2014 NBA Playoffs Game 5 Grades: not good enough

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder failed in a huge chance to take control of this series by getting blown out on the road. Again. Here is how each player performed.

This playoff series continued it's strange trend of featuring only blowouts, and this time it was the Spurs' turn. Here is how each player performed.

Helping me out with these grades is J.A. Sherman.

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
37 25 5 2 1 1 1 -22
SHERMAN Grade_cminus_medium
I have to put the pain on Durant, because he simply did not get it done in this game, especially in the 2nd half. This is what it means to be league MVP - when the game is swinging in the balance, you have to know what to do. In game 5, the deciding quarters were in 2&3, and in these two quarters OKC got outscored by 20. One quarter lost by 10? That happens. Two quarters in a row losing by 10? That's on your team leaders. It can't happen, not at this stage of the playoffs.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
Kevin Durant was nearly up to par with his normal, everyday offense.  He shot 11-21 and scored 25 points.  But his defense was lazy and just plain old bad.  His plus/minus was -22.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
31 21 4 7 0 3 2 -16
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
Russell Westbrook came down a bit from his Jordan-level performance of game 4, but he wasn't too far off of it either. If he had played in the final quarter his numbers would likely been right in alignment with his averages. He gets docked some points however because defensively he was not on point the way he was the last two games, allowing Tony Parker to penetrate with greater ease, which contributed to the team's defensive struggles.
JUSTIN Grade_aminus_medium
Westbrook was all over the place last night.  His defense was quick, his hustle was great, and that dunk left me speechless.  Too bad the bench couldn't come through for Russell because he had a solid game.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
8 2 1 0 0 0 1 0
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium Will Sefolosha have a role to play in this series? He'll be at home for game 6. We could sure use some of that defense, but only if Thabo isn't a negative on offense.
JUSTIN Grade_c_medium
Thabo Sefolosha played just 8 minutes and was invisible on the court.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
27 6 2 2 2 1 0 -10
SHERMAN Grade_cminus_medium
I'll cut Serge Ibaka some slack because we have no idea how his injured calf is doing, but there is no question that his game 3 performance is now a distant memory and we have to wonder what he can give the team on a nightly basis. It certainly has to be more than 6 points and 2 rebounds. OKC got crushed on the boards, and this is a clear comparative advantage that they cannot forgo.
JUSTIN Grade_d_medium
After the two games in which Serge saved the team, his third game was just disappointing.  Instead of helping the team, his offense brought them down.  He barley protected the paint and definitely should have won the matchup over Boris Diaw.  He admitted that he didn't come through
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
16 0 6 2 0 0 0 -3
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium Perkins struggled with fouls in this game, which limited his defensive effectiveness. However, he was not being targeted as much as Ibaka was, as the Spurs removed Tiago Splitter from the lineup and went with only 1 big man on the court.
JUSTIN Grade_cplus_medium
Kendrick Perkins was not on the floor for long, just 16 minutes.  However, he brings absolutely no offensive presence to the floor.  His only shot was a easy floater yet he missed.  But his +/- wasn't as bad as the others...-3.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
32 11 3 2 0 0 2 -22
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium Jackson has not had the impact that I anticipated in this series, and I think it's in part due to the fact that the playoffs are a different animal than the regular season, but also he's not getting the kinds of offensive opportunities he needs. In game 3 he was doing a great job taking the lead guard spot while Westbrook ran off-ball, but we haven't seen much of that since.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
Reggie Jackson was on fire in the first quarter with 10 points.  It looked like he was going to have one of those games.  But he missed his next five shots in the rest of the game and finished with just 11 points.  I feel like I have to pass him because he kept OKC in the game in the 1st quarter.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
18 4 2 1 0 0 0 -10
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium We all rooted for Lamb to get more minutes, and if you just look at the box score, you'd think, "well, he got minutes and he wasn't good." However, WHEN you get minutes is as important as how many, and Lamb did not get on the court in the 1st half. The 2nd unit has been abysmal in producing offense, as neither Fisher nor Butler can create anything on their own. This is the place where Lamb would benefit the team, and barring injury to others, he's still not getting a chance.
JUSTIN Grade_c_medium
Considering Jeremy Lamb didn't get a lot of time to play and he was put in garbage time when the Thunder were already losing by a lot, I cannot give him a good grade.  Had Scott Brooks understood that Lamb is a key player in this series, Lamb could have made an impact.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
20 6 4 1 0 0 1 -20
SHERMAN Grade_b_medium
Steven Adams continues his steep learning curve against Tim Duncan, and this time Duncan got the best of him as well as the rest of the Thunder front line. His energy is going to be much needed in game 6, as we are not sure how active Ibaka will be able to be on the boards.
JUSTIN Grade_bminus_medium
I may be a lenient grader, but I just love the way Steven Adams plays.  This game, he shot 3-4 from the field with 6 points.  He was a decent interior presence too.
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
13 5 3 2 0 0 1 -8
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
Nick Collison appears to be winding down in his effectiveness. He's still a smart passer and can make the offense move, but not if his primary teammates are Fisher & Butler. Brooks needs to find a better use for Nick.
JUSTIN Grade_cplus_medium
It is a bit disappointing to see the "do it all" guy benched more than he has all season. Brooks has almost taken him out of the rotation.  In 13 minutes, Collison scored 5 points, 3 of which were from the free throw line.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
13 2 4 0 1 1 1 -18
SHERMAN Grade_dplus_medium
Caron Butler was once again a poor contributor to the Thunder efforts. If he isn't hitting shots, he isn't much use. He can grab a few rebounds in the 18 minutes he's out there, but his job, the purpose for bringing him to OKC, was to stretch the floor. He isn't doing it.
JUSTIN Grade_dplus_medium
Caron Butler, along with Derek Fisher, has been nearly invisible in this series.  The Thunder could use a floor stretcher but he just isn't hitting his shots.  Butler can be one of those guys who can alter a series but if he isn't filling his role, he is useless.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
15 5 0 0 0 0 1 -5
SHERMAN Grade_d_medium The Spurs are completely unconcerned with Fisher, and why should they be? He can't create his own shot, and he's not being set up by the offense to take good high percentage 3's.
JUSTIN Grade_d_medium
Derek Fisher has been invisible this whole series.  C'mon D-Fish!

