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.
Transition defense: D. The Lakers, who were expected to be dragging on the back end of games on consecutive nights, pushed the tempo in the first half and produced 13 fast-break points. Bynum, the biggest man in the building, had three baskets with at least 18 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Inexcusable.
Small lineup: C. Scotty Brooks used a small lineup in both halves, and it gave the Thunder offensive sparks. But it had no staying power, because the Lakers are just too big. Down the stretch, Brooks had to go back to Perkins and Serge Ibaka, and that lineup keyed the comeback.
Defensive rebounding: D. The Lakers had 19 second-chance points, which actually isn't too bad considering L.A. had 21 second and/or third chances. The Lakers missed eight foul shots, but two were dead-ball situations. Of the six live-ball misses, the Lakers rebounded two.
Machoism: C. Perkins and Westbrook each received technical fouls for altercations with Lakers. Perk with Sessions and Westbrook with Steve Blake. Hey, guys. It's always good to stand up to the Lakers. But Sessions and Blake? How about staring down the big-dog Lakers like Kobe and Chaos?