Game 3 grades: Thunder's failure to make adjustments results in more of the same

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 2, a furious comeback fell short in OT. In Game 3, the Thunder didn't make any adjustments and it was more of the same.

The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a second consecutive overtime game to the Memphis Grizzlies, losing 98-95 in Game 3 and once again key players struggled. Here is how we grade each.

Joining me to grade Game 3 is Sarah Rogers.

Game 1 Grades

Game 2 Grades

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
49 30 9 3 5 2 5 -1
CHRIS Grade_cminus_medium
Had no idea Durant finished with 30 points, or nine rebounds, or five blocks. The five turnovers seems about right though. It's hard to get mad at KD for having a bad game, especially when, on the surface, a bad game is 30 points and nine boards. But he seemed sloppy, he seemed to force shots, and he's simply not being the playmaker we saw all season. Tony Allen wasn't even all over him this game, he just had a lot of unforced mistakes. Obviously, if he can't clean it up, the Thunder is in deep trouble.
SARAH Grade_cplus_medium
Durant scored 30 points, had nine rebounds, five blocks, three assists and two steals, but when the ball was given to him in the first half, it seemed the basketball gods were upset with him because most of his shots didn’t go in. Durant missed all eight 3-point attempts and was 10 of 27.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
39 30 13 2 0 1 4 -
CHRIS Grade_cplus_medium
I hate the "Westbrook shoots too much" narrative as much as you do, but 13 threes is just too much. His hot stretch in the third, along with that wild 4-point play to tie it, is obviously what makes him so special. The 13 rebounds are outstanding as well, as he alleviates pressure from the bigs dealing with Gasol and Randolph. Also, his defense on Conley during the fourth quarter was next-level. But he needs to find a way to incorporate the other guys more, particularly Serge Ibaka, who has been fantastic with the limited touches he has received.
SARAH Grade_bplus_medium
The man who helped the Thunder last into overtime with one of the most insane three-point shot in NBA playoff history. His 30 points couldn't help the Thunder clinch game 3, though. He was 9 of 26, but grabbed 13 rebounds. OKC was 3-of-12 overall in OT.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
31 7 4 1 0 2 2 +12
CHRIS Grade_bminus_medium
To be honest, I have no idea if Thabo was all that great or not, I just felt bad starting on such a negative note. It says something that the best defense on Conley came from Westbrook in the fourth, not Thabo (the defensive specialist). He hasn't done anything incredibly bad, but he passed up a couple open looks from three. He's never going to light it up, but he needs to at least be an option of offense, which he hasn't been thus far.
SARAH Grade_c_medium
Thabo Sefolosha finished with 7 points and helped key the defensive run in the 4th. Unfortunately he is still failing to provide perimeter offense support, as he missed his only attempt and OKC was 5-28 from the 3-point line.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
39 12 5 0 0 2 2 +7
CHRIS Grade_aminus_medium
You could make the case that Serge has been the most consistent Thunder player this series. One problem: he's hardly getting any touches when it matters. You'd like to see more rebounds, and he isn't swatting away as much as he did in Game 1, but he's a steady hand on offense, particularly in the pick-and-roll/pop. It would serve the Thunder offense well to utilize him more in crunchtime and take some of the pressure away from Russ and KD. Now, whether that falls on the coaches, his teammates, or Ibaka himself, is up for debate, but regardless, he's being underused.
SARAH Grade_c_medium Serge Ibaka had 12 points for the Thunder, well below his season average. He is not getting the shots he needs, which is on the team, but he is also not getting rebounds, which is on him. He was the 5th best rebounder on the team last night.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
34 7 9 1 1 1 2 +9
CHRIS Grade_a_medium

Perkins was excellent on Randolph, particularly in the fourth quarter during that run. He also pitched in when he could on offense, finishing 3-for-3, and not really taking anything away. Obviously, Perk's offensive limits are what have the Thunder relying so heavily on Russ and KD, but as long as he keeps screening and not whiffing on easy opportunities, his defensive dominance makes him a necessary player in the series.
SARAH Grade_b_medium
Kendrick Perkins finished with 7 points and 9 rebounds to go along with solid defense against the Grizzlies front line.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
18 4 1 3 0 0 0 -10
CHRIS Grade_dminus_medium
The second unit has been awful the past two games. Reggie Jackson is the leader of the second unit. And while we can go on and on about who should or shouldn't be a part of the second unit, Jackson has done close to nothing to contribute. He had two decent drives in this one, but that was it. He's not initiating offense and, worse, he's getting torched by Beno Freakin' Udrih by playing awful defense. This dude started against these guys last year and didn't do all that terribly, so your guess is as good as mine for what's gone wrong.
SARAH Grade_d_medium
Where have you gone, Reggie Jackson? 6 points in the last 2 games on 2-13 shooting. Given his counterpart Beno Udrih's success, this is not good enough. Not by a long shot. To contrast, Jackson averaged 13 PPG in the regular season while Udrih averaged 4.7. With Jackson's average dropping to 5 PPG and Udrih's rising to 9.7, that is a net 13 point swing in production between the backup PG's in each game.

Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
16 2 5 2 0 0 0 -10
CHRIS Grade_c_medium
Collison was serviceable against Randolph, but he was brought in to kickstart the offense in a smallball lineup, and he was far less helpful in that regard. Collison used to be as good as any big in playing a two-man game with Durant or Lamb (RIP), and we're just not seeing any of that anymore. He's also physical enough to guard Randolph one-on-one, but his lack of size leaves him at a disadvantage on the glass, which allowed the Grizzlies some extra possessions during a stretch when the Thunder desperately needed stops.
SARAH Grade_d_medium Nick Collison is not getting the offensive opportunities he needs, and he is not providing the bench with any offensive energy. Mr. +/- was a -10!

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
22 0 1 0 0 0 1 -13
CHRIS Grade_f_medium
I almost just left this blank to let that horrendous, disgusting, horrifying statline stand on its own, but I guess I'll add this. Caron Butler was brought in for some spot-up shooting and defensive toughness, neither of which he has come close to contributing in this series. That's all I got because the rest is NSFW.
SARAH Grade_d_medium 0-5 from the floor. 0-3 from 3-point range. 1 rebound in 22 minutes.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
16 3 1 1 0 1 0 -8
CHRIS Grade_cplus_medium
Honestly, this is all the Thunder really needs from Derek Fisher. He should be a 15-20 min. guy that comes in to hit a shot or two and spark the younger guys. He hit that momentum 3-pointer to kickstart the run in the fourth, and didn't really take too many dumb shots outside of that. His defense leaves much to be desired, as Beno Udrih torched him too, but with Jackson playing like butt, it's hard to complain with Fisher's time/contribution.
SARAH Grade_d_medium Derek Fisher seems to have lost the early season magic. Can he get it back in time?

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
CHRIS Grade_a_medium
If Westbrook made his second free throw and cut it to 98-96, there's zero doubt that PJ3 would have tipped in the subsequent miss to tie it and force 2nd OT. WHAT A COACHING MOVE BY SCOTT BROOKS!
SARAH [grade image] Wow, according to the box score, Perry Jones couldn't even manage a club trillion.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
CHRIS Grade_dminus_medium
Hoo boy. Scott Brooks' coaching decisions this series deserve at least 1,000 words on their own, so I'll try to be as brief as I possibly can here. Whatever your displeasure is with the rotation, the fact is it's been in place for the past month, so there's no sense crying "more Lamb!" or "more PJ!" because it's just not in the cards. Is it stupid? Yes. But it's not insurmountable. What's far more concerning is the fact that the Thunder seemingly made zero adjustments from Game 2 to Game 3. No effort to get more transition opportunities, no new ways to free up Durant, no real tweaks to the KD/Russ-heavy offense at all. Also, zero incorporation of any bench guys. On the defensive side, guys are still going over screens while Conley and Udrih walk in for easy jumpers/floaters, despite their lack of outside shooting ability. That's coaching, and to sit at the podium after the game and just say "the guys need to make more shots" and accept zero responsibility for failing to adjust on your end is insulting and sends a terrible message.
SARAH Grade_dminus_medium Scott Brooks didn't coach very well this game, making the necessary changes to guard Allen and when Durant/team kept attempting threes and kept missing, he didn't tell them to stop or tell them to focus on not giving the ball away and scoring easy baskets.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE GRADE FG% 3P% AST REB BL ST TO
(Game Stats)
39.1 17.9 13 48 6 9 16
CHRIS Grade_dplus_medium
The team deserves a ton of credit for that fourth quarter run. Obviously, they won't be THAT effective at all times, but there's no reason they can't at least play at 90 percent of that effort for an entire game. It was much like the first half in Game 1, where the defense was just active and didn't let the Grizzlies get too comfortable in the halfcourt. That led to a more freeflowing offense for the Thunder, with occasional plays like the pass to an open Perkins, that result in natural points. Again, it comes down to more than just making shots, no matter how much Brooks may insist it doesn't. The Thunder has the talent, they just need to play with that desperate mentality from here on out.
SARAH Grade_cplus_medium
Westbrook and Durant both finished with 30 points, Westbrook did send the game into OT and they erased a 17-point deficit, but this team is talented and experienced enough to not have to claw their way back from a 17-point deficit. Overall, the team lacked insight and attempting shots, which you've proven over and over and over again throughout the night showed that your ego was more important than the game itself.

*All player images via US Presswire

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