The Thunder played uphill the last three quarters, lost 88-84 to Memphis, and the grades reflect it.
KEVIN DURANT: C. Hard to blame Durant, since he carried the Thunder this far. But his shot was off from the start. Durant missed his first six shots and never got hot; he finished 5-of-21 and never made two straight. Durant had six assists and eight rebounds but also had seven turnovers. Two things were apparent by series' end. Durant was tired and Durant felt the weight of trying to lift his team in the wake of Russell Westbrook's absence.
FIRST-QUARTER DEFENSE: A. The Grizzlies made just eight of 25 shots in the first period and had to work for those baskets. Jerryd Bayless had a shot-clock beater under duress, Zach Randolph muscled in for a couple of field goals and Mike Conley hit a driving circus shot. One ominous sign, though. The Grizzlies had no turnovers.
SECOND-QUARTER DEFENSE: D. The Grizzlies scored 18 points on their first eight possessions of the quarter — and that was with Marc Gasol and Conley on the bench. Memphis made just five of nine shots during the spree but had seven second-chance points and no turnovers. For the quarter, Memphis scored 32 points despite shooting 42.9 percent from the field. Going 12-for-12 from the foul line helped.
RED PANDA: A. Never has the Thunder needed a halftime diversion as it did in Game 5. After one of the most miserable quarters in Thunder history, Red Panda's act — kicking as many as five bowls from her instep to other bowls on top of her head, all while riding a unicycle — momentarily took fans' minds off the impending end of the season.
SMALL BALL: B. The small lineup got off to an horrific start. Brooks went to it with 10:48 left in the second quarter, and Memphis turned a 23-21 deficit into a 40-35 lead. But the small lineup rallied the Thunder in the second half. Perkins exited at 7:09 and the Thunder trailing 60-46. But OKC trimmed Memphis' lead to just 64-62 by quarter's end. However, the fourth quarter was the same inconsistency; woeful offense to start before a late rally. For the game, the small lineup outscored Memphis 50-47.
SCOTTY BROOKS ROTATIONS: C. Not much went right for Brooks. He didn't react quickly enough to the growing dismal play in the second quarter. With Nick Collison in foul trouble, Brooks needed to get Kendrick Perkins back in the game. Perk's offensive ineptness would make any coach wince at the thought, but Memphis had just two second-chance points during Perkins' 11 minutes on the court in the first half and seven second-chance points in the 13 minutes with no Perkins. And Thabo Sefolosha sat the final 18 minutes of the first half; the Thunder was outscored 41-27 with Thabo on the bench. Then when Thabo's energy keyed the third-quarter rally, he sat the final 10:43 of the game.
3-POINT SHOOTING: D. The Thunder made just six of 25, and one of the makes came courtesy of Tony Allen, who from the bench threw a towel onto the court during a Fisher 3-pointer, which bounced off but was ruled good with the technical foul. Fisher was 3-of-11 with that gift, Durant was 0-of-4 and Reggie Jackson was 0-of-2.
REBOUNDING: B. The Thunder got popped on the boards early but stiffened in the second half and gave as good as it got. The Thunder ended up with more second-chance points, 16-11. Serge Ibaka particularly was good, with five offensive rebounds.