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OKC Thunder: Report card for Game 1 of Western Conference finals vs. San Antonio

Staff writer Berry Tramel hands out grades for the Thunder's loss to Spurs.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 27, 2012

Fourth-quarter offense: D. After James Harden's jumper rolled in on the Thunder's first possession of the fourth quarter, the Thunder went almost six minutes without a basket. The Thunder had seven straight possessions without a point. The Thunder righted its offense only by attacking and getting to the foul line. The only other saving grace for OKC was three desperate 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds.

Fourth-quarter defense: F. The Thunder allowed 39 fourth-quarter points. The Spurs scored on 20 of 25 possessions, and one of their empty possessions came when Tiago Splitter missed two foul shots. Doesn't get much worse than that.

Transition game: A. The Thunder pushed the pace, particularly in the first half, and it paid off handsomely. Kevin Durant had three early fast-break baskets, which helped considerably since he started slowly. The Spurs looked out of sync playing at such a pace and committed 13 first-half turnovers. San Antonio had just three second-half turnovers. Still, the Thunder outscored the Spurs 17-8 in fast-break points.

Scotty Brooks: B. The Thunder coach did a solid job getting his team ready to play. The Thunder came out aggressive on offense and locked in on defense. That's a winning recipe. And Brooks' rotations were solid, particularly going with the small lineup when necessary. But not playing Serge Ibaka in the fourth quarter was a little curious, even with the Thunder playing small. And Brooks stuck with Daequan Cook too long at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Spurs quickly erased a nine-point OKC lead. Cook played 71/2 minutes in Game 1, during which the Spurs outscored the Thunder by 10.

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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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