2013-14 Playoffs: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies game 1 grades

Ronald Martinez

The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies in game 1 of the 2014 playoffs. Which players got the job done?

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs, 100-86. It sure is nice having Russell Westbrook back on the court for these playoffs. Here is how each player performed!

Joining this grade post to help will be Justin Danziger.

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Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
43 33 8 7 0 1 3 +10
JUAN Grade_aplus_medium
This is Kevin Durant's time. He's probably going to be named the MVP of the league in the next couple of weeks and now he's just looking for his championship. KD took over the game early in the fourth quarter and that's what ultimately won the game. The playoffs are all about what your superstar does, and the Thunder are lucky enough to have one of the best players in the world on their team.
JUSTIN Grade_aplus_medium
Kevin Durant helped prove last night, the Thunder are the team to beat. Not even the stellar defense of the Memphis Grizzlies could stop OKC's mega scoring monster. KD recorded a near triple-double and went on a tear early on in the 1st quarter to set the tone for the rest of the game. I am extremely impressed but at the same time, not surprised at all.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
33 23 10 5 0 0 5 +6
JUAN Grade_a_medium
I think the energy that Russell Westbrook provided at the beginning of the game was tremendous and we saw the difference when he was off the court in that brutal third quarter. His quickness might be too much for anyone on the Grizzlies to handle.
JUSTIN Grade_a_medium
Just like Durant, Russell Westbrook went above and beyond his average play. He was explosive, lethal with his off the dribble, mid range, jump shot, and like no other in transition. Westbrook lead the Thunder in rebounds (he tends to do that a lot) and hustled all over the court. Westbrook was everything Mike Conley did not want to face.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
11 0 0 0 0 0 0 -5
JUAN Grade_c_medium
I don't think Thabo Sefolosha played all that bad, but he's simply not really needed in this series, in my opinion. The Grizzlies don't really have a go-to perimeter guy other than Mike Conley, but Westbrook has that assignment. If Thabo isn't making open three's, he simply doesn't need to be on the court, unless any of you are scared of Tony Allen's offensive game.
JUSTIN Grade_c_medium
Playing just 11 minutes in the entire game, Thabo Sefolosha left little to no impact in the victory. Though his defense was not half bad, his offensive contribution was just not there. Hopefully in these upcoming games, Thabo will learn to show more confidence offensively than he did last night.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
34 17 9 1 4 0 1 +9
JUAN Grade_aplus_medium
Serge Ibaka was remarkable. He controlled the paint against two monsters and his energy was unmatched. The block that led to a Durant layup on the other end had me screaming at about 12 AM EST time, it was awesome. The Thunder are going to need this Serge Ibaka throughout the entire playoffs.
JUSTIN Grade_aminus_medium
Serge Ibaka was vicious. Both offensively and defensively, Ibaka was dangerous. He scored with ease and recorded 4 blocked shots. It was another fantastic defensive performance for Serge as he lead the effort in stopping one of the NBA's most dangerous backcourts in Randolph and Gasol.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
16 2 4 0 0 0 3 0
JUAN Grade_c_medium
Kendrick Perkins is just a guy to take up space in the middle for this series. He wasn't very good last night, but he's needed out there to at least get Randolph and Gasol tired throughout the game.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
I am being quite generous with this grade due to the fact that Kendrick Perkins ran faster than 2 miles per hour in the game. Other than that though, he ran the pick and roll well as always, and was tough on D, despite 4 fouls in 16 minutes. Handling Marc Gasol was not an easy task but Perkins handled it well.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
24 9 8 4 1 0 0 +9
JUAN Grade_aminus_medium
I actually think Reggie Jackson played a good game. He was a little indecisive on some plays, but he played a solid all-around game. I think he should get a little bit more minutes this series in a two-guard combination with Russell Westbrook. Maybe we'll get to see that more often as the series goes on.
JUSTIN Grade_bplus_medium
Honestly, I expected Reggie Jackson to hold a bigger role in this game, and it was disappointing to see players like Caron Butler receive longer floor time. But Jackson played solid basketball. He grabbed 8 rebounds in just 24 minutes while scoring 9 points. Hopefully in this series, Jackson will get a larger role than this game.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
12 0 1 0 3 0 0 +2
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium
Welcome to the playoffs, Steven Adams. In his debut, Adams was really good. He helped out with three blocks and he played some nice defense on the Memphis bigs. Adams will get valuable minutes in this series, especially if Kendrick Perkins continues to struggle.
JUSTIN Grade_b_medium
It was Funaki's first playoff experience and Steven Adams was dominant in the paint. He played just 12 minutes but recorded 3 blocks despite the boatload of fould. I never expected Adams to have a larger role than he was given, but when he was in, did what he was put in there to do.
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
19 3 5 3 2 0 0 +9
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium
How can anybody not love the way Nick Collison competes? He's going to be a big piece to the Thunder's success all throughout the playoffs, so it was nice seeing him get off to a good start.
JUSTIN Grade_bplus_medium
Nick Collison was...well...Nick Collison. He played well all around in his limited minutes. He found ways to score, pass, rebound, and block. He was the tough, well-rounded, big man that we all know.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
31 9 5 1 0 1 0 +18
JUAN Grade_b_medium
Aside from getting too many minutes, Caron Butler played really well. He turned back the clock on that dunk and it kind of energized the crowd. But he's still getting too many minutes, in my opinion.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
I may be a bit harsh with this grade but you all know I am not a huge fan of Caron Butler. He played just 2 minutes less than Russell Westbrook. You tell me, does he deserve to play two minutes less than one of OKC's best players and one of the best guards in the NBA? Anyway, Butler was not so atrocious. He played well offensively but portrayed lazy defense at times.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
12 4 1 1 0 1 0 +15
JUAN Grade_b_medium
Derek Fisher had a decent game, and he even drew a foul running a fast break. That was great.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
Fisher did not receive top notch minutes...at all. But he scored 4 points in just 12 minutes, so...he did alright.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -1
JUAN Grade_d_medium
Such a shame for this kid to not be in the rotation.
JUSTIN Grade_d_medium
Yup...

