Big-man perimeter shooting: A. The Thunder's big men made eight of nine shots from beyond 15 feet. Sure, Serge Ibaka's 6-of-6 was most of that. But Nick Collison swished an 18-footer, and Kendrick Perkins made a 17-footer on the Thunder's second possession of the game and tried another on the next possession that barely rimmed out.
Scotty Brooks rotations: B. Brooks sensed that his big men were playing great and rarely went to the small lineup – it played only 2 minutes, 8 seconds and was outscored 7-4. Brooks also shortened his bench again and played just eight players, which is going to be necessary against the Spurs. But Brooks also let Thabo Sefolosha sit too long in the second half. Thabo played just nine minutes, and not coincidentally, the Spurs scored 60 points and shot 59 percent from the field after halftime. At one point, Brooks had both Russell Westbrook and Thabo on the bench. Playing any minutes without your two best perimeter defenders is not advisable against the Spurs.
Kendrick Perkins offense: A. Lost in Ibaka's monster game (26 points), Gran Torino scored 15 points and made seven of nine shots. Sometimes, we think he's not much of an offensive threat. Sometimes, he shows us he's not much of an offensive threat. But Perk has been big in the playoffs before. He once scored 18 points in a playoff game (2008 East finals, vs. Detroit). In 2009, Perkins averaged 13.3 points in a seven-game series against Chicago and 10.4 points in a seven-game series against Orlando and Dwight Howard.
Russell Westbrook: C. Westbrook had a spotty performance – seven points, giving him just 17 in the last two games, on 2-of-10 shooting. He had five assists but often looked frustrated in the offense, though he kept his turnovers down to three and played solid defense. The Thunder needs a better Westbrook in San Antonio.
Rebounding: A. Remember back in the regular season, when the Thunder was getting bashed on the boards? That's a distant memory. The Spurs had just seven offensive rebounds and only nine second-chance points. Through three games, San Antonio had averaged 10.7 offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points. And the Thunder improved mightily on that.
Defending Tony Parker: A. Even with Thabo playing less than half the game, the Thunder kept the Spurs point guard in check. Parker made just five of 15 shots and never got in a rhythm. Credit Thabo and Westbrook and even Derek Fisher, who didn't get burned in his limited time chasing Parker.
Fourth-quarter defense: C. The Spurs made 13 of 19 shots in the final 12 minutes and made Kevin Durant's fourth-quarter heroics necessary. Particularly effective was San Antonio's 3-point shooting – four of six in the final quarter. The Spurs were 11 of 23 from beyond the arc and now have shot 40.6 percent on 3-pointer this series.
Passing: A. The Thunder ball movement is getting scary good – a season high-tying 27 assists on 44 baskets. Even the guys who were struggling were effective passers (James Harden had seven assists, Westbrook had five). And so was the guy who couldn't miss in the fourth quarter (Durant had a game-high eight assists).