2013 NBA Playoffs: Thunder vs Rockets, OKC player grades for game 1

Christian Petersen

The Thunder routed the Rockets in Game 1, 120-91. How did each individual player perform?

The Thunder cruised to a huge Game 1 win against the Houston Rockets in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs. Using aggressive defense that seldom left either the rim exposed or the 3-point line uncontested, the Thunder steadily wore down the Rockets until all that was left was a 30 point deficit and the Thunder bench mob doing clean-up duty.

Here are the Game 1 grades as provided by our writers Ramona and Dara.

***

KEVIN DURANT

24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_bplus_medium

Durant played amazing on both sides of the floor. Scoring 24 points on 11 shots while coming up with some huge plays on defense. He was also tasked with guarding Harden for part of the night and played a big role in getting the Thunder a W. Despite that, he gets a B+ simply because he’s Kevin Durant and capable of so much more.
Ramona's Grade Grade_a_medium
Durant led all scorers tonight in the game, shooting 7-15 from the field for 24 points. Durant was also active on defense, helping to keep James Harden out of the lane. I thought Kevin’s dominant play on both ends of the floor showed his leadership growth. He had a solid game despite an average shooting night.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK

19 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_a_medium

The biggest mismatch last night was Jeremy Lin and Russell Westbrook. To put it nicely, Westbrook just ate him alive. Westbrook was 2 rebounds short of a triple double and only committed 4 turnovers. While holding Lin to 1-7 shooting for only 4 points.
Ramona's Grade Grade_a_medium Not a great shooting night from the field for Russ (7-15 from the floor), but his overall performance in this game (2 rebounds shy of a triple-double) sets him apart from all the other point guards in the league. He kept pressure on the ball and his energy and hustle allowed the Thunder to control the tempo of the game.

SERGE IBAKA

17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 0 turnovers


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_aplus_medium

Ibaka had the exact game the Thunder would hope he'd have. Scoring 17 points on 11 shots, 7 rebounds, and superb defense throughout the night.
Ramona's Grade Grade_aplus_medium 17 points from 7-11 shooting, including a crowd-pleasing 3-pointer. He blocked three shots and is the X-factor in this match-up. Houston has no answer for Serge Ibaka.

THABO SEFOLOSHA

9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_b_medium

Thabo had a great night offensively, 9 points on 3-5 shooting. He was able to shut down Harden throughout the night, except for a brief run in the second quarter. Overall, The Thunder were much more effective when Durant was covering Harden.
Ramona's Grade Grade_aplus_medium There’s no stat that shows how many times Thabo Sefolosha made James Harden rush his shot or crowded him in those sweet spots that he is used to getting to. He defended Harden as well as anyone could and with only 2 personal fouls.

KENDRICK PERKINS

4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_aminus_medium

Despite only playing 19 minutes, Perkins did have a pretty big impact on the game, moreso, he played a level of intensity I haven’t seen since become a Thunder.
Ramona's Grade Grade_a_medium Perk had 3 steals. That says it all. He brought his A game tonight which included hustle and bustle. He kept the ball alive a couple of times and ran the fast break that ended in a Serge Ibaka slam dunk.

KEVIN MARTIN

16 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_c_medium

Not a particularly great game for Martin. While he ended the game with 16 point, 9 of those came in the final quarter when the game was over.
Ramona's Grade Grade_b_medium
Martin had a tough night shooting the ball. He went 5 out of 15 from the field, but still scored 16 points. His energy was there. He ran the floor well and recorded one blocked shot.

NICK COLLISON

8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_a_medium

Like Ibaka, Collison pretty much had the game you'd want him to have as a Thunder fan. Solid defense, 4-4 shooting, and 0 turnovers.
Ramona's Grade Grade_a_medium In only 18 minutes of play, Collison did everything we expect him to do. He scored, he rebounded, and he found his open teammates for open shots, including those backdoor plays which he's becoming so adept. Collison continues to be that steadfast presence in the trenches, taking the charge as we have seen him do many times. His passing was outstanding, and he's doing a great job helping to defend Asik.

REGGIE JACKSON

9 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_bplus_medium

He probably would've been able to have a bigger impact on the game had the score been closer. His performance in the playoffs could be key to the Thunder's chances at a championship.
Ramona's Grade Grade_bplus_medium Reggie continues to impress. He struggled early, a bit overwhelmed by the quickness of Patrick Beverley, but settled down in the second half, playing his game and solid defense. He erased 2 Rockets-points by blocking a shot at the rim.

DEREK FISHER

9 points, 1 assist, 0 turnovers


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_b_medium

He didn't turn the ball over, and didn't get burned defensively, as frustrated as I got with Fisher this year, I can't stop thinking about how he always steps up his performance in the playoffs.
Ramona's Grade Grade_a_medium Fisher shot 3-4 from beyond the arc during a crucial stretch when the Thunder needed more scoring to distance themselves from the Rockets. On the defensive end, he bothered Jeremy Lin just enough to keep him shooting a frustrated 1-7 from the field. Lin finished the game with 4 points.

THUNDER CLEAN-UP CREW

DeAndre Liggins, Perry Jones III, Hasheem Thabeet, Ronnie Brewer


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_aminus_medium

The Crew got the finish up last night’s game, playing a little over half of the fourth quarter. I’m not really putting too much emphasis on how they played, instead just grading then on not allowing the Rockets to come back in the game and forcing Brooks to put Durant and Westbrook back in (something they’ve had to do this year). I’m giving them the minus simply because they went -2 (18 for OKC, 20 for the Rockets) during their time on the floor.
Ramona's Grade Grade_b_medium Collectively, they did a good job keeping the Rocket’s bench at bay. The Thunder did not lose any of their energy with these guys on the floor, as the Thunder still managed to score 31 points in the final quarter, with all of their starts resting during the rout.

SCOTT BROOKS


Grade Comments
Dara's Grade Grade_a_medium

Winning game one by nearly 30 points pretty much guarantees you an A in my book. Brooks had the Thunder implement a defense which slowdown the Rockets’ ball handlers. Brooks started out with Thabo on Harden, and when he was out, Brooks stuck Durant on Harden, but had Ibaka and everyone else not named Perkins switch off the screen to guard the Lin/Harden. The result was Harden shooting 1-9 for 2 point while Thabo was not on the floor, and held the league’s second best offense to 15 points below their average.
Ramona's Grade Grade_a_medium Coach Brooks did a really good job in preparing his team to play. They came out with a game plan and stuck to that game plan. They looked defensively focused, so mission accomplished.
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