Weekly grades: Kevin Durant marches on, Reggie Jackson returns, & we have a Jeremy Lamb sighting

This week the Thunder went 2-1 with easy wins over lesser opponents but a tough OT loss to the Mavericks. How did each player perform?

The Thunder went 2-1 this week, with wins over the Nuggets and Kings but dropped a tough OT game to the Mavericks. Here is how each player performed!

Game 1: Thunder dominate Nuggets, 117-96

Game 2: Thunder fall to Mavericks in OT, 128-119

Game 3: Thunder vanquish Kings, 94-81

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 33.0 3.3 6.7 0.7 1.7 4.0 +11.3
JUSTIN Grade_aminus_medium
As the regular season end nears, Kevin Durant is making his final push to win the MVP, and he continued his mesmerizing play this week.  Durant shot 81% against the Kings and scored 43 points against Dallas.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium Durant's 43 points against Dallas were nice, and his mano y mano matchup with Dirk Nowizki was everything we hoped it would be, but when the game went to OT Durant missed his first 3 shots as the game got out of reach. Was he tired? Did he just miss? Maybe he just missed; it happens, but it's always surprising when it does. Also, KD is now 3 games away from tying Michael Jordan's record of 40 straight games of 25+ points. With the next 3 games being vs the Jazz, Spurs, and Rockets, only San Antonio represents a challenge to his achievement.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 20.5 6.0 7.0 0.0 1.5 6.0 -1.0
JUSTIN Grade_bplus_medium
Russell Westbrook missed one game this week.  In the other two, scoring was not an issue, either was assisting, or rebounding.  If it were for those three stats, West would be getting an easy A.  What demoted him to a B+ was his average of 6 turnovers.  You better clean that up before playoff time, West!
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium Westbrook is still the ball of kinetic energy that puts the fear in defenses, but his play often resulted in some over-aggression that hurt his team's play. In particular the turnovers were problematic, but mostly because it derailed an offense that is practically unstoppable when it is not shooting itself in the foot. Also, Westbrook and Brooks need to get on the same page regarding his minutes.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
JUSTIN Grade_c_medium Take your time, Thabo.  The Thunder have been doing just fine without you.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium Did Thabo Sefolosha get to go to Sea World with the rest of the gang? I bet he talked to the Orcas in Swiss.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 11.0 6.7 1.0 2.7 0.3 1.3 +9.7
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
Serge Ibaka went through some offensive inconsistency this week with the dip in scoring.  Defensively, he was his normal, dominant self despite his rebounding issues.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
One of the factors that the Thunder are facing is a drop in rebounding numbers, which in turn is undoubtedly connected to their defensive problems. It has been 5 games since he's gotten into double digits. I'm sure that Ibaka is frustrated with his lack of offensive opportunities right now (only 7-15 in the last 2 games), but he's got to recommit to controlling the glass.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
JUSTIN Grade_c_medium Good news is Perkins aims to return next Friday.  More good news, the interior defense is actually playing pretty decent without Kendrick.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium
Kendrick Perkins is dominating sea lions, and he will soon be dominating the paint once more. Well, he'll be out there anyway. Come on, Yung Hawg.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 13.5 4.0 9.5 0.5 2.0 3.0 +10.0
JUSTIN Grade_a_medium Reggie Jackson has been transformed into one of the best bench point guards in the NBA.  This week, he kept on scoring but also averaged 9.5 assists.  He has become the captain of the bench in times of trouble.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium
I am really enjoying watching Reggie Jackson regain his level of performance as of late. He broke out in the game where Westbrook had to leave early, but since then he's re-established his aggression, but keeping it within the parameters of the offense. He's still scoring the ball, but his assist and rebounding numbers have shot up as well. Everything is more efficient, and if I 
had to guess, I'd say that he's realizing he's stepping up because his young crew of Lamb, Jones, and Roberson need some leadership as they wrestle with the Thunder's rotational issues.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 7.5 4.0 3.5 0.0 1.0 1.0 -4.5
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
While watching the Nuggets game, I thought, 'here we go again, Lamb'.  1 of 8 from the field, 12 percent shooting and not truly thriving anywhere else.  He sat the next game, then returned to the Jeremy Lamb from earlier this season.  He was scoring, he was rebounding, assisting, shooting the long ball, and playing defense.  Despite his horrible outing against Denver, it was a decent week for Jeremy.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Strange week for Jeremy Lamb. He couched two games where he got 20 and 33 minutes around his first DNP of the season against the Mavericks. While he wasn't good in his opportunity against the Nuggets, against the Kings we finally saw the return of his game that makes him so much fun to watch. He finished with 5 assists on the night, going long stretches as the primary set-up man. He then coupled it with smart offensive play on his own behalf. Lamb is so dynamic when he is allowed to be.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 5.7 3.3 1.0 0.0 2.0 1.7 -1.3
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
Despite the fouls, Adams' Denver game was pretty awesome.  He scored 10 points while grabbing 6 rebounds and stealing 6 times.  After that, it was disappointing.  He received minimal minutes and could not get much done in that time.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium
Kind of a nondescript week for Steven Adams, who didn't have as good a week as in the past, and once again got caught up in some foul trouble. I wish he had gotten a bit more of a chance against the Kings, but Sactown proved pretty quickly to be overmatched and turned to a 3-point shootout to try and keep the game interesting. Neither turned out the way each had hoped.
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 6.3 5.3 1.3 0.3 1.0 1.0 +9.0
JUSTIN Grade_aminus_medium
Our beloved veteran is finally back to scoring.  As his mintues increased, his whole game improved.  He rebounded as usual, was always a threat on defense, but this week he was a threat on offense, as well.  Well done, Collison.
SHERMAN Grade_a_medium
Nick Collison is back doing Collison things. Look what happens when his minutes go up to what we've seen over the past few years. I understand the need to watch his minutes, given his age and miles, but it's good to see that his benefits to the game remain. Now let's see him start dropping the jumpers again.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 13.0 3.7 1.3 0.3 0.7 0.3 +6.3
JUSTIN Grade_cplus_medium I've got to give it to him, Butler had an impressive game with the Nuggets.  But he is not worth his minutes.  He is lackluster from behind the arc and struggles to score most of the time.  In his last 10 games, his shooting percentage has been 35 percent and has gone as low as 11 percent. 
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium Caron Butler had a strong game against the Mavericks, perhaps in part because Butler was facing his former team. That aside, Butler is averaging over 30 minutes per game over his past 5, and those are starter minutes that Brooks was not even affording guys like Sefolosha. Illogical doesn't really do it justice, especially since he's still only shooting 35% from 3-point range, with 3-pointers occupying half of Butler's shot attempts. Here is what I'd like to see - Butler and Lamb's minutes switch up. Let Lamb be the man on the 2nd unit that helps create, and let Butler back him up. We got to see a little of this against the Kings, and it looked a whole lot better than the other way around.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 7.7 1.7 1.0 0.0 0.3 0.7 +8.0
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
Derek Fisher has been doing what he was brought on the team to do, shoot threes and bring some seasoned offensive game to the bench.  It is simple, he is doing what he is meant to do.  He is shooting very well and shoots the three ball extremely well.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
I liked what I saw from Derek Fisher this past week. He didn't have any games that I'd consider tide-turning, but he was once again back doing the things that he should be doing, and not much more. By limiting the need for Fisher to have to bail out the offense, but instead setting him up for good, high percentage shots, he is being put in a place to succeed. His 3-point shooting was just under 50% and he's only attempting 6 shots per game while playing around 22 minutes per.

