Thunder guard Chris Paul: 'We've got to figure out that third quarter'
INDIANAPOLIS – If it wasn’t already clear, the Thunder’s 111-85 loss to the Pacers Tuesday solidified it: OKC is one of the worst third-quarter teams in the NBA.
“It looked like it’s been the same story for us, the third quarters,” Thunder point guard Chris Paul said Tuesday night. “… I don’t think it’s schemes or nothing; it’s just us, especially with that starting unit, it starts with me. So, we’ve got to figure out that third quarter. If we do that, I think we’ll see the tide change.”
The Pacers out-scored the Thunder 34-20 in the third quarter, making it Indiana’s highest scoring period Tuesday. OKC trailed by just 10 points coming out of halftime, but by the end of the third, OKC was staring at a 24-point deficit.
That letdown continued a pattern made especially explicit over the previous three games. Remove the third quarter from the Thunder’s 121-112 loss to the Spurs, and the game goes into overtime. Do the same for OKC’s 114-108 victory over Golden State, and the Thunder wins by 23. In a 121-119 loss to the Bucks, OKC outscored Milwaukee in every quarter but the third.
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In terms of net rating, which measures point differential per 100 possessions, the Thunder is a middle-of-the-pack team overall. OKC’s -0.6 net rating ranks it No. 16 through its first 11 games. In just third quarters, however, the Thunder comes in at No. 27 with a net rating of -19.5. The Grizzlies are the worst third quarter team in the league, with a net rating of -26.6.