Bench: A. What a night for Scotty Brooks' reserves. Kevin Martin, Derek Fisher and Nick Collison combined for 46 points on 15 of 27 shooting. Their plus/minus was something hard to believe — the Thunder outscored Houston by 32 points with Fisher on the court, by 25 with Martin on the court and by 20 with Collison on the court. Fisher's plus/minus was +38 with three minutes left and the game decided.
Defending Harden: A. The Rocket star scored 26 points, but they didn't come easily. Harden made just seven of 22 shots. Once the Thunder quit fouling him — Harden went to the line just once in the final 17 1/2 minutes — his effectiveness dried up. Thabo Sefolosha was solid on Harden much of the game, then Fisher had the duties down the stretch.
Space City Seniors: A. The Rockets don't trump the Thunder in much when it comes to game presentation. But Houston's Space City Seniors — a dance team of senior citizens, Friday night wearing vintage clothing — was loads of fun. Might consider it for OKC.
Half starts: D. Two more halves, two more horrendous starts for the Thunder. The Rockets stormed to a 15-4 lead in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the game. Then the Rockets opened the second half with a 14-4 run to wipe out a 58-54 halftime deficit. At least Scotty Brooks had a quick trigger. He pulled Kendrick Perkins 4:22 into the game, with the score 13-4. In the second half, Brooks replaced second-half starter DeAndre Liggins at 8:02, with the Rockets on an 11-4 run.
Fourth-quarter defense: A. The Rockets scored just 17 points in the final 12 minutes, including five in the final 50 seconds. Until those two garbage baskets, Houston in the fourth quarter made just four of 17 shots and committed four turnovers. The Thunder rotations stiffened up mightily. An example: with the score 92-81, midway through the quarter, Harden drove but passed to Omer Asik rather than try to draw a foul. Asik, instead of going up, passed to Patrick Beverley in the corner. Beverley passed on an open 3-pointer and instead settled for a running shot.
Sportsmanship: B. The Thunder took a little time to crow in the waning seconds — Thabo Sefolosha taunted the crowd that was taunting him — but a chippy series finally ended in peace. Some of the Thunder players embraced villain Patrick Beverley, and the classy Fisher, who was booed every time he touched the ball in every Houston game after refusing to report to the Rockets after a trade last season, took off his sneakers as he walked to the locker room and handed them to a young boy.
Ball handling: A. The Thunder had assists on 14 of its 19 second-half baskets, including seven assists by Reggie Jackson and five by Kevin Durant. Plus, the Thunder committed just 10 turnovers, five in each half.
Playing without Durant: A. The Thunder superstar played the entire second half. But the Thunder was solid in the first half without him — in 4:47, OKC outscored Houston 15-6. In that limited time, five Thunder players scored — Martin four points, Fisher and Thabo each hit a 3-pointer, and Nick Collison and Reggie Jackson two points each.