The Thunder won, but not without some rough sailing. The Thunder went to the wire against a team that is overmatched in size and talent, and the grades reflect an uneasy performance:
DEFENSIVE REBOUNDING: D. The numbers were ugly for the Thunder. Houston's 6-foot-1 sparkplug, Patrick Beverley, had more rebounds (12) than Serge Ibaka (11) and more than Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison combined (nine). The Rockets had 21 offensive rebounds and 27 second-chance points. In the third quarter, nine of Houston's 17 points came on second chances. Perhaps the game's most frustrating play for the Thunder came late in the second quarter, when Beverley, among three much-taller Thunder players, tipped a Carlos Delfino miss. The tip rolled off, and Beverley still got the offensive rebound and a putback.
BIG LINEUP: B. We all want Scotty Brooks to use his small lineup when other teams go small, but the Thunder's big lineup clearly was more effective in Game 2. Brooks used two interior players for 26:31 — and the Thunder outscored Houston 56-46 during that time. The Thunder went small for 21:29 and was outscored 56-49. Among Thunder starters, the best plus-minus belonged to Perkins — OKC outscored the Rockets by eight points with Gran Torino on the court. The only negative for the big lineup was that it still allowed the Rockets to dominate the boards.
BROTHERLY LOVE: C. Referee Danny Crawford conspicuously chewed out Thunder official scorer Chris Doyle during the Heat game on Valentine's Day. But in pregame Wednesday, Crawford came over and gave Doyle a hearty handshake, a big smile and finally a hug. That was the end of the pleasantries. Russell Westbrook was banged up when Beverley popped him going for a steal while Westbrook was signaling for a timeout. Westbrook later shoved aside Beverley's helping hand when Westbrook took a tumble. And Perkins knocked the wind out of James Harden with a clearing elbow that led to an easy Perk bucket.
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