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OKC Thunder Game 4 report card: 'A' for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Staff writer Berry Tramel issues grades from the Thunder's 103-100 victory over the Lakers in Game 4
by Berry Tramel Published: May 20, 2012

Poise: A. Let's see. Down 13 points, eight minutes left, the Laker crowd howling, Kobe Bryant getting calls. The Thunder had every reason to believe it wasn't their night. But this team is tough-minded. It stayed the course, caught the Lakers and made the plays down the stretch.

Russell Westbrook: A. I assume Westbrook has played a better game, but nothing immediately comes to mind – 37 points on 15 of 26 shooting, five assists, baskets on four straight possessions to get the Thunder within 96-92 with four minutes left. Westbrook was so good, he even gets a pass for his last-minute turnover, with the score tied.

Kevin Durant: A. Wow – 31 points, 13 rebounds, 11 fourth-quarter points, the game-winning shot over Oklahoma arch-enemy Metta World Chaos, stellar defense on Kobe in the final four minutes. This was a night to remember for a guy who will have many in his career.

Durant drives: C. In the first half, Durant made six of 12 shots – five of the misses came on drives into the paint, and the other was a miss off a solid lob pass from Westbrook. Durant got stronger in the second half, but the early misses kept him from an even more monstrous night.

Interior defense: C. In the first half, the Lakers had 34 points in the paint. That's an astounding figure, considering L.A. had averaged 40 paint points per game in the series. And it wasn't just Andrew Bynum (who had a 6-for-6 starts and finished with 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting). For the second straight game, Ramon Sessions dented the Thunder with repeated penetration in the lane; Sessions finished with 10 points. But the Thunder stiffened in the second half.

Guarding Kobe B: This was the Thunder's worst game against Kobe this series. Kobe found a rhythm, got much easier shots and finished with 38 points. He got his usual foul shots – 17, one fewer than the Game 3 debacle. But against Kobe, you've either got to lay off or foul him into missing. Thabo Sefolosha was not as effective as normal against Kobe. But Kobe made just two of 10 shots in the fourth quarter, including five straight after Durant switched over to him in the final four minutes. Kobe's only make was a meaningless 12-footer at the buzzer.

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by Berry Tramel
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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