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OKC Thunder's defense on Kobe and lack of turnovers set the curve

THUNDER REPORT CARD — About the only thing the Oklahoma City Thunder didn't ace in their Western Conference semifinal opener with the Lakers was Chaos Control.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 14, 2012

Chaos control: C.

No surprise, Metta World Chaos thrived at the inhospitable reception. Thunder fans relentlessly booed Dr. Elbow, but he responded with a 3-point swish on the Lakers' first possession and another 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Chaos finished with 12 points in 32 minutes.

Rebounding: B.

The Thunder didn't play a perfect game. The Lakers still did serious damage with their offensive rebounding. In the first half, Pau Gasol had five offensive boards and Bynum had three. But they combined for just one after halftime. The Thunder actually outscored the Lakers 13-11 in second-chance points.

Harden reception: A.

In a pregame ceremony, James Harden was presented the Sixth Man of the Year Award, and you'd have thought Harden had just returned from successfully beating back some infidels. The Big Blue crowd roared with a sustained ovation.

Early-quarter offense: A.

In the first quarter, the Thunder scored on seven of their first nine possessions. In the second quarter, with the B team on the court, the Thunder scored on nine of their first 13 possessions and took a double-digit lead. But that was nothing compared to the third quarter. In the first 6:10 after halftime, the Thunder scored 24 points, with only one empty possession. That produced an 83-50 lead, and only Thunder die-hards were left watching on TNT.

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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