OKC Thunder: Fourth-quarter shooting gets an A

Everyone knows about James Harden's fourth quarter — 16 points, most on snaky drives to the basket. But the reason Harden had space to work was the 3-point threat.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 5, 2012
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Fourth-quarter shooting: A. Everyone knows about James Harden's fourth quarter – 16 points, most on snaky drives to the basket. But the reason Harden had space to work was the 3-point threat. The Thunder made just six of 18 3-pointers through three quarters, but Daequan Cook opened the period with a 3-pointer off a Harden pass, and Kevin Durant sank two 3-pointers in a three-possession span that gave the Thunder an 88-88 tie. The Mavs realized they had to respect the long-range shot.

Defending Jason Terry: A. After the game, Scotty Brooks' favorite topic wasn't James Harden's offense. It was Russell Westbrook's defense. Westbrook defended Terry most of the fourth quarter, holding him to just two shots, both misses, and one of the shots came with eight seconds left, with the game effectively over.

Defending Dirk Nowitzki: B. Nowitzki was sensational, with 34 points, and almost shot the Thunder out of the game in the third quarter, when he scored 12 points. But Serge Ibaka's defense stiffened in the fourth quarter, when Nowitzki made just one of eight shots. He finished 10 of 25 from the field. That's excellent defense considering the Thunder played most of the game without Kendrick Perkins, who suffered a hip strain. Perk occasionally guards Nowitzki and always helps out inside. The only downside was the Thunder fouled Nowitzki too much – he went 13-of-13 from the line. Ibaka fouled out with 2:14 left and Nick Collison finished with five fouls.

Thunder fans: A. Thundermania didn't exactly take over American Airlines Center, but hundreds of OKC fans made the trip south and got tickets in the market that went soft after Dallas' Game 3 loss. Every Thunder basket was followed by rousing cheers. And the savviest of the Thunder crowd wore orange Thunder shirts, to differentiate from the blue T-shirts that


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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