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OKC Thunder report card: Thunder needs Kevin Durant to take advantage of more opportunities

The Thunder fought hard in Houston on Monday night but fell short of a four-game sweep of the Rockets, and the grades reflect it.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 30, 2013

/articleid/3804839/1/pictures/2039983">Photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) runs into Houston's Chandler Parsons (25) as Francisco Garcia (32) watches during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas,Sunday, April 29, 2013. Oklahoma City lost 105-103. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) runs into Houston's Chandler Parsons (25) as Francisco Garcia (32) watches during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas,Sunday, April 29, 2013. Oklahoma City lost 105-103. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Starts to half: F. The Rockets scored on the first six possessions of the game, and the Thunder committed turnovers on three of their first possessions. That made for a 13-4 getaway for Houston. In the second half, the Rockets scored on their first five possessions and the Thunder scored on none of its first five possessions, with two turnovers. That made for a 10-0 Rocket start.

Resting Durant: A. Scotty Brooks played Durant all but 44 seconds of Game 3. He gave Durant much more rest Monday night. Durant played 42 minutes. He sat out the first 2:28 of the fourth quarter, and the Thunder played the Rockets even, 5-5, during that rest. Durant sat out 4:32 overlapping the first and second quarters, and the Thunder outscored Houston 11-10 during that time. Brooks also limited Durant's minutes as the point guard, which can be a physically demanding position.

Defensive rotations: B. Brooks' first substitute was Liggins, who played the next 10:42 and supplied energetic defense on mostly Chandler Parsons. Liggins had four rebounds and a steal (not to mention swishing a 3-pointer from the corner). But Brooks might have waited too long to insert Liggins in the second half. Liggins didn't enter the third quarter until 58.8 seconds remained.

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 Oklahoman,...
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