The Thunder played great early but shaky late in a 103-97 overtime loss in Game 4. The grades reflect it.
SECOND-HALF OFFENSE: D. The Thunder offense has worsened in the second half of every game this series. And Game 4 was no different. After scoring 56 first-half points and making 53.8 percent of it shots, the Thunder scored just 38 second-half points and made just 12 of its 32 shots. Then overtime was a disaster, with the only OKC points coming on Derek Fisher's only basket of the game, a 3-pointer with 1:55 left.
TEMPO: A. The Thunder made a concerted effort to play faster, and it paid off. The Thunder outscored Memphis 12-0 in fast-break points. Reggie Jackson particularly was good in transition. The fast pace cost the Thunder some turnovers; OKC had eight in the first 16 minutes and finished with 15, but it was well worth it.
REBOUNDING: D. Second-chance points plagued the Thunder again. After limiting Memphis to three second-chance points in Game 3, the Grizzlies got 21 Monday night. It was a game-long problem, but the worst came in the final two minutes of regulation. The Grizzlies used 53 seconds on a possession by getting two offensive rebounds, leading to Zach Randolph foul shots (he made one to give Memphis a 93-92 lead). Then the Grizzlies used 31 seconds on a possession by getting one offensive rebound, leading to Marc Gasol foul shots (he made to give Memphis a 94-92 lead). Randolph's sixth offensive rebound of the game produced an overtime layup that gave Memphis a 98-94 lead.
DURANT CLUTCH: C. Kevin Durant hit another clutch shot — a driving finger-roll that fell through with 6.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. But Durant's fourth quarter and overtime were horrid. The Grizzlies put a defensive hedge on Durant, who after the third quarter made just two of 13 shots. He finished with 27 points but had 22 through three quarters.
BROOKS ROTATIONS: B. Scotty Brooks again punched a bunch of right buttons. But he stuck with Derek Fisher too long. Fish obviously was off this night, but down the stretch, Brooks went with Fisher over Martin. Except for the final play of regulation, on which the Thunder scored, Martin sat from the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter until 2:10 remained in overtime. That's more than nine minutes of an ineffective Fisher.
BENCH: B. Nick Collison returned from several lackluster games and played strong, 10 points and three rebounds, before fouling out with 3:42 left. Kevin Martin was a huge help offensively, scoring 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. But Fisher, who has been so stout these playoffs, reverted back to his March ways, going 1-of-5 from the field and frankly not coming close on most of his misses.
RIB GAME: A. The Grizzlies staged a cool timeout act. Rendezvous Barbeque sponsored a promotion in which three guys in rib costumes played 3-on-2 against two 20-somethings. The ribs couldn't even grab the ball, but they stood about seven feet tall in their costume. The game ended in a scoreless tie — the ribs are unbeaten in the playoffs.
SMALL LINEUP: B. The Thunder held its own again by going small. The lineup with Durant playing forward outscored Memphis 39-35. But when both Gasol and Randolph were on the floor, that lineup gave the Thunder all kinds of trouble on the boards.