NBA Finals Game 2 report card: Thunder bench gets an 'A'; Aggression gets a 'B'

James Harden returned to high productivity, with 21 points. He basically kept the Thunder in this game. And while Nick Collison didn't have numbers to speak of (three rebounds, no points), the Thunder outscored Miami by eight points during the 14 1/2 minutes Collison was on the court.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 15, 2012

Momentum management: D. Scotty Brooks did not respond well to the Heat's opening barrage. By the time Brooks called timeout with 6:36 left in the first half, Miami led 13-2 and the Thunder long had been out of sorts offensively. Contrast that with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who three times called timeouts after Thunder runs of just 4-0 or 5-0.

Bench: A. James Harden returned to high productivity, with 21 points. He basically kept the Thunder in this game. And while Nick Collison didn't have numbers to speak of (three rebounds, no points), the Thunder outscored Miami by eight points during the 14 1/2 minutes Collison was on the court. Derek Fisher was ineffective, with only one basket, but OKC outscored Miami by 13 in Fisher's 24 minutes on the court. No Thunder started had a positive plus-minus.

Foul protection: C. Neither Kevin Durant nor Russell Westbrook protected himself from foul trouble. Durant bit on a Dwyane Wade pump fake with 3:40 left in the first quarter and picked up his second foul. He sat for the next six minutes. Then Durant got foul No. 5 with 10:31 left in the game, trying for a futile offensive rebound. Durant remained in the game and had to play a little soft. Westbrook's second foul came out of frustration, after a Thunder miss, again 80 feet from the Heat basket. With 36 seconds left in the first quarter, Westbrook had to go to the bench, where he sat for the next six-plus minutes.

Lineup adjustments: C. Brooks stuck with his big lineup too long. He did not insert Harden into the game until 5:13 remained in the first quarter, and Miami leading 16-2. Then Brooks stuck with the big lineup for almost half the third quarter, during which Miami extended its lead from 55-43 to 70-55. Finally, with 6:20 left in the third quarter, Brooks abandoned the big lineup for good. For the game, the big lineup was on the court for 9:23 and was outscored 37-23. And regardless of who else was on the court, Brooks waited too long to insert Harden, with Durant and Westbrook struggling from the outset. Harden scored 10 points in those final 5:13 of the first quarter.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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