- a 26-point loss to the Golden State Warriors in Kevin Durants first game against his former team last month and a 19-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night -- share something in common, and its not just that I happened to attend both of them.Those performances were also Oklahoma Citys two worst games of the season in terms of finishing around the basket. That fact has important implications for how teams defend the Thunder and MVP candidate Russell Westbrk -- who had two of his three worst games of the season by game score at Golden State and Portland -- going forward.Oklahoma City lives in the painted areaIn a league obsessed with the 3-pointer, the Thunder have never been that team, and this season -- without Durant -- they are especially anemic from outside. While Oklahoma City ranks in the middle of the pack in attempting 3s, the teams 32.8 percent accuracy ranks 26th in the league.Instead, the Thunders offense relies on beating a path to the rim. Oklahoma City takes a league-high 38.3 percent of its shots in the restricted area, per NBA.com/Stats.Naturally, Westbrk leads the charge. Only DeMarcus Cousins, at 8.9 per game, has averaged more attempts in the restricted area than Westbrk (8..While Westbrk is something of a volume finisher -- his 57.3 percent shting on those attempts is worse than league average (60.2 percent) -- theyre such gd shots that merely attempting them has been a gd thing for the Thunder, except against the Warriors and Blazers.Packing the paint against Oklahoma CityThe combination of the Thunders non-shting and effectiveness getting to the basket leads to an inevitable conclusion: The best way to stop Oklahoma City is to pack the paint defensively, sagging off shters and creating extra resistance around the rim.Nobody has achieved that better than Portland did Tuesday. After the game, Blazers coach Terry Stotts highlighted his teams presence in the paint -- not just the guy guarding [Westbrk] or the screener, but everybody. I thought that was effective for us.What did that lk like?In the play above, Westbrk has drawn a favorable switch, getting matched up against Portland center Mason Plumlee. But the slower Plumlee has reinforcements. All four other Blazers have at least one ft in the paint, including Allen Crabbe playing far off his assignment (Andre Roberson, a 30.4 percent 3-point shter).With so much help behind him, Plumlee could comfortably play up on Westbrk and force him to sht a contested jumper that the Thunder guard missed.When Westbrk did get into the paint, he found a big man in his path with enough help to recover and defend after a Westbrk pass. In this case, Enes Kanter missed a contested attempt over Meyers Leonard.Despite lacking a strong shot blocker, Portland actually has surrendered the leagues second-lowest shting percentage in the restricted area at 55.8 percent this season. (The Utah Jazz, who host the Thunder tonight, are at 54.9 percent behind the more traditional rim protection of Rudy Gobert.)Against Oklahoma City, the Blazers were able to improve on that strong mark. The Thunder shot 43.2 percent, their season-worst mark, in the restricted area.Portland tk advantage of the absence of Oklahoma City shting guard Victor Oladipo, who leads the team with 51 3-pointers, to pack the paint more than normal. But the Warriors showed earlier this season the ability to generate similar results against a full-strength Thunder roster. Golden State did it by aggressively playing off Roberson and also conceding open 3s to rkie Domantas Sabonis, whos shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc this season but averaged just one make per game.On the above play, for example, Draymond Green sits between Westbrk and the paint, paying little attention to his man (Sabonis) as Durant defends two Oklahoma City players while still getting in position to help.Can the Thunder beat a packed paint?Oklahoma City can mitigate the effect of aggressive paint-packing with gd player movement off the ball, which makes it more difficult for one defender to handle two players.Overall, the Thunder have been reasonably effective offensively with Westbrk on the court, posting a 105.6 offensive rating, which would be gd for 11th in the NBA this season. With Westbrk on the bench their offense collapses, averaging just 93.5 points per 100 possessions.Still, as the season goes on Oklahoma City can expect to see more teams following the lead of the Blazers and Warriors. Expect teams to be particularly aggressive packing the paint come the playoffs, when theyll have more time to game-plan for Oklahoma City. Already, NBA.coms John Schuhmann notes that the Thunder have the worst record of any current Western Conference playoff team against the rest of the conferences top eight, in large part because of their pr offense -- with games against Golden State and Portland factoring heavily into that.If Oklahoma City is to have success in the postseason, the team will have to find out a way to pull opponents away from the basket by making enough 3s to make them think twice about packing the paint. kiestore.com/Dolphins-Larry-Csonka-Jersey/" target="_blank">Larry Csonka Jersey . 