2014 NBA Playoffs Game 6 grades: Finished

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

And so it ends for the Thunder, coming up short against the Spurs. Here is how each player performed in their final game of the season.

Sometimes, there is a difference between playing hard and playing well. The Thunder in game 6 played hard, and none harder than in the 4th quarter where they came back from 12 down. However, they did not play well, whereas the Spurs did. That's why OKC is finished and San Antonio moves on.

Joining in the grading is J.A. Sherman.

***

Durant_medium

KEVIN DURANT GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
51:48 31 14 2 3 1 7 -3
KEVIN

Grade_a_medium

Very similar things to say for Durant as for Westbrook. The comfort level didn’t seem to be there consistently throughout the game against the Spurs’ defense, but he had an efficient 31 points to go with a well-rounded line. KD played all but one minute and 12 seconds of this one, giving it all he had until fatigue finally wore him down in overtime. There’s really nothing more you can ask for with the minute load he had to shoulder in this one.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
Kevin Durant finished with a solid stat line, he battled on the boards, and he played the final 20 minutes with a sore ankle. That is commendable. And yet I can't get over the feeling like he never played like himself this series. To be sure he was going against a great defense and elite defender in Kawhi Leonard, but being MVP means that you figure out  a way to make your impact on the game. He never really did that, and as a result, never forced Gregg Popovich to deal with him in any way other than let Leonard and Danny Green play straight up D.

Westbrook_medium

RUSSELL WESTBROOK GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
43:36 34 7 8 0 6 7 12
KEVIN Grade_a_medium Westbrook faded around the end, but there’s very little to complain about. He scored 34 and imposed ‘Westbrook mania’ through the game and especially near the end of regulation. His final stat line was full across the board, including six steals! The foul trouble was tough to swallow in such a close game, but Westbrook gave everything he had in an effort to win this one. Having to play extra overtime minutes was just bad luck for him.
SHERMAN Grade_bplus_medium
Russell Westbrook once again filled up the stat sheet, but in the end it cut both ways as he also struggled shooting from the floor in OT and committed 7 turnovers on the night. People will forget how hard he was working through 3 quarters to set up his teammates time and time again, despite the fact that they were failing to hit open looks. So it goes for the league's most polarizing player, but the man never quits. Never.
Sefolosha_medium

THABO SEFOLOSHA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game stats)
0:05 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
KEVIN Grade_c_medium The Thunder got a stop in the 4.5 seconds that Sefolosha played as a defensive sub, so he did his job. That's all it really is in these games where he doesn't start.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium I do believe we've seen the last game Thabo Sefolosha has played in, and he barely tallied a minute of action. Pro sports can be cruel sometimes.

Ibaka_medium

SERGE IBAKA GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
48:34 16 4 3 4 0 1 -10
KEVIN Grade_bplus_medium
Ibaka wasn’t dominant, but he played 49 minutes and remained a constant positive through it. He drilled midrange jumpers in support of the Thunder’s stars and played off the risk of the Spurs’ floor-stretching bigs to prioritize protecting the rim. Tim Duncan abused him late in the game with a diverse arsenal of post moves and one might’ve preferred to see more rebounding production in so much playing time, but Ibaka was really good nonetheless.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
Serge Ibaka's calf injury is almost an afterthought since he logged nearly 49 minutes in an OT game, but I'm sure it came into play in the one area where the Thunder really needed him - defensive rebounding. Ibaka played hard and there is no shame in getting bested by Tim Duncan in the post, but by failing to secure the boards, OKC gave up 16 offensive rebounds to one of the NBA's worst offensive rebounding teams.
Perk_medium

KENDRICK PERKINS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
21:05 0 5 1 0 0 0 8
KEVIN Grade_cplus_medium
Perkins did fine defending Tim Duncan in the post in the first half and snagged his share of rebounds, but that was about it. He didn’t make a huge impact either way and the Thunder eventually elected to go small.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium I suppose it is small consolation that in this series loss, Kendrick Perkins doesn't make the list of reasons why OKC came up short. For the much maligned big man, that says a lot about his ability to do his job amidst a lot of criticism. He now enters the next season in a contract year and it will be interesting to see what the team does with Perk.

Jackson_medium

REGGIE JACKSON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
46:42 21 5 3 0 0 2 -7
KEVIN Grade_aminus_medium

On a night where the bench didn’t make much of an impact, Jackson was the counterweight. He stepped up and put in some great numbers under Durant and Westbrook, often powering the Thunder’s offense with aggressive dribble penetration and confident outside shooting. I love what he did tonight.

SHERMAN Grade_aminus_medium Reggie Jackson did a great job stepping up when Russell Westbrook had to leave the game with 4 fouls. He once again proved that the Spurs have no real answer for him. The problem remains that he wasn't really playing team basketball, it was just a lot of one on one play. The Thunder are leaving themselves short against the Spurs until they correct this.
Lamb_medium
JEREMY LAMB GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
6:12 0 0 1 0 1 0 -1
KEVIN Grade_c_medium
Lamb didn’t play much at all, but it was nice to see him get a rare first-quarter look. Couldn’t make his shots, though.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium Jeremy Lamb never really got a shot to contribute; he was more of a desperation move than anything.

