NBA Finals: Thunder report card

Staff writer Berry Tramel grades the Thunder's Game 1 performance against the Miami Heat
By Berry Tramel Published: June 12, 2012
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Finding Durant: B. Kevin Durant got 20 shots and nine foul shots; that's a presentable 24 possessions used, though more would be nice. But after Durant had 11 first-quarter points, he got just four shots in the middle two quarters. Scotty Brooks said some of that was Durant's fault, for not working to get open. Then the Thunder found Durant for 10 shots in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter; Durant made six of them and scored 17 fourth-quarter points, to finish with 36.


Pace of play: A. The Thunder dominated in transition, outscoring the Heat 24-4 in fast-break points. The Heat is lethal on the break, but the Thunder kept Miami in check by scoring — hard to play up-tempo when taking the ball out of the net. The Heat can't win this series without winning the transition game.

Remembering Thabo: C. Thabo Sefolosha played just 8:44 in the first half, which was curious, since the Heat was hot, shooting over 50 percent. But Brooks remembered his defensive ace in the second half; Thabo played 20 minutes in the second half and guarded LeBron James the entire fourth quarter, during which LeBron scored seven points on 2-of-6 shooting.

Bench: B. James Harden had an off night — five points, no foul shots, 2-of-6 shooting — and the Heat didn't start Chris Bosh. And still the Thunder bench outscored Miami's 19-12 and out-rebounded the Heat reserves 13-5. Derek Fisher was solid in 25 minutes, with six points, an assist and decent defense. And Nick Collison was spectacular, with eight points and 10 rebounds. Collison played just 21:16 but had a plus-13 rating — the Thunder outscored the Heat by 13 with Collison on the court. Erik Spoelstra after the game said the Heat would have to lengthen its bench in Game 2.

Defending superstars: B. LeBron and Dwyane Wade combined to make 18 of 43 shots. More importantly, they combined for just 14 foul shots (12 made). The Thunder can live with that. The combination of Durant and Thabo on LeBron, and Thabo and Russell Westbrook on Wade, made life generally tough on the Heatles. The only knock — with a chance to put away the game, the Thunder allowed Wade and LeBron combine for nine points on four late possessions, keeping Miami within 97-92 with 1:38 left.

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