The Thunder's defense was solid, but its offense struggled through most of an 87-81 Game 3 loss to Memphis, and the grades reflect it.
SMALL LINEUP: B. Scotty Brooks went small more than half the game – 26:47. During that time, the Thunder had 55 possessions and scored 55 points. The Grizzlies had 54 possessions and scored 53 points. Small ball ignited the Thunder in the second quarter, when OKC scored 21 points in 7 1/2 minutes. The Thunder made eight of 11 shots during one second-quarter stretch, and most of it came with Kevin Durant getting help; he had just two of those 21 points. But Durant was more productive in the big lineup, with which he made five of eight shots. With the small lineup, Durant was 4-of-11.
CRUNCH TIME: D. After Derek Fisher's 3-pointer tied the game at 81 with 1:58 left, the Thunder collapsed. Five possessions, all empty. A turnover, three missed shots and two missed foul shots. But the Thunder defense kept the grade from being an F. The Thunder defense was solid. The last six Memphis points came at the foul line. One foul was committed on Marc Gasol in the paint, but of the other two fouls, one came in the backcourt, a mistake by Reggie Jackson, and the other was intentional with 15 seconds left. Durant made a steal with 24 seconds left to give the Thunder hope. The Thunder failure was offensive. In the last 1:57 of the last two games, the Thunder is 1-of-7 from the field, 0-of-2 from the line, with three turnovers. The only make was a meaningless Fisher trey at the buzzer in Game 2.
HOMEGROWN TALENT: A. Memphis celebrated Game 3 by using Memphians to entertain the crowd. Grizzlies P.A. announcer Rick Trotter sang the national anthem and produced a solid rendition. The halftime act was the Beale Street Flippers, which does a series flipping routines. The most impressive part of the act was a guy chunkier than Zach Randolph who back-flipped all over the court.
FOUL SHOOTING: D. The NBA's best foul-shooting team three years running, the Thunder collapsed at the line. OKC made just 12 of 19 foul shots; Durant missed two with 39.3 seconds left in a four-point game, Fisher made just one of two with 2:33 left and OKC down four, Jackson made just one of two with 5:39 left and OKC down seven. Hard for this no-Russell Westbrook team to win without maximizing its foul shot opportunities.