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 2.5 2.5 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 -11.5
JUSTIN Grade_d_medium
It is tough to grade Jones III.  He does not receive many minutes, 8 was the most this week.  And he is not being efficient when he is played.  Sorry for the harsh grade.
SHERMAN Grade_dplus_medium
I hate continuing to grade Perry Jones so low, but it is difficult to go any higher when he's not getting minutes, and when he does, he's not doing the things that make him most useful. When Jones is on the court, he needs to focus on doing 2 things - rebounding and defense, 2 things that he does exceptionally well. The offense will come.

Roberson_medium

ANDRE ROBERSON Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 2.7 2.3 1.0 1.0 0.7 0.3 +1.3
JUSTIN Grade_cplus_medium
Roberson has impressed me this season...I like what I see.  What I see is hustle, the occasional offense, and more.  This week against the Nuggets, he played 18 minutes and recorded 6 personal fouls.  That is actually hard to accomplish.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium Rookie Andre Roberson continues to get starts and playing time as Sefolosha is out. He's still green in a lot of ways, but he's learning to finish well around the rim. His hustle is always welcome, but he has to continue work on communicating his teammates so that he doesn't get caught out of position so often.

Thabeet_medium

HASHEEM THABEET Games Played PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 1 0.0 4.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 +12.0
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
At least he is efficient...
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium Hasheem Thabeet with a +12? Rock on, big man. Next time, try to get the ball in the basket.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUSTIN Grade_cplus_medium
Scott Brooks needs to work out these rotational issues before the season ends and the playoffs come around.  He needs to bench old man Butler more and play youthful Lamb.  Lamb is a young and inexperienced player, but he can be crucial in some games.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
Scott Brooks continues to work his rotational issues while simultaneously playing Durant a whole lot of minutes. I freely admit, and I have before, that I don't understand what he is doing. His benching/unbenching of Westbrook in OT vs the Mavs? I got nothing.  I hope he's playing a long game that is as of yet unseen to human eyes. Here is what I hope - that he was able to observe Lamb's play vs Sacramento and realize that Lamb is a far greater playmaker than Butler, and give Lamb some more leeway to make mistakes in order to keep the 2nd unit flowing better.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE Record OffRtg DefRtg AstRatio REB% TS% PACE +/-
(Advanced Stats) 2-1 106.9 99.7 20.6 45.5% 59.0% 98.99 +8.3
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
Yes, OKC finished the week with a winning record.  We can congratulate them on beating two sub-par teams and losing to a potential first round matchup.  The defensive struggles re-appeared against Dallas.  They MUST clean up their act before the post season where they may end up playing the Suns (uh oh) or the Mavs, or some other offensive team.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
The Thunder finished over .500 this week, but that isn't much to write home about when 2 of the wins were against lottery bound teams and the one loss was against a potential 1st round playoff opponent. There is something to be said for a team taking care of its business against weaker teams, and the Thunder have had few hiccups as of late, but the loss to the Mavericks is troubling because of OKC's lack of any defensive adjustments. Dallas lit them up two weeks ago, and then they did it again this week. The Thunder have to get on the right a better page and solve what Dallas is doing before the playoffs bring more unpleasantness. One last thing to note - rebounding. The Thunder had been the best rebounding team in the league for most of the season, but as of late, their dominance has dropped, and now they stand at 6th. It may not be a huge difference in numbers, but it is the difference between Ibaka grabbing a defensive rebound that ends the Mavs game in regulation, and missing the rebound that leads to the game-tying three from Jose Calderon.

*All player images via US Presswire

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