OKC Thunder Game 1 Report Card: Defensive rebounding, crowd get high marks

Quite a game, the Thunder's 93-91 victory over Memphis. Not always pretty but always fiercely played, and the grades reflect it.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 5, 2013

Sans Durant: B. Durant played 43:42 — he sat for just the first 4:18 of the second quarter. And it went OK. The Thunder held serve, 9-9, with Durant on the bench, thanks to Kevin Martin's seven points. But it didn't start out so well. The Thunder went scoreless its first three possessions, and Memphis got a 3-point play from Randolph and a 20-foot shot from Pondexter.

Small ball: A. The Grizzlies didn't seem like a team on which the Thunder could try out its small lineup. But with Memphis up 70-58 with 1:57 left in the third quarter, Brooks resorted to a lineup of Collison, Durant, Fisher, Jackson and Martin. And it changed the game. The Thunder stayed small until the 7:01 mark of the fourth quarter and had cut the Memphis lead to 82-77. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins inserted Gasol earlier in the fourth quarter, but for Randolph. Finally, at 5:45, Hollins went with both his big men, and Brooks responded by going big again. But Hollins later said he regretted going big. Good to see the Thunder force the issue.

 

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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...
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