Why the Thunder's turnovers against Chicago were more costly in the first half than in the second
The Thunder was prepared for the Bulls to try to force turnovers Monday. Chicago leads the NBA in forced turnovers (18.7 per game).
“We’re watching on film all this aggressive pick-and-roll coverage,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan reflected Tuesday after practice, “and we still turned the ball over 14 times.”
That’s 14 times in the first half alone. The Bulls scored 26 points off those 14 turnovers before halftime. So, during the intermission, OKC turned to film again. This time, Donovan said, he and his coaching staff showed the team a few examples of the Thunder successfully attacking Chicago’s defense.
“I thought there were passes we were trying to make that just were not there, and balls were getting deflected,” Donovan said after the Thunder’s 109-106 comeback victory against the Bulls. “We were throwing the ball directly to them, and there were other things that were open.”
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That condensed film session didn’t immediately lead to the Thunder taking care of the ball. OKC still committed 12 turnovers in the second half. But the Bulls did adjust their defensive scheme and only scored 13 points off turnovers.
Donovan attributed the drop in points off turnovers to the location of the Thunder’s mistakes.
“A lot of turnovers in the second half were in the lane and around the basket,” he said, “where you have a better chance of getting back in transition. I thought in the first half a lot of those passes were errant passes to wings, and those areas are really open floor where guys can get up the sidelines, and it’s hard to get the floor balanced.”