NBA Finals: Thunder Report Card

Staff writer Berry Tramel gave the Oklahoma City defense an “F” grade for defense during Game 5.
by Berry Tramel Modified: June 22, 2012 at 12:05 am •  Published: June 22, 2012

Defense: F. The Thunder never got the Heat out of its comfort zone. Miami was either draining open 3-pointers or getting to the basket for easy shots. Miami made 14 of 26 3-pointers and 23 of 40 shots in the paint. Which means the Heat took only 11 2-pointers outside the paint. That's the sign of an efficient offense. The Heat scored on 10 of 11 possessions during a first-quarter stretch to take a 25-17 lead. Then the Heat scored on seven of eight possessions during a second-quarter stretch to take a 53-36 lead. Finally, the Heat scored on 11 of 15 possessions during a third-quarter spree to take a 90-65 lead with 2:27 left. The Thunder got precious few stops when this was a ballgame.

Rotations: C. Scotty Brooks pulled out all the stops, never substituting Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook until surrendering in the fourth quarter. Good move, since there was nothing to rest them for. But Brooks again forgot about Thabo Sefolosha, his best defender. Thabo picked up two fouls in the first six minutes and didn't return until the third quarter. When Sefolosha went to the bench in the first quarter, the Heat led 14-10 and had made four of nine shots. The rest of the half, Miami made 18 of 31 shots. Thabo played just the first 3:41 of the third quarter, during which the Heat made four of seven shots. But after Sefolosha went to the bench, the Heat scored 26 points in the final seven minutes of the quarter. The Thunder's best defender played less than 10 minutes. Derek Fisher played three times as much.

Kevin Durant: C. Durant, like always, shot well (13 of 24), and his 11 rebounds were superb. But Durant had seven turnovers and generally played sloppy with the ball. His sluggish start helped set the wrong tone for the Thunder.

Russell Westbrook: C. Westbrook's golden touch from Game 4 left him. He couldn't get much to drop and finished 4-of-20 shooting. Westbrook shot too many 3-pointers (0-for-5) and was 3-for-17 for the series on treys. But Westbrook's floor game wasn't awful; he had six assists and only two turnovers on a chaotic night.

James Harden: D. Harden finally ended his slump — in the fourth quarter, while the Heat coronation had begun. Through three quarters, Harden had made just one of six shots, making him 5-for-26 in the three Miami games. The Thunder needs much more than that from Harden. In the fourth quarter, Harden made four of five shots and finished with 19 points. Too little too late.


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...
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