Thabeet_medium

HASHEEM THABEET GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2
JUAN Grade_c_medium
Six good fouls is a real term, and Hasheem Thabeet might be exactly that in this series.
JUSTIN Grade_dplus_medium
3 fouls in 4 minutes...at least he got in...right?

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUAN Grade_aminus_medium
I think Scott Brooks did a nice job getting the team ready to play and you could see that with the fast start. There was some questionable decisions, especially the Caron Butler 31 minutes deal, but another concern of mine was the lack of efficiency coming out of the locker room for the second half. Brooks made some adjustments in the 4th quarter, especially the one that he tells everyone to get out of Kevin Durant's way.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
I am very disappointed, but we got the win. It would have been nice seeing Jeremy Lamb get some time on the court to do his thing. Caron Butler was way over played and I believe Thabo Sefolosha deserved some more time. I would much rather enjoy seeing Lamb or Sefolosha play in front of Caron Butler, but there is a greater chance that Thabeet gets the start than that every happening.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE GRADE FG% 3P% AST REB BL ST TO
(game stats)
44.7% 25.0% 22 51 10 3 12
JUAN Grade_a_medium

The Thunder were a poor third-quarter short of an 'A+' but aside from that poor quarter, they played terrific. They came out with energy and they ended the game with energy. Not to insult Memphis, but against a better team, the Thunder can't afford to have a terrible quarter like that again. Having Kevin Durant take over games in the fourth quarter is always an advantage.

JUSTIN Grade_a_medium
The Thunder were great. They simply worked well as a team. The stars did their thing while the role players filled their assigned roles phenomenally. It's simple. OKC out-played Memphis. Whether it was scoring, rebounding, or playing defense, the Thunder were better. Period. Keep it up...Thunder Up!

*All player images via US Presswire

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