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Goalie Roberto Luongo, getting the call in place of Game 1 starter Carey Price, was solid when needed in making 23 saves for the shutout. kiestore.com/Dolphins-Nat-Mre-Jersey/" target="_blank">Nat Mre Womens Jersey . Belfort (24-10) needed just 77 seconds to down Henderson in the headlining bout of Saturdays "UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson" event at Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil. The fight served as a rematch of the pairs 2006 meeting, which Henderson won by decision. kiestore.com/Dolphins-Nat-Mre-Jersey/" target="_blank">Nat Mre Youth Jersey . And when it opened, every player was at his stall. Thats a sure sign that a team is in a slump and is searching for answers. "Its embarrassing to be at home and play the way we did," said defenceman Josh Gorges. COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Five weeks ago, Maryland defeated Michigan State to move within a victory of becoming bowl eligible.The situation remains unchanged.Maryland still needs one win to earn a bowl bid under first-year coach DJ Durkin. Following an ugly four-game losing streak in which they were outscored 191-49, the Terrapins are left with one final opportunity to snag their elusive sixth victory of the season.The only encouraging aspect of this mess for Maryland is that Rutgers is coming to town Saturday.As badly as the Terps (5-6, 2-6 Big Ten) have been playing lately, the Scarlet Knights (2-9, 0- have been even worse.Rutgers is coming off a 39-0 loss to Penn State, which followed a 49-0 defeat at Michigan State. Earlier, there was a 58-0 spanking by Ohio State and a 78-0 embarrassment at home against Michigan State.The Scarlet Knights havent won since beating New Mexico on Sept. 17.There is no bowl bid at stake for Rutgers. The goal is to put a positive finish on a season that went awry before the calendar flipped to October.This game is the last game for this group of individuals to be together, and were going to cherish every day and every moment we get to go out and prepare, first-year coach Chris Ash said.The Terrapins hope to have one game left after this one.One of the great perks of college ftball is you get that opportunity to take your team to a bowl game and treat them right and reward them for all the work they put in, Durkin said. Its always something you have to earn, you have to go do it, and we have to opportunity to do it this weekend.Again.---Some things to know about the Rutgers-Maryland matchup:TO THE HILLS: The status of Maryland quarterback Perry Hills is expected to be a game-time decision. Hills hurt his left shoulder two weeks ago against Ohio State and did not play last Saturday in a 28-7 loss at Nebraska. A fifth-year senior, Hills has started in every one of Marylands wins this seasson.dddddddddddd Playing in his final home game is high atop his wish list. It really does mean a lot to the whole team, especially the seniors, he said. You get another chance to go out there and play with each other. We want to do it for each other.RIVALRY GAME: This marks the third straight year in which Rutgers and Maryland have closed the season. Its never going to be Ohio State-Michigan, but whos to say these East Coast teams cant become Big Ten rivals. It makes sense, Ash said. Theres a lot of rivalry games that the Big Ten has tried to create here in the last week of the season, and this would be a natural one. Wed love to make that happen. Durkin wasnt as enthusiastic. We can stamp anything and say, `Lets make this a rivalry, but its not that until all the fans, the universities, the communities and everyone has a feeling of animosity between the two teams, he said.DONT GET A LEAD: The common thread in the past two meetings between these teams is that no advantage is big enough. Two years ago, Rutgers rallied from a 25-point deficit to beat Maryland 41-38. It was the biggest comeback in schl history. Last season, the Terrapins climbed from a 21-point hole to pull out a 46-41 victory.GROWING PAINS: Rutgers quarterback Giovanni Rescigno has struggled recently, in part because of hamstring and knee injuries. Also a factor: The sophomore didnt get his first college start until four weeks ago. He just hasnt been at full speed, Ash said. Gio is just a work in progress.KID STUFF: Maryland has started seven true freshmen this season, tied for most in the Ftball Bowl Subdivision with South Carolina. The Terps have also had 20 players make their first career start, tied for 11th-most in the FBS.---More AP college ftball at tball.ap.org" target="_blank">www.collegeftball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25. ' ' '