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
9 2 1 0 0 0 1 -6
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium I'll give him a nudge this game, because I wonder if he might see some action in game 6, as OKC has to find a way to alter the Spurs' stretch-4 play with Boris Diaw. PJIII might be the guy to help change their course.
JUSTIN Grade_f_medium
Nothing like playing garbage time and shooting 1-6 PJ3!

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE GRADE FG% 3P% AST REB BL ST TO
(Game stats)
43.2% 25% 19 35 4 6 11
SHERMAN Grade_f_medium
Game 5 is often considered the pivot for a series, and for good reason. It means that the leading team now gets 2 shots to close out the series. That team isn't the Thunder. Once again it was a poor defensive showing in the 3rd quarter that doomed OKC. Furthermore, they were outrebounded by a large amount, which means that when the defense DID perform well, they were still getting out-hustled by the Spurs for 2nd chance points as well as transition baskets. No more chances, guys. This is it.
JUSTIN Grade_dminus_medium
It was depressing to watch the Thunder lose a game that may cost them the season.  Besides Westbrook and Durant, the offense was not there.  The bench was horrible, no one stepped up.  The rotations didn't make sense.  Basically everything about the Thunder was bad...except for Westbrook's dunk.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
SHERMAN Grade_cminus_medium
I can't really fault Brooks' rotation or his play calling, because at the end of the day his team leader Durant didn't get the job done and his bench was useless. The defense began slipping at the end of the 1st quarter and it was downhill from there; I don't know what else Brooks could have done.
JUSTIN Grade_f_medium
I immediately take back everything I wrote about in my last piece about how Scott Brooks saved his job.  Brooks, who I credited for playing Jeremy Lamb more, put him in when the Thunder were already down double digits.  Steven Adams wasn't put in as much and the offense wasn't there.

*All player images via US Presswire

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