Adams_medium

STEVEN ADAMS GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
12:05 0 2 0 0 0 1 -17
KEVIN Grade_cplus_medium Adams was fine, not making much of an impact either way while playing much of a stretch where the Thunder were reeling. He was there, he played solid defense and he was eventually shelved in favor of a small lineup. Not too much different from Perkins albeit in fewer minutes, really.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium
Steven Adams was pretty much game planned off the court by Gregg Popovich. Not his fault, really, but he did give up some critical offensive rebounds in the 1st half to the Spurs, which helped keep them in the game.
Collison_medium

NICK COLLISON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
2 0 2 0 0 0 0 +3
KEVIN Grade_c_medium Good on him for getting two rebounds in two minutes, I guess. Would’ve loved to see more of him, as always.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium Nick Collison failed to make really any sort of impact in this, or any game in the series.

Butler_medium

CARON BUTLER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
0:00 - - - - - - -
KEVIN Grade_c_medium No problem with the DNP-CD. Butler wasn't making his shots.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium Probably the right move by Brooks in keeping Caron Butler out of the game.

Fisher_medium

DEREK FISHER GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
32:30 5 6 1 0 1 1 -10
KEVIN Grade_cplus_medium Fisher’s going to see a ton of criticism because he was abused in the post late in the game, but when the Thunder were in a small lineup, the Spurs were the ones manufacturing switches in pick-and-rolls to specifically exploit Fisher. The small lineup worked well overall, and it was better to stick with it as it was than to make a switch to alleviate the abuse in the post. Fisher gets this grade for some good hustle, a few made shots, lasting 33 minutes and not really doing much else.
SHERMAN Grade_cplus_medium Derek Fisher was the only bench player to score for the Thunder, which is something. He battled aggressively against horrific mismatches, including Tim Duncan at the rim, which is another. Why he played almost 33 minutes in a save-our-season Thunder game is beyond me. The sun now sets on D-Fish.

Jones_medium

PERRY JONES III GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
0:10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
KEVIN Grade_c_medium Played ten seconds, which is a hard amount of time to do anything in. In theory, he would've been handy to use against Boris Diaw, but PJ3 doesn't quite live up to his 'super-athletic-and-guards-all-positions-do-it-all-player' billing yet.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium Perry Jones was not really given a chance to contribute, either. Maybe he could have done a better job on Duncan than Fisher? Maybe not.

Roberson_medium

ANDRE ROBERSON GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
0:00 - - - - - - -
KEVIN Grade_c_medium Not even in the active lineup tonight. Next year, Andre. Next year.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium "Animal Style's" time will come.

Thabeet_medium

HASHEEM THABEET GRADE MIN PTS REB AST BL ST TO +/-
(Game Stats)
0:00 - - - - - - -
KEVIN Grade_c_medium DON'T CUT HIM THIS OFFSEASON. PLEASE.
SHERMAN Grade_c_medium

Hasheem Thabeet will always answer the phone when you call.

Brooks_medium

SCOTT BROOKS Coaching Grade
KEVIN Grade_b_medium
I think there’s a mix of extremes here, and some of it is hard to figure out. Like, was it smart of him to play his stars so heavily and let them fall to fatigue? The second unit has failed the Thunder in these playoffs and you definitely want your best players out on the floor as much as possible, but it’s hard to judge when you play them too much. The small lineup worked, but there was also questionable timeout calling. No fun to watch the Thunder relegated to Durant and Westbrook forcing pull-up jumpers off tired legs in the fourth quarter. Arbitrary intermediate grade here.
SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
There were a few issues with which to quibble, like Scott Brooks' decision to have his defense switch on everything in the 2nd half, or Derek Fisher playing so many minutes and being thoroughly outplayed by bigger and stronger Spurs. That said, this is what it looks like when you get outcoached and your opponent paints you into a corner. Brooks had zero options left to make a change to alter this series' outcome. He wasn't bad by any stretch, rather was simply not good enough.

Thunder_medium

TEAM GRADE GRADE FG% 3P% AST REB BL ST TO
(Game stats)
42.7% 29.6% 19 45 7 9 19
KEVIN Grade_aminus_medium

It hurts that the Thunder lost to a Spurs team that lost Tony Parker at halftime, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. They gave it their all, and ultimately, it was only fatigue that became the overwhelming factor in overtime. This is a disappointing way to see the season end to be sure, but it wasn’t an embarrassing finish.

SHERMAN Grade_bminus_medium
The Thunder were tracking well on this game right up to the end of the 3rd quarter, where the Spurs turned a fantastic 2-for-1 situation into a remarkable 7 points. The Thunder, who were leading by 7 at the half, watched their lead not only evaporate but turn into a double-digit deficit. Their 4th quarter comeback was commendable, but in the end there were too many end-of-quarter instances like this that buried them, with the last one for good. Hello, offseason.

*All player images via US Presswire

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