Thunder report card: 'A' for start, 'F' for finish

BY BERRY TRAMEL, Columnist, btramel@opubco.com Published: May 24, 2011
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Start: A. So much for the idea that the Thunder can't get off to a good start with Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha in the lineup. The Thunder spurted to a 26-15 lead before Scotty Brooks substituted. By that time, Perkins and Sefolosha had combined for six points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot.

Finish: F. The Thunder led 99-84 with 4:49 left. From then until the end of regulation, it got just two stops — a Russell Westbrook steal and a Sefolosha block — and scored just two points, on a Westbrook jumper.

Overtime: C. Believe it or not, the Thunder didn't stink in overtime. At least not defensively. The Thunder got three stops, including two it absolutely had to have. But the offensive malaise was too much to overcome. OKC's only overtime points came on baskets by Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka.

Game-winning play: F. Really? Throw it to Kevin Durant 40 feet from the basket with four seconds left? Really?

Defending Dirk: C. Nowitzki had 22 first-half points, thanks to a bunch of friendly whistles circa Game 1. But most of the second half, the Thunder held him in check, thanks to Ibaka and Nick Collison. Nowitzki had just four points the first 19 minutes of the second half. Then he scored 14 points in less than five minutes while not missing a shot.

Rebounding: B. The Thunder dominated the boards. Out-rebounded the Mavs 62-40, outscored the Mavs 24-12 in second-chance points. But the Thunder got only one offensive rebound the final 10 minutes, despite missing 13 shots.

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