Thunder vs Spurs 2012 Western Conference Finals: Game 1 Grades

The Thunder dropped Game 1, and it is perhaps small consolation that nobody really played that well, yet they took a lead into the 4th quarter. The Thunder's defense did its job, but the offense came up short. Even a great defense cannot hold down the Spurs forever, so Game 2 is going to turn on getting these letter grades all up a notch. especially on the offensive end.

***

KEVIN DURANT

27 points on 8-19 shooting, 10 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 2 BL 2 TO


Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_c_medium
Kevin Durant did what he absolutely needed to do, so he gets a C. But it was clear he was bothered by Stephen Jackson in the fourth, and he didn't hit a single three. Still, he did limit his turnovers, which is a good thing.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_b_medium
Kevin Durant was solid tonight. Not terrible, but solid. Unfortunately OKC needed him to have an elite player-type game, and he didn't. He was still a little too passive, too perimeter oriented, and allowed smaller defenders to keep him from getting good looks.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK

17 points on 7-21 shooting, 5 REB, 5 AST, 2 BL, 4 TO


Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_dplus_medium
I know Westbrook might have had a good game on the defensive end, but his offensive performance was atrocious. 4 Turnovers? 33% shooting with one trip to the line? That's not very Westbrook-like. His assists and defense save him from too low of a grade.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_bminus_medium
Russell Westbrook was a gamer on defense in Game 1. He did a tremendous job in keeping Tony Parker from getting a clear path to the rim, and I really liked the way Westbrook battled all night on the defensive end. Unfortunately he was a little too amped on the offensive end and had a number of over-aggressive forays into the lane that led to bad shot attempts. After spending five games attacking the Lakers' defense at the rim, Westbrook needs to pull back and look for the free throw jumper again to soften up the Spurs defense.

JAMES HARDEN

19 points on 7-17 shooting, 6 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 4 TO


Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_dminus_medium
The only reason his performance looks decent is three meaningless threes in garbage time. Take that away, and he's 10 points on 4-17 shooting. Harden single handedly drove this offense into the ground, and beyond the first half, couldn't set anybody else up while running the point. I didn't especially care for his defense, either.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_c_medium
We thought that Harden's struggles against LA was an anomaly, but once again Harden played a poor game on a stage where OKC cannot afford to see him struggle. Harden seems to be having trouble finding the seams he wants to attack the rim. Twice he committed costly turnovers during OKC's 4th quarter drought by committing offensive fouls. Harden needs to do better finishing the plays, especially at the rim. The fact that Harden did not attempt a single free throw for the first time all season is a great proxy as for how he just couldn't score the way he needed to.

More grades after the jump.

SERGE IBAKA

5 points on only 1-3 shooting, 7 rebounds, 1 STL, 2 BL, only 22 minutes of play

Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_b_medium
I kinda wanna give Ibaka an incomplete for this one, but I'll throw him a bone and give him a B. He was a huge part of the great interior defense in the first half, and there's absolutely no reason reason he shouldn't have been playing in the fourth quarter.

Sherman's
Grade
Grade_cplus_medium The best way to sum up Serge Ibaka's play is by noticing that he had zero impact in the 4th quarter when the Spurs turned into a layup line, and that was because he wasn't even on the floor. Coach Scott Brooks is going to have to figure out a way to get his All-Defense 1st Teamer on the court when the game matters. Otherwise, the Spurs will continue to attack the rim and get lay-ups while the Thunder settle for long jumpers.

DEREK FISHER

13 points on 6-8 shooting, 2 AST, 1 ST, 1 TO

Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_aplus_medium
Derek Fisher had the best game he'll ever have in the playoffs. He didn't hurt us on D, and his shooting was phenonmenal. But, we were all reminded of how limited Fish really is late in the game when he had to create his own shot. It was a pretty bad clank. He's not going to be able to score on his own, and you can't really set him up to score more than 10 on a good night.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_a_medium

You cannot ask for any more of what Derek Fisher gave the Thunder Sunday night. He hit all the big shots he could in order to help keep the Thunder in the game. He is developing some real chemistry with Collison and Harden and he is going to continue to get good looks at the rim. Sunday night, he knocked down almost all of them.

KENDRICK PERKINS

5 points, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 BL, 1 TO, 5 fouls


Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_cminus_medium
I know that he had foul trouble in the fourth quarter, but I partially fault him for that. And his defense during the fourth was terrible. I would rather have Perk picked up a good hard foul and the Thunder thrown out somebody who could play without acting allergic to the players he was defending. Seriously, he was looking like Chris Wilcox out there.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_cplus_medium
Kendrick Perkins should have had more impact than he did, but he was saddled with foul trouble all night long. He did a good job in bodying up against Tim Duncan, causing Duncan to shoot a poor 6-15 on the night. Unfortunately, staying on the court is part of being an impact player, and Perkins struggled all night by committing unnecessary fouls.

THABO SEFOLOSHA

7 points, 5 REB, 2 AST, 4 ST, 1 BL


Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_aminus_medium
Phenomenal defense, and the best offense we've seen from him during the entire playoff run. 'Nuff said.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_bplus_medium
There were only 2 OKC players with a positive +/- on the night, and Thabo Sefolosha was one of them. Thabo did a good job in defending the perimeter. You can tell he has spent some time studying the Spurs attack, because he managed to swipe 4 steals during the early strong stretch of thunder defense. He did an exceptional job guarding against Manu Ginobili, and Scott Brooks probably should have come back to him sooner when Ginobili started to heat up in the 4th.

NICK COLLISON

5 points, 7 REB (3 offensive), 2 AST, 1 ST, 1 TO


Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_aminus_medium
I agree with J.A. If we can get the high pick and pop going with Nick Collison, it adds another entire dimension to our offense. Props to him for guarding TD and not giving up on a few plays.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_bplus_medium Nick Collison played another strong game, drawing the unenviable task of trying to stop Tim Duncan after Perkins got into foul trouble. Collison held his own and even got into the offensive flow a bit. I would really like to see Nick more involved, especially in the high pick and pop game. He showed off his shooting range and the Thunder would really benefit to look his way more than only one time per outing.

DAEQUAN COOK

0 points in only 8 minutes of play


Grade Comments

Zorgon's Grade
Grade_c_medium
And Daequan Cook goes for the high bank shot....too bad he never got a real opportunity to score.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_d_medium

He badly missed the only shot he took on the evening. Even so, I think Daequan Cook's game is going to matter at some point, as OKC searches for shooters to help alleviate the defensive pressure on Durant.


SCOTT BROOKS

Grade Comments
Zorgon's Grade Grade_cminus_medium
I still can't get over how utterly terrible the Thunder were on offense in the second half. No flow whatsoever. Just our three stars mindlessly going at it. I don't know, maybe watching the Spurs makes me a bit disappointed at how simple the Thunder's plays are. Still, his first half strategy for speeding up the game was good, so I'll give him credit there.

Sherman's Grade
Grade_cplus_medium
Brooks gets credit for clearly having a defensive game plan in place designed to slow down the Spurs offense. Through 3 quarters, OKC had held the Spurs to only 68 points. However, when the Spurs offense started rolling, Brooks did not respond quickly enough. He had to realize that his defense wasn't going to stop the smoking Spurs attack in the 4th, and should have developed a better 4th quarter offensive plan surrounding Durant. Neither Westbrook nor Harden were effective on the night, and Brooks failed to get the ball in Durant's hands in places on the court where he could get open looks.
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