Game 2 grades: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook bring the thunder

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder had to rise to the challenge after getting routed in game 1, and the players delivered. Here is how each performed!

The Thunder needed a win at home in game 2, and their leaders Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provided it. Lest you think this was a 2-man show, check out how the rest of the Thunder stepped up as well.

Joining in the grades today is Kevin Yeung.

Game 1 grades

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
44 32 12 9 0 2 4 +14
JUAN Grade_aplus_medium
Kevin Durant was amazing in game two. He had a little MVP ceremony right before the game and then started the game off with a bang. 17 points in the first quarter, which seemed to set the tone for the team, which is what he has to do more often. Once KD has it going on, it makes it so much easier for the other four guys to get going.
KEVIN Grade_aplus_medium This was the Kevin Durant game. There was the near triple-double, the game-changing third-quarter takeover, the mechanical shot-making and... wait a minute. Haven't we done this already?

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
41 31 10 10 0 3 4 +14
JUAN Grade_aplusplus_medium
Russell Westbrook got yet another triple-double (with some help of the scoring table) and dominated this game. He was quick, decisive, and took it to the Clippers' defense. Westbrook got Chris Paul in early foul trouble and absolutely dominated that match-up after CP3 took it to him in game one. The third quarter was RUSSDICULOUS.
KEVIN Grade_aplus_medium This was the Russell Westbrook game. There was the triple-double, the game-changing third-quarter takeover, the loud celebrations and shot selection that was juuuust poor enough at specific times to make people question Westbrook's style of play. In every way imaginable, he imposed his will on this game. Regardless of individual possessions that may not be in the team's best interest, Westbrook is best when he dominates his opponent with the sheer braggadocio of his play.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
22 14 0 1 0 3 0 +12
JUAN Grade_a_medium
Thabo Sefolosha played excellent in game two. He made a couple of threes, but his defensive energy was the difference maker. At the beginning of the game, he got caught on a couple pin-downs that resulted in J.J. Redick three's, but after that he was great. His consecutive steals in the third quarter erupted the arena and we couldn't even hear Doc Rivers call a timeout. If Thabo can give the Thunder this performance, I don't know who beats them.
KEVIN Grade_bplus_medium
J.J. Redick burned him in the first half, but Sefolosha found his rhythm in the second half and had exactly the type of game that I think he needed. He made a bunch of fast break dunks and catch-and-shoot threes, the latter hopefully a sign of renewed confidence in his outside jumper. What I loved most was the ramped-up energy on defense, as Sefolosha forced a handful of turnovers and got back in the swing of things on that end. If Brooks is going to start him over Caron Butler, Sefolosha is going to need to remain an active upgrade over Butler defensively.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
34 14 7 1 1 0 2 +11
JUAN Grade_bminus_medium
It wasn't a bad performance by Serge Ibaka, but it wasn't a great one either. He played tough in the paint and did a good job on Blake Griffin, and had one monster block. I would have just liked to see him get double-digit rebounds and maybe a couple more blocks.
KEVIN Grade_bplus_medium
Though he wasn't dominant, Ibaka was efficient and effective. He made his jumpers and filled empty space at the rim. On a night where other teammates dominated the glass, his seven rebounds weren't too shabby and he played a hand in holding the Clippers' big men off the offensive glass. The Clippers didn't run much offense through the post or towards the rim today, but Ibaka did a fine job of challenging shots in that area.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
26 8 9 1 0 0 2 +18
JUAN Grade_a_medium
Let's just say that Kendrick Perkins played so well that Scott Brooks ran a clear out for Perk to start the second half and... HE MADE THE RUNNER. It was an absolute delight seeing Perkins so active on both ends of the floor. Will this happen again soon? Probably not, but I hope so.
KEVIN Grade_aminus_medium
Okay, it wasn't the Kendrick Perkins game, but he gets the benefit of lower standards that Westbrook or Durant. Perk played some outstanding post defense on Blake Griffin tonight, holding the normally difficult to contain bruiser to 5-of-13 shooting. There were also Perkins' nine rebounds, which is pretty good production for him in 25 minutes.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
13 4 3 1 0 0 3 +4
JUAN Grade_cplus_medium
