NBA Finals: Thunder report card for Game 4

Staff writer Berry Tramel gave Oklahoma City a D grade in late-game execution.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 19, 2012

Late-game execution: D. The Thunder scored on just four of 13 possessions in the final six minutes, after Russell Westbrook's foul shots forged a 90-90 tie. The Thunder made just three of nine shots and committed three turnovers. On one of the Thunder's few solid plays, Thabo Sefolosha hit the side of the backboard on a 3-point shot that would have tied it with 1:07 left.

Russell Westbrook: A. A game for the ages for one of the NBA lightning rods. Westbrook had 43 points on 20 of 32 shooting, seven rebounds and five assists. If you want to quibble, Westbrook had a huge turnover with 3:54 left in the game, dribbling the ball off his foot and out of bounds, with the Thunder up 94-92. After Chris Bosh's ensuing basket, OKC never led again.

Middle-quarters defense: D. The Heat made just 17 of 43 shots combined in the first and fourth quarters. But Miami sizzled in the middle quarters. The Heat made 11 of 20 shots and scored 27 points in the second quarter, when it had two turnovers. Then the Heat made 10 of 16 shots and scored 33 points in the third quarter, when it had no turnovers.

James Harden: C. Harden had another miserable offensive game, with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting and four turnovers. Harden's game was embodied by his steal with 10 minutes left and Miami up 80-79. With a clear path to the basket, Harden slowed up to get a better angle or draw a foul — and missed the layup. But give Harden credit. He found a way to contribute, with 10 rebounds.

Defensive rebounding: C. The Thunder allowed the Heat 12 offensive rebounds, which is not an outrageous number. But Miami made the most of those rebounds, with 15 second-chance points. And the Heat really made the Thunder pay in the fourth quarter. With Miami up 80-79, the Heat scored off offensive rebounds on two straight possessions — and those rebounds came from unlikely sources James Jones and Udonis Haslem. Then Haslem's rebound of a Dwyane Wade air ball with 17.3 seconds left, led to a jump ball. Miami won the tip and put away the game.

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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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