Weekly grades: Westbrook, Ibaka, and Jackson lead the way as Durant keeps on doing his thing

The Thunder went 3-1 this past week with a big win over the Clippers. Who stepped up?

The Thunder went 3-1 this past week. After losing a discouraging game to the Suns, they reeled off 3 wins in a row over the Kings, Clippers, and Pelicans. Here is how each player performed!

Game 1: Thunder fall to speedy Suns again, 122-115

Game 2: Thunder rout Kings, Durant's streak ends, 107-92

Game 3: Thunder pass the test, defeat Clippers on the road, 107-101

Game 4: Thunder dominate shorthanded Pelicans, 116-94

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 36.5 28.8 6.0 4.0 0.5 1.3 2.3 +7.3
JUSTIN Grade_aminus_medium
The streak is over, but KD's reign is not.  Durant is making his final push for MVP and if he is not the one picked, there will be riots.  Even Lebron admits that Durant deserves the trophy.  We saw the Kevin Durant that we see all the time, except for a poor shooting percentage against the Clippers.  Durant is reaching new heights with his improved game this season.  I cannot wait to see how he changes next year.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Kevin Durant gets docked a few points for his ghastly showing against the Suns (4-15 from 3-point range) but for the most part it was a ho-hum week for the Reaper. He did the things that he always does, which seems pretty ordinary when we have come to expect the extraordinary. One thing that we can point to that underscores Durant's consistency is that his assists remain up while his turnovers remain down. That means he's still creating lots of shots and not wasting possessions.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 31.7 29.0 6.7 7.0 1.0 0.7 2.3 +6.7
JUSTIN Grade_aplus_medium
Russell Westbrook had a phenomenal outing against the Clippers, and the Suns.  His offense was nothing short than a masterpiece and his defense was not too far behind.
SHERMAN Grade_a_medium
Russell Westbrook's game against the Clippers by itself is sufficient to warrant this grade, as Westbrook nearly single-handedly closed out the Clips on their home court with 5 monster rebounds in the final 3 minutes, 2 of which were critical offensive boards. His scoring still comes in bursts (as does his misses) but as we saw against the Clippers, he puts such pressure on defenses that in the end it doesn't really matter.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 20.0 2.3 2.7 1.7 0.0 0.7 1.0 +9.0
JUSTIN Grade_bplus_medium
It is great to have Thabo Sefolosha back.  With the recent perimeter defensive struggles, having one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league is all good news.  If the Thunder end up facing the Phoenix Suns or the Dallas Mavericks in the post-season, Sefolosha will be a key asset in guarding three point specialists like Gerald Green of the Suns.
SHERMAN
Grade_bplus_medium Did we ever think how great it would be to have Thabo Sefolosha back on the court? Even though he still has his limitations and his shot is sporadic, he makes the starting 5 look so much better simply by virtue of the fact that he has played with them for so long. He knows where KD wants the ball, he knows how to fill the lanes on fast breaks, and his defensive reach is still impressive. On top of that, his presence on the court limits the minutes of some other guys, which is always a positive.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 30.5 15.3 6.8 1.0 3.0 0.3 1.0 +8.5
JUSTIN Grade_aplus_medium
Serge Ibaka is my favorite Thunder going into the playoffs.  The dude is playing his best ball.  It was clear, when he contained the notorious Blake Griffin, that Serge is ready to go for the playoffs.  It seems as though the offense is terrified to take it to the rim.  BUT, he got dunked on...a lot.  Also, Ibaka announced that he will be donating 500 dollars to UNICEF for every block he makes in the playoffs...pretty cool!
SHERMAN Grade_aplus_medium
I'd argue that Serge Ibaka has been the most consistent player on the court this past week, and it all begins with his defense. He is controlling the paint like never before, completely changing the opponents' ability to attack the rim almost by himself. He played his nemesis Blake Griffin strong and one thing I really liked in the Pelicans game was his desire to dunk on people. We need to see more of that.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 16.8 3.8 3.8 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.0 +3.0
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
It is not that Kendrick Perkins is such a huge contribution offensively, he is slow with his moves and lazy with rebounds. Nor defense, he runs the pick and roll horrifically.  What makes him so valuable is how he made the Thunder rotation normal again.  Nick Collison, nor Steven Adams, need to explore outside his role of providing quick and dominant defense.  If Perkins had still been out, I am not sure if a victory over the Clippers would have been possible.
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Kendrick Perkins is back, which means that we can now get back to complaining about him, right? I jest. He, like Thabo, helps the Thunder rotation solidify itself not just by his contributions but by how it relegates other players like Collison and Adams to roles that they are more suited to handle. It also seems that Brooks has seen the light and won't be giving Perk too many more 30+ minute games, so he is being effective in the time he is given.  