Another sub-par game for Reggie Jackson, but luckily for him and the Thunder, he really wasn't needed to do much on a night where the starting 5 notched up 99 points combined.
KEVIN Grade_cplus_medium With Westbrook and Durant dominant, there wasn't much to be asked of Reggie Jackson tonight. That's fine, even if the 13 minutes don't seem ideal. Jackson isn't the greatest off-ball player, and other players established a better pace of production early.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
2 0 0 0 0 0 1 -2
JUAN Grade_c_medium
Two straight garbage time appearances by Jeremy Lamb, but this time, it was because the Thunder were handing out work.
KEVIN Grade_c_medium Lamb with the close-out minutes in the win.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
18 6 5 0 1 0 0 -2
JUAN Grade_aminus_medium
It's only game two and Steven Adams has already annoyed Blake Griffin to the point where he probably wants to punch Adams, and that's amazing. His energy was great last night and the toughness he brings off the bench is phenomenal. Great game for Adams.
KEVIN Grade_b_medium
He's going to get Blake Griffin suspended. You know it's going to happen. (In my heart, he gets an A++++++.)
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
4 0 1 0 0 0 0 +1
JUAN Grade_c_medium
Weird not seeing Nick Collison get important minutes, but when Perkins and Adams have games like they did, there aren't any minutes to go around for Nick. But hey, he still got a positive +/-.
KEVIN Grade_c_medium I don't really get why he doesn't play these days. Love Steven Adams and all that, but Collison is an infinitely better player at this point in time.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
26 3 4 1 0 0 0 -13
JUAN Grade_dplus_medium
There actually was no reason why Caron Butler played as many minutes as he did. He ended up playing more than Thabo Sefolosha and did about a third less than what Thabo did. He couldn't hit a shot and even fouled CP3 on a three-point attempt. I like Butler, but he shouldn't have gotten so many minutes last night.
KEVIN Grade_c_medium For the second game in a row, his offense just disappeared. I think it's just a temporary slump for a player that can be inconsistent at times, and he had open shots that he just missed. The decision to re-insert Sefolosha into the starting lineup never looked so good.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
13 0 1 0 0 0 0 -2
JUAN Grade_cplus_medium
Derek Fisher played 13 minutes and was on the floor about 5 times in that span. You can call that hustle, or just being old. Either one works. We're all glad that his shoulder is all good!
KEVIN Grade_c_medium Fisher had an empty stat-line in about the same amount of playing time as Jackson, and that's a little frustrating. Fish has been awful in the playoffs, especially from the three-point line where he occupies his primary niche. There's never been a more appropriate time to hand some of his minutes over to Jackson.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
JUAN Grade_bplus_medium
Scott Brooks gets a lot of blame when the team loses, but doesn't get much love when the team wins. It's part of having a top coaching job in the NBA. Last night, I think he did a great job. He ran some early plays for Kevin Durant and he delivered. Only thing we need to see Brooks do is to give Caron Butler a little less minutes in favor of Reggie Jackson or Thabo Sefolosha. Brooks made some adjustments, but his team just came out ready to play.
KEVIN Grade_bplus_medium Playing time for certain guys off the bench still bothers me a little bit, though I'm still insistent that Lamb and Adams are fine in their current roles. Brooks had a good night, though. The Thunder were reeling at halftime and then came out with renewed energy on both ends to take the game over. Though Durant and Westbrook dominated the offense, I was most impressed by the turnaround on defense as first-half ransackers Chris Paul and J.J. Redick vanished in the second half.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE GRADE FG% 3P% AST REB BL ST TO
(Advanced Stats)
50.6 34.8 23 52 2 8 16
JUAN Grade_a_medium
Unbelievable performance by the Thunder last night, in particular the starting unit. They scored 99 points combined, that's 2 points less than the entire Clippers team. Durant and Westbrook were outstanding, but they got an extra boost from Perkins and Thabo. The only thing that kept this grade from being an A+ was the lack of bench play. I'm looking at you, Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler. But, overall, it was a magnificent performance. Now we're going to L.A!
KEVIN Grade_aminus_medium
I don't remember the last time the entire starting lineup played so well together on one night. It's a great feeling, and though I was frustrated by the level of focus in the first half, they turned around in a big way in the second half. Go good guys!

*All player images via US Presswire

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