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 26.5 11.0 4.5 4.3 0.5 0.8 0.8 +3.3
JUSTIN Grade_aminus_medium
Reggie Jackson has been electric.  He puts his teammates in positions to succeed and he can do it all.
SHERMAN Grade_a_medium I really loved watching Reggie Jackson play this past week, and it is clear that he has moved past whatever struggles with uncertainty had been hindering him. When he's on the court, regardless of whether it's with the starting unit or the backups, he runs the show. He knows what he can do, he knows how to do it, and most importantly, knows what his teammates can do, too and is setting them up beautifully.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 11.3 7.0 0.0 0.7 0.3 0.7 0.3 -2.7
JUSTIN Grade_cminus_medium
I find it disappointing that Jeremy Lamb has been given up on.  When he does play, he needs to focus more on what he thrives on, isolation.  OKC does not need a player throwing up rushed shots.  Though, I only feel he is put in a position to fail.  Brooks needs to give him some time to get in a groove and then the sky is the limit.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium
Jeremy Lamb takes what he is given, and these days that's usually mop up duty. One of the things that makes me sad about it (there are many, but this is just one) is how, when he knows he's only going to get a few minutes in the game, immediately switches over to 'shot chucking' mode. He's so much better than that, but when the margins are small, I suppose he feels like his best way to get noticed is to drop some shots quickly.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 3 19.0 5.3 4.3 0.0 1.3 0.7 0.0 +4.0
JUSTIN Grade_aplus_medium
Wooo!  Kiwi Strong came through.  I am so excited to see what Steven Adams has to offer for the Thunder in the years to come.  I loved what I saw against Blake Griffin.  In a game where he could have easily fouled out, Adams played lock down defense.  I have also noticed improvement in his offense (his confidence in his shots) and his rebounding as well (a lot of aggressiveness).  Keep it up Funaki.
SHERMAN Grade_a_medium
Steven Adams had a very good week, and I'm giving him a good grade almost exclusively based on Kiwi Strong's performance against the Clippers. It's not that he was bad in his other attempts (even though he got his first ever DNP), but it was that he did so well against All-Star Blake Griffin. Most importantly, Adams looks like a different player against the Clips' front line; in the early part of the season he looked lost; now he looks like he's ready to fight.
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 15.3 5.3 4.0 1.0 0.3 0.5 1.5 +8.0
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
Nick Collison's jump shot is looking a lot like his Kansas days.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
All hail the return of Nick Collison's jump shot! It's good to have you back. Offensively minded Nick is really a great thing to watch.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 23.3 9.3 3.3 0.0 0.5 0.8 0.3 +6.3
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
His minutes are down, thank god, but his minutes are consistent.  He can score 23 points with 6/6 from behind the arc and play 26 minutes, then play the same amount of minutes and score 5 points.  This does not make sense to me.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
It's good to see Caron Butler's minutes creeping back downward now that Sefolosha is back, but unfortunately his production is still uneven. He goes 6-6 from deep against the Kings, but then scores 5-4-5 vs the Suns, Clips, and Pelicans. Manage his minutes based on his production, please.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 4 20.8 4.0 2.3 2.8 0.0 1.0 0.5 +3.8
JUSTIN Grade_c_medium
20 minutes, 4 points, not taking the shots he is supposed to be set up for.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium
Derek Fisher's production has fallen drastically over the past few weeks, or perhaps regressed to the mean. That's not a terrible thing, as long as the Thunder purposes for him to just play this kind of basketball. To his credit, he rarely makes mistakes and is dependable. Give him open shots and enjoy the show.

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 10.5 2.5 1.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 -6.5
JUSTIN Grade_cplus_medium
He was decent against the Pelicans.  That is all I have to say.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium He got some minutes and caught an alley-oop from KD vs the Pelicans. That's something, right?

Roberson_medium

ANDRE ROBERSON Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 5.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 -1.0
JUSTIN Grade_d_medium
Nothing really to say about Andre Roberson.  He barely gets any minutes and he does not contribute to the offense at all.
SHERMAN Grade_d_medium
And we finally get to this week's puzzlement. Andre Roberson started a number of games in place of Sefolosha. That's fine. But it's apparent now that he's not going to be part of the playoff rotation. Why give him all those minutes if you don't plan on using him come playoff time? Why not give those minutes instead to PJIII or Lamb?

Thabeet_medium

HASHEEM THABEET Games Played MIN PPG REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Average Stats) 2 3.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 -8.0
JUSTIN Grade_d_medium
Hasheem Thabeet is a mess.
SHERMAN Grade_d_medium Hasheem Thabeet did make an appearance this week, and I'm reminded again at how difficult it must be to run when you're that tall.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
I have been disliking Scott Brooks more and more.  He does not rotate the bench well.  I feel like giving Lamb more minutes while reducing Butler's minutes is crucial for the playoffs.  I say this every week and I will continue to say it until it happens.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
Points get deducted for that Suns mess, but the win over the Clips was a big one. There are only a few games in the regular season that can be classified as 'pressure-filled,' but that one had some things riding on it, and OKC took the fight straight at the high scoring Clippers. It also enforced the idea that come playoff time, it's the Clippers that will be chasing the Thunder and not the other way around.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE Record OffRtg DefRtg AstRatio REB% TS% PACE +/-
(Advanced Stats) 3-1 114.4 104.0 16.8 50.1% 57.4% 97.8 +9.0
JUSTIN Grade_a_medium
Big big big win against the Clippers.  The team played great altogether against LA.  The stars shined and the role players stepped up.  If OKC keeps this up, they have nothing to worry about in the playoffs.
SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium
Woe is me if the Thunder see the Suns in the first round, but other than that loss it's hard to find fault with their efforts this week. Durant has returned from the mountaintop to be merely a demigod, but his good is more than good enough. Westbrook is imposing his will on defenses again, which makes things easier for everybody else too. Keep this thing together and keep it healthy.

*All player images via US